|GM 17: Kansas vs. Baylor
||Sunday, October 23
||1 p.m. Central
||Betty Lou Mays Field (1,500)
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Notes Game Notes
WACO, Texas – Kansas soccer will look to close out its final regular-season road trip on a high note when the Jayhawks journey to Waco, Texas for a Sunday contest with the Baylor Bears. A Kansas victory would pull the Jayhawks into second on the league table heading into the final match of Big 12 play Friday. Kickoff from Betty Lou Mays Field is slated for 1 p.m., and will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest and the FoxSportsGo app.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
The Jayhawks are coming off a hard-fought 2-2 draw at Oklahoma Friday night in Norman. Kansas has suffered only one defeat in its last seven outings, a 1-0 loss to currently top-ranked West Virginia on Oct. 7. KU has already clinched a spot in the Big 12 Championship to be held in Kansas City in two weeks, marking the 15th time in the last 16 years the Jayhawks will play in the league tournament.
The Jayhawk offense has been up and down this season, averaging 1.5 goals per game in the month of September, however managing only one goal per match in August and October. The Kansas team has been an unselfish one, featuring nine different Jayhawks with double-digit shots, while 11 players boast a goal or an assist. Sophomore Grace Hagan leads the team with her seven goals and 43 shots. Hagan, along with freshman Katie McClure, have combined for nearly a third of the team’s shots, with 83 between the two Wichita natives.
The KU defense has allowed 15 goals in 2016, the third-fewest in the conference this season. The Jayhawks have held their opponents to an average of just 11.8 shots per game, and KU foes have managed to put only 35 percent of those tries on frame. The KU defense has allowed one opponent goal or fewer in 17 of its last 20 outings dating back to last season.
ABOUT THE BEARS
The 24th-ranked Baylor Bears enter Sunday’s match in a tie for second on the Big 12 table, however concludes its conference slate when it plays KU. The Bears suffered their first home loss of 2016 when they fell to Iowa State in Waco Friday night, 1-0. Before its loss to the Cyclones, Baylor had been unbeaten in six of its previous eight outings.
The Bear offense has been potent this year, scoring two or more goals in eight of its 17 games which includes three outings when the team scored three or more. BU has scored 19 of its 29 goals in the second half or overtime and is averaging over 14.6 shots per match. Sophomore forward Lauren Piercy leads her team with six goals and is one of nine Bears to have tallied multiple goals in 2016.
The BU defense has been stout this season, boasting seven shutouts and allowing one opponent goal on nine other occasions. On the season, BU opponents are averaging just seven shots per match but are putting 38 percent of those attempts on frame. Junior goalkeeper Sara Martinson has started in goal in 16 of BU’s 17 matches. Martinson has turned in a goals-against average of 0.65, a save percentage of .762 and has tallied five solo shutouts.
Paul Jobson is in his second season as the head coach of the Baylor women’s soccer program, amassing a record of 20-11-5.
LAST TIME OUT
Second half goals from sophomore Grace Hagan and senior Ashley Pankey helped the Kansas Jayhawks earn a 2-2 draw with the Oklahoma Sooners Friday night at the OU Soccer Complex. KU netted the go-ahead goal with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation, however Oklahoma tied the score just nine seconds later, pushing the match to overtime where it eventually ended in a tie.
For the third-consecutive game, the Jayhawks entered the halftime locker room with a one-goal deficit, but once again saved their best half for the second. Less than 18 minutes into the period, Hagan pulled her team level with her seventh goal of the year. The Wichita product picked up a loose ball at the top of the OU penalty area and used some evasive dribbling to make a pair of Sooner defenders miss. Hagan then sent in a right-footed strike that just missed the fingers of the OU keeper and snuck inside the left post. With less than seven minutes remaining in regulation, freshman Katie McClure found space in the attacking third and dribbled down the right side of the OU box. McClure sent a low cross to the far post where Pankey took one touch to redirect it into the back of the net.
Just nine seconds after the restart. OU senior Madison Saliba shot it home to once again tie the match. After two overtimes, the match ended in a draw.
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. 24 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 22nd-toughest schedule, according to the RPI. Six future or past KU opponents currently find themselves in the top-30 of this week’s index, while a total of 11 are sitting in the top-50. In this week’s NSCAA Coaches’ poll, eight Jayhawk opponents are ranked or receiving votes.
This week’s report also ranks the Big 12 as the nation’s toughest conferences. The league, which sits at No. 1 in the conference RPI standings, boasts all nine teams inside the top-77. The conference’s high ranking also means the Jayhawks will get plenty of chances to up their national standing as each of their final three regular-season contests will be against teams currently ranked inside the top-50 of the RPI.
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 27 regular-season matches away from home since the start of the 2014 season, amassing a record of 14-9-4, which includes a 4-2-3 slate 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.
Forward Grace Hagan has put together an impressive sophomore campaign. She leads the Jayhawks with seven goals, 17 points and 43 shots, figures that also rank the Wichita product among the top-seven in the Big 12 in their respective categories. It’s been evident that when Hagan goes, so go the Jayhawks. Kansas is 4-1-3 this season when Hagan scores or assists and is 4-1-2 when Hagan tallies three shots or more. KU opponents may have picked up on this trend as in the nine instances when Hagan was held to two shots or fewer, the Jayhawks were winners in just four of those contests.
Hagan is on pace for one of the best sophomore seasons in program history. One more goals would make her one of the top-three scoring sophomores ever to don the Crimson and Blue. It was also mark the most goals scored by a Jayhawk sophomore since Emily Cressy shot in 12 during the 2009 campaign.
MESSIN’ WITH TEXAS
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 this weekend. KU has won each of its last four match-ups with the Bears.
With the Jayhawks currently boasting a 42-match unbeaten streak in games they score first, it’s important for Kansas to get on the board early. The 2016 squad has done just that, with 10 of Kansas’ 20 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-long stretches of 25-straight matches started or longer. This includes junior Kayla Morrison, whose streak sits at 58-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 two 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. 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 16 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 (83), nine of their teammates have added double-digit attempts to the team’s total of 255.
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.
FEEDING ON NONCON
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.
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 0.88 following its first 16 matches, which includes four shutouts. The Jayhawks are also allowing just 11.8 opponent shots per match, which includes three games when KU opponents sent in seven or fewer attempts. Over their last 58 matches (dating back to the start of the 2014 season), the Jayhawks shutout 18 opponents and boasted a goals-against average of 0.94. Kansas has conceded 57 opponent goals in that span and has allowed one opponent goal or less in 17 of its last 20 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. KU has also conceded just two opponent goals in its last 344 minutes of play, good for a goals-against average of 0.52 during that span.
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 66 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 50-8-8. 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 8-1-4 record this year.
FIRST TO SCORE, WINS GALORE
Over its past 98 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 98-game span, the Jayhawks have been on the losing end only once in contests 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 at Texas on Oct. 2 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 98-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. The Jayhawks are now 3-36-3 in those games over the last four seasons, which includes all four of the Jayhawks’ losses thus far in 2016.
Kansas will now close out the regular season when the Jayhawks welcome the Iowa State Cyclones to Lawrence on Friday, Oct. 28. KU and ISU will kick off at 7 p.m., in what will be the final home match for seniors Tayler Estrada, Aurelie Gagnet, Jackie Georgoulis, Hanna Kallmaier, Ashley Pankey, Kaley Smith and Morgan Williams.
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