Jayhawks journey to West Coast to take on Trojans
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas soccer team will jet to the coast this weekend to take on the Southern California Trojans on Friday, Sept. 16. Over the last three weeks the two teams have posted a combined record of 10-1-1 and are looking to continue that momentum as they close out their nonconference schedules this weekend. Kickoff from McAlister Field is set for 5 p.m. (CT).
About the Jayhawks
The Kansas Jayhawks head to Los Angeles with just one defeat in their last six outings, which included a 3-0 win over UMKC Sunday night, KU’s third shutout of the season. After allowing two goals in the first 70 minutes of the season on Aug. 19 vs. Minnesota, KU has conceded just four opponent goals in the 690 minutes since, which includes shutout victories over Marquette, Colorado and UMKC.
The Jayhawk offense has gained momentum over the last two weeks, scoring seven goals in its last three outings and averaging 18.7 shots per game in that span. Twelve different Jayhawks have tallied at least five shots during the first eight matches, with 10 players boasting a goal or an assist. Sophomore Grace Hagan along with freshmen Mandi Duggan and Katie McClure lead the team with three goals apiece. Hagan and McClure have combined for nearly a third of the team’s shots with 43 between the two Wichita natives.
The KU defense has allowed six goals thus far in 2016, one of which was a penalty kick. The Jayhawks have held their eight opponents to an average of only 8.6 shots per game and a total of just 26 shots on frame (3.3 per game). Junior Maddie Dobyns has been the starter between the posts in KU’s first eight outings. She has made 19 saves, allowed six goals and tallied her eighth-career shutout with her clean sheet against Colorado on Aug. 26.
About the Trojans
Southern California enters the match seeming to have found its stride as the Trojans have won five-straight matches after starting the year with two losses. USC hasn’t conceded a goal in over 470 minutes and is coming off an impressive 3-0 win over No. 8 North Carolina last Sunday, the worst loss in the Tar Heels’ history.
The USC offense has been potent this season, netting 15 goals in seven games, and scoring fewer than two goals in only one of those outings. Over the first seven matches, the Trojans are posting 15.0 shots per game and are scoring on over 14 percent of those attempts. USC has also managed to put over 36 percent of those 15 shots per game on target. Junior forward Alex Anthony has led the offensive charge so far this season with five goals, two assists and 27 shots.
The Trojan defense has conceded only four goals and none since their Aug. 26 loss to Long Beach State. USC opponents are averaging 9.9 shots per match and are putting over 52 percent of those attempts on frame. Senior Sammy Jo Prudhomme has gotten the start in goal in seven of USC’s games this year. She is boasting a goals-against average of 0.57, a save percentage of .889 and has tallied 32 saves.
Head coach Kiedane McAlpine is currently in his third year at the helm of the USC program. During his tenure in Los Angeles, McAlpine has a posted record of 32-14-5 and helped the Trojans advance to the NCAA Round of 16 for the third time in program history last season.
Last Time Out
Senior Jackie Georgoulis tallied two assists as well as the Jayhawks’ final goal and helped lead Kansas to a 3-0 win over the UMKC Kangaroos Sunday night inside Durwood Stadium. Freshmen Katie McClure and Sophie Maierhofer also added goals in the victory, marking the sixth and seventh goals of the year scored by true freshmen.
Kansas wasted little time in getting on the board Sunday night, just 166 seconds to be exact. Georgoulis took one touch to find the feet of freshman Katie McClure near the PK spot, who turned and let loose a strike that soared inside the left post. In the 29th minute, Georgoulis helped create the KU chance when she lined up a Jayhawk free kick from 30 yards out. Maierhofer rose above the defenders and got her head on the ball, sending it inside the upper left corner of the UMKC frame. The goal was the first of the Austrian’s KU career and gave the Jayhawks a 2-0 lead. Georgoulis closed the game out with some fireworks by blasting home Kansas’ third goal. With 90 seconds remaining Georgoulis sent a rocket into the back of the net from more than 20 yards out. The goal was the first of the season and third of her KU career.
This weekend, Kansas will head to the West coast trying to continue its past success playing inside the Golden State. The Jayhawks have played 15 times in California and have amassed a record of 9-6-0, which includes a 9-4-0 mark in regular season play. Two of the Jayhawks’ losses came in the NCAA Tournament at the hands of UCLA in 2003 and Stanford in 2008.
KU also boasts a winning record against California teams, regardless of where the match is being played. The Jayhawks are 12-11-0 all-time against schools located inside the Golden State.
Two current Jayhawks will likely be playing in front of family and friends when they hit the pitch in Los Angeles and Malibu this weekend. Junior Kayla Morrison hails from Corona, California, where she scored 90 goals in four seasons at Corona High School. Freshman Jordan Malone is a native of Woodland Hills, which is just 20 minutes from the Pepperdine campus, where Kansas will play Sunday afternoon.
With any veteran laden team, there are bound to be some impressive career streaks established and the 2016 Jayhawks are no different. One streak that shows the continuity and consistency of this KU crew is the amount of consecutive games started. Six Jayhawks currently boast stretches of 25-straight matches started or longer, which includes junior Kayla Morrison, whose streak sits at 50-straight starts for the Jayhawks.
Morrison’s mark is already among the longest in program history as it its 11th on the all-time list among field players. If the Corona, California product is in the starting lineup in each of Kansas’ final 10 regular-season games, she would move to eighth on that list with 60-straight starts.
Two field players hold the ultimate title of “Iron Jayhawk” as they started each of KU’s matches over a four-year span. Estelle Johnson (2006-09) and Afton Sauer (2004-07) were in the starting 11 in all 83 games of their careers.
spreading the wealth
The Kansas offense has shown to be a tough assignment for opposing defenses this year after a host of Jayhawks have made their presence known on the stat sheet. Ten different Jayhawks have had their hand in at least one of the team’s goals thus far in 2016, either scoring or assisting. A total of 17 players have managed to tally multiple shots and, while sophomore Grace Hagan and freshman Katie McClure have notched nearly a third of the team’s total shots (43), 10 of their teammates have added five or more attempts to the team’s total of 139.
This is a trend that carried over from last year’s squad, as 11 different players managed to post double-figure shots and 10 Jayhawks tallied at least one goal or assist in 2015.
This weekend the Jayhawks will look to continue their trend of relatively strong performances in matches away from Rock Chalk Park. The Jayhawks can hang their hats on an impressive record in road games over the past two years. KU has played 22 regular-season road games since the start of the 2014 season, amassing a record of 12-8-2, which included a 5-5-1 record last year.
The Jayhawks will hope they can continue this trend over the next three weekends, with four of their next five matches away from Lawrence.
Feeding on Noncon
This season, the Jayhawks will try to make it eight-straight years with a .500 winning percentage or better against regular-season nonconference foes. Since the start of the 2012 season, Kansas has posted an impressive 32-14-5 mark in its 51 regular-season nonconference matches (66%), which includes a 20-7-2 mark since 2014. Since the start of the 2012 season, KU has outscored noncon opponents by a tally of 90-47.
Mark Francis has led KU to a winning record in noncon in 16 of his 17 seasons in Lawrence and is now 110-46-9 in regular-season nonconference games.
Let’s Get Defensive
With a veteran crew comprising the KU back line this season, the Jayhawks are once again proving to be a stout defensive team. Kansas is boasting a goals-against average of 0.81 following its first seven matches as well as two shutouts. The Jayhawks are also allowing under nine opponent shots per match, which includes three games when KU opponents sent in seven or fewer attempts. Over their last 49 matches (dating back to the start of the 2014 season), the Jayhawks shutout 16 opponents and boasted a goals-against average of 0.95. Kansas has conceded only 48 opponent goals in that span and has allowed one opponent goal or less in 12 of its last 13 matches dating back to last season.
Already this season, KU has turned in an impressive shutout streak. KU went 282-straight minutes without conceding a goal from Aug. 19-28. The figure was the 18th-longest in school history and marked the sixth time over the last five seasons the Jayhawks have tallied an opponent scoreless streak of 280 minutes or longer.
Just One Will Do It
Already in 2016 the Jayhawks have continued to carry on an impressive trend that has developed over the last three seasons when it comes to scoring. Since the start of the 2012 season, the Kansas soccer team has scored at least one goal in 60 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 47-8-5. Kansas was won or drawn all but eight matches in which it has scored, including a 25-4-1 record in those instances during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, and a 5-1-1 record this year.
First to Score, Wins Galore
Over its past 90 games, dating back to the beginning of the 2012 season, Kansas has developed an interesting trend when it comes to which team tallies the first goal of the match. During that 90-game span, the Jayhawks have been on the losing end only once in the matches which they have put in the match’s first goal. Kansas has amassed a record of 45-1-4 in those games, which included an 8-0-1 mark last year and a 5-0-1 mark so far this season. The Jayhawks’ win over UMKC Sunday night marked their 38th-consecutive unbeaten match when KU has scored first.
On the flip side, KU hasn’t been quite as fortunate when its opponents have gotten on the board first. Kansas’ wins over Colorado College and Arkansas last season were the first and only wins in that same 90-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. The Jayhawks are 2-34-1 in those games over the last four seasons, which includes both the Jayhawks’ losses thus far in 2016.
Jayhawks PICKED seventh in Big 12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Kansas soccer was predicted to finish seventh in the 2016 league standings according to the Big 12 preseason coaches’ poll which was released last week. The ranking marks just the fourth time in the 17-year history of the preseason vote that KU has been picked seventh or lower in the conference’s poll.
Four-time defending league champion West Virginia was the coaches’ choice to win the conference, receiving eight first-place votes and 64 points overall. The Mountaineers were followed by Texas Tech (57), Oklahoma (42), Baylor (35), Oklahoma State (34), Texas (32), Kansas (30), TCU (22) and Iowa State (8).
Kansas returns eight players from last year’s team that started at least 17 games. Included in the eight returning starters are six players who have amassed 35 starts or more during their Jayhawk careers.
Senior Tayler Estrada leads the way among active KU players with 61 starts in her KU career, while senior Jackie Georgoulis has been a starter in 48 matches. Junior Kayla Morrison has started each of her team’s 43 matches during her time in Lawrence. Seniors Hanna Kallmaier and Morgan Williams have 40 starts to their credit with senior Aurélie Gagnet not far behind with 37.
Experience vs. Youth
Few teams in the history of Kansas soccer have had a team with has many veterans alongside so many newcomers as the 2016 Jayhawks. This year’s team will feature seven seniors, two of which are fifth-year seniors. Six of the seven members of the 2016 senior class have played in at least 49 matches during their careers and each senior has been in the starting lineup on at least nine occasions.
On the other hand, over 40 percent of this year’s Kansas squad will feature freshmen as the Jayhawks will see nine true freshmen as well as a pair of redshirt freshmen on the roster. No other KU team since 1999 (Mark Francis era) has had a roster with more than 10 freshmen.
Big Cleats to Fill
The 2016 version of the Jayhawks will try to fill the void left by two of the most talented goal scorers in program history. Graduated seniors Liana Salazar and Ashley Williams combined for 49 goals and 22 assists during their respective KU careers, which included 31 goals over the last two seasons. Salazar ended her career as the No. 2 goal scorer in program history with her 28 goals, while Williams closed her collegiate career at No. 7 on KU’s all-time chart with 21.
With the loss of the senior duo, Salazar and Williams, as well as All-Big 12 freshman Parker Roberts, the Jayhawks will need to replace over half of their offensive production from a season ago. Sophomore Grace Hagan could be the top candidate to pull the offensive slack. The Wichita, Kansas product notched four goals and four assists in her first season in Lawrence last year, while seniors Jackie Georgoulis, Ashley Pankey and sophomore Anna Courtney combined for the Jayhawks’ remaining six goals in 2016.
The Jayhawks will open Big 12 Conference play when they welcome the Texas Tech Red Raiders to Rock Chalk Park on Friday, Sept. 23. KU and TTU will meet for the first time since the two squads battled in the Big 12 Tournament final last November, a 1-0 Red Raider victory. Kickoff from Lawrence is set for 7 p.m.
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