Jayhawks look to rebound against Cowgirls Sunday

GM 15: Kansas vs. Oklahoma State
Date Sunday, October 9
Time 1 p.m. Central
Location Lawrence, Kan.
Stadium Rock Chalk Park (2,500)
TV Time Warner Cable SportsChannel
Video ESPN3
Radio KLWN 1320AM
Audio Jayhawk Radio Network
Stats KUAthletics.com
Twitter @KUWSoccer | #kusoccer
Instagram @KansasSoccer | #kusoccer
Facebook /KansasSoccer | #kusoccer
 W-L-D 8-4-2 7-5-2
 Goals/Gm 1.21 2.43
 Shots/Gm 15.6 15.4
 Shot % .078 .157
 Shot on Goal % .372 .468
 Goals Allowed/Gm 0.86 1.43
 Saves/Gm 3.1 3.9
 Save % .786 .730
 Fouls/Gm 9.4 12.9
 Yellow Cards/Red Cards 6/1 12/2

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas soccer will hope to rebound from its hard-fought loss to No. 3 West Virginia when they welcome the Oklahoma State Cowgirls to Lawrence Sunday afternoon. The Jayhawks have yet to lose two-straight matches this year, while the Cowgirls are unbeaten in their last four road matches. Kickoff from Rock Chalk Park is slated for 1 p.m., and will be televised on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel and ESPN3.
About the Jayhawks
Kansas is two days removed from a 1-0 loss at the hands of the third-ranked Mountaineers Friday night in Lawrence, just the second loss in the last two months for the Jayhawks. A win Sunday would assure Kansas a .500 conference winning percentage or better for the second time in the last two seasons. 
The Jayhawk offense has gained momentum over the last month, scoring 13 goals in its last nine games and averaging over 16 shots per game in that span. Fifteen different Jayhawks have tallied at least five shots during their first 14 matches, with 11 players boasting a goal or an assist. Sophomore Grace Hagan leads the team with her five goals and 38 shots. Hagan, along with freshman Katie McClure, have combined for nearly a third of the team’s shots, with 70 between the two Wichita natives.
The KU defense has allowed 12 goals in 2016, the fourth-fewest in the conference this season. The Jayhawks have held their opponents to an average of just 11.5 shots per game and a total of 56 shots on frame (4 per game). The KU defense has allowed one opponent goal or fewer in 16 of its last 18 outings dating back to last season. Junior Maddie Dobyns has started in goal for the Jayhawks 12 times in 2016. As the KU goalkeeper this year she has amassed a goals-against average of 0.75, has collected 32 saves and has tallied three shutouts.
About the cowgirls
Oklahoma State enters Sundays match coming off a pair of road wins, most recently, a 1-0 win at Texas Tech Friday night in Lubbock. The Cowgirls are 3-2-1 in their last six outings with three of those matches being decided in overtime. OSU is 4-1-2 in matches away from Stillwater so far in the 2016 season.
The Cowgirl offense has been potent this season, scoring two or more goals in 10 of its 14 games which includes three matches with four or more goals. OSU is leading the Big 12 with its 2.4 goals per game and is tallying 15.4 shots per contest. Oklahoma State has also managed to put over 46 percent of those 15.4 shots per game on target. Senior forward Courtney Dike leads her team and the Big 12 with seven goals and has also turned in a team-leading six assists.
The OSU defense has been tough to crack of late. After conceding 14 goals in its first six games, the Cowgirls have held their foes to six goals in its last eight matches, which includes four shutouts. OSU opponents are averaging 12 shots per match but are putting 44 percent of those attempts on frame. Junior Michaela Ongaro has started in goal in each of OSU’s 14 matches. Ongaro has turned in a goals-against average of 1.41, a save percentage of .729 and has tallied 51 saves.
Colin Carmichael is in his 12th season as the head coach of the Oklahoma State women’s soccer program, amassing a record of 162-66-33. He has led the Cowgirls to eight appearances in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship, including six straight from 2006-11.
West Virginia midfielder Alli Magaletta’s first half goal proved to be the difference as the third-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers topped the Kansas Jayhawks, 1-0, Friday night at Rock Chalk Park.
The four-time defending Big 12 Champions looked the part of a national title contender over the opening 45 minutes Friday night. The visitors attacked early and often, posting 12 shots and 11 corner kicks in the first frame. After several near misses, the Mountaineers got on the board in the 38th minute. Senior Ashley Lawrence sent a corner kick toward the far post and connected with Magaletta, who headed in her second goal of the year and put her team up 1-0.
KU’s best opportunity came with just over 15 minutes to play in the match, when freshman Katie McClure sent in a rocket from just outside the WVU box. The shot darted through traffic and appeared to be headed toward the inside of the right post, however freshman goalkeeper Rylee Foster was there for a diving save to keep her squad on top. The final whistle sounded minutes later, signaling the Jayhawks third fourth loss of the 2016 season and just its third shutout.
With the release of the season’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) report by the NCAA this week, several good signs stick out for the Jayhawks. Kansas checked in at No. 25 on the list that takes numerous factors into account including strength of schedule, record against top-50 teams and home versus road record. The ranking marked the highest for the Jayhawks since Nov. 2, 2014, when Kansas sat at 19th in the RPI.
One area that may be helping Kansas in its climb up the national charts is its strength of schedule. The Jayhawks currently hold the nation’s 27th-toughest schedule, according to the RPI. Four future or past KU opponents currently find themselves in the top-20 of this week’s index, while a total of 10 are sitting in the top-50. In this week’s NSCAA Coaches’ poll, seven Jayhawk opponents are ranked or receiving votes.
This week’s report also shows that the Big 12 is among the nation’s toughest conferences after the conclusion of nonconference play. The league boasts eight of its nine teams inside the top-101. The conference’s high ranking also means the Jayhawks will get plenty of chances to up their national standing as three of their next five contests will be against teams currently ranked inside the top-50 of the RPI.
In its first 20 years as a program, the state of Texas proved to be a tough place to play for a host of Jayhawk squads, that is until the 2014 season and forward. Prior to 2014, Kansas amassed an overall record of 11-30-8 in matches played inside the Lone Star State, resulting in a win percentage of just .306. Since the start of 2014 though, the Jayhawks turned that trend on its head, going 7-1-0. KU’s loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock last season brought the longest “Lone Star State” winning streak in program history to an end at five.
Regardless of where they are playing, the Jayhawks have been pests to Texas schools over the last two-plus seasons. In its 18 games against Texas schools, KU has amassed a record of 13-4-1, a goal differential of +13 and a goals-against average of 0.65.
Kansas will have one more chance this season to pick up a win inside Texas. KU will journey to take on Baylor on Oct. 23. KU has won each of its last four match-ups with the Bears.
After a relatively slow start to the 2016 campaign, the Jayhawks are starting to pick up steam, and nothing demonstrates this fact better than comparing the team’s first five matches, with their eight most recent. The team began the year with only two victories in its first five outings, while the team that took the field the last eight times has suffered just one defeat. The difference in squads over those two periods of the 2016 season is apparent by much more than just looking at wins and losses.
In its first five matches, the Kansas offense endured several stagnant stretches, netting only four goals and posting a scoreless streak of more than 200 minutes. KU was posting over 16 shots per match but putting less than 35 percent of those on goal. Since then though, Kansas’ offense has gained momentum. In its next eight games, the Jayhawks shot in 13 goals, which were scored by seven different players. KU has also averaged nearly over 16 shots in those eight outings and has put over 38 percent of them on target.
With the first 13 regular season matches in the books, the Jayhawks have worked their way to near the top of NCAA ranks in an important statistical category, corner kicks. Entering the weekend Kansas was earning 6.9 corners per match, a figure that was second in the Big 12 and has been topped by only 13 other teams in the NCAA. The Jayhawks have earned 10 or more corners in three matches this season, and fewer than five on only three occasions.
If the Jayhawks continue this pace for the remainder of the season, they would finish the regular season with around 125 corners. That mark would come close to the program record of 128 set in 2005. Last year, Kansas broke the 100-corner mark for the first time since that record year in 2005, and appears primed to achieve that milestone again this season.
On the flip side, Jayhawk opponents are earning only 3.5 corner kicks per match, the third fewest among Big 12 teams this year.
With the Jayhawks currently boasting a 41-match unbeaten streak in games they score first, it’s important for Kansas to look to get on the board early. The 2016 squad has done just that, with 10 of Kansas’ 16 goals coming in the first half and six of those netted in the first 20 minutes of action. Katie McClure’s eventual game-winner against UMKC on Sept. 11, which came just 2:46 into the match, sits as the earliest KU strike so far this season.
This is almost a complete reversal when comparing to the KU squad from a year ago. The 2015 Jayhawks scored 16 of their 24 goals in the second half or later, nine of which came after the 75th minute. Last year’s squad also netted just two goals within the opening 20 minutes of a match.
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. Nine Jayhawks boast active or career-best stretches of 25-straight matches started or longer. This includes junior Kayla Morrison, whose streak sits at 56-straight starts for Kansas.
Morrison’s mark is already among the longest in program history as it sits 10th on the all-time list among field players. If the Corona, California product is in the starting lineup in each of Kansas’ final four 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.
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. Eleven 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 15 players have managed to tally five or more shots and, while sophomore Grace Hagan and freshman Katie McClure have notched nearly a third of the team’s total shots (70), seven of their teammates have added double-digit attempts to the team’s total of 218.
This is a trend is an improvement from last year’s squad which was also an unselfish bunch, as 11 different players managed to post double-figure shots and 10 Jayhawks tallied at least one goal or assist in 2015.
The Jayhawks have continued their trend of relatively strong performances in matches away from Rock Chalk Park. Kansas can hang its hat on an impressive record in road games over the past two-plus years. KU has played 26 regular-season matches away from home since the start of the 2014 season, amassing a record of 14-9-3, which included a 4-2-2 this season.
The Jayhawks will hope they can continue this trend for the home stretch of Big 12 play, with two of their final three matches away from Lawrence.
With the conclusion of the nonconference portion of their season, the Jayhawks have made it nine-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 32-15-6 mark in its 53 regular-season nonconference matches (66%), which includes a 20-8-3 mark since 2014. In the last five seasons, KU has outscored noncon opponents by a tally of 91-50.
Mark Francis has led KU to a winning record in noncon in 17 of his 18 seasons in Lawrence and is now 111-47-10 in regular-season nonconference games.
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 13 matches, which includes four shutouts. The Jayhawks are also allowing just 11 opponent shots per match, which includes three games when KU opponents sent in seven or fewer attempts. Over their last 55 matches (dating back to the start of the 2014 season), the Jayhawks shutout 18 opponents and boasted a goals-against average of 0.93. Kansas has conceded only 53 opponent goals in that span and has allowed one opponent goal or less in 15 of its last 17 matches.
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.
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 64 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 50-8-6. 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 an 8-1-2 record this year.
Over its past 96 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 96-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 47-1-5 in those games, which included an 8-0-1 mark last year and a 7-0-2 mark so far this season. The Jayhawks’ win over Texas last Sunday marked their 41st-consecutive unbeaten match when they have scored first.
On the flip side, KU hasn’t been quite as fortunate when its opponents have gotten on the board first. Kansas’ win over Texas Tech on Sept. 23 marked just the third victory for the Jayhawks in that same 96-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. The Jayhawks are now 3-36-1 in those games over the last four seasons, which includes all four of the Jayhawks’ losses thus far in 2016.
After a 12-day layoff, the Jayhawks will return to action on Friday, Oct. 21 when they journey to Norman, Oklahoma to take on the Sooners. KU and OU are slated to kickoff at 7 p.m. Two days later, Kansas will head south for its final regular-season road contest of the year when it meets Baylor in Waco on Sunday, Oct. 23.
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