Jayhawks ready for battle with Crusaders Sunday
LINCOLN, Neb. – Coming off a heartbreaking loss Friday night, the Kansas soccer team will look to take out some frustration Sunday as the Jayhawks meet Valparaiso Sunday morning. The Jayhawks and Crusaders will do battle for the first time when they meet at Nebraska’s Hibner Stadium. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m.
About the Jayhawks
The Kansas Jayhawks enter Sunday’s match hoping to rebound after a tough double overtime loss at the hands of Nebraska Friday night. KU was shut out for the first time this season in the 1-0 loss to the Huskers. The Jayhawks have held eight-straight opponents to one goal or less and have conceded just two goals in its last 420 minutes of action.
The Jayhawk offense has been active over the first two weekends of the season, averaging almost 17 shots per match, the second-most by the program at this point in the last 10 seasons, and tallying over eight corner kicks per outing, which leads the Big 12. Ten different Jayhawks tallied at least four shots during the first five matches, with seven of those players boasting a goal or an assist. Freshman Mandi Duggan leads the team with two goals, while sophomore Grace Hagan and Katie McClure have also posted a goal apiece. McClure leads the squad with her 12 shots.
The KU defense has allowed four goals thus far in 2016, one of which was a penalty kick. The Jayhawks have held those team to an average of only 10.6 shots per game and a total of just 21 shots on frame. Over the last two seasons the Jayhawks are boasting a goals-against average of 0.95 and have held opponents to 12.3 shots per game during that span. Junior Maddie Dobyns got the start between the posts in KU’s first five outings. She has made 17 saves, allowed four goals and tallied her eighth-career shutout with her clean sheet against Colorado last week.
About the Crusaders
Valparaiso enters Sunday’s match with a 2-3-0 record and is coming off a 1-0 defeat to St. Louis in Lincoln on Friday afternoon. Last year’s Crusader squad posted a 7-8-3 record, including a 4-4-1 mark in Horizon League play. April Cronin and graduated senior Rita Craven both repeated as First Team All-League honorees and were NSCAA Third Team All-Region choices, while Kelsey Jahn represented the Crusaders on the league’s All-Freshman Team.
The Valpo offense was seen its highs and lows already this year, netting a total of five goals in two games, but settling for shutouts in their other three outings. Over the first five matches of action, the Crusaders are posting 13.2 shots per game but are scoring on over seven percent of those attempts. The Cornhuskers have also managed to put over 51 percent of those 13.2 shots per game on target. Two players have accounted for the team’s five goals thus far with Cronin leading the squad with her three goals and Cory Griffith notching the other two. Cronin and Griffith have also accounted for 29 of the team’s 66 shots, with only four of their teammates boasting four or more attempts.
The Valpo defense has conceded six goals in its five matches and has posted one shutout. Crusader opponents are averaging 12.4 shots per game. Senior Sydney Galvez-Daley and freshman Tess Barrett have split time in goal. Combined the duo boasts a goals-against average of 1.16, a save percentage of .818 and has tallied 127 saves.
John Marovich is in his ninth season at Valpo and has a record of 75-55-27. He ranks second in school history in victories, and his .569 winning percentage is tops all-time for the Crusader program. With four more victories, Marovich will become the winningest coach in program history
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. Seven 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 at least one shot and, while sophomore Grace Hagan and freshman Katie McClure have notched over a quarter of the team’s total shots (22), eight of their teammates can boast adding four or more attempts to the team’s total of 83.
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 week the Jayhawks are looking 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 20 true road games since the start of the 2014 season, amassing a record of 10-8-2, which included a 5-5-1 record last year.
The Jayhawks will hope they can continue this trend into September, with four of their next five matches away from Lawrence.
Feeding on Noncon
This season, the Jayhawks will try to make it eight-straight seasons with a .500 winning percentage or better against regular-season nonconference foes. Since the start of the 2012 season, Kansas has posted an impressive 29-14-5 mark in its 48 regular-season nonconference matches (67%), which includes a 17-7-2 mark since 2014. Since the start of the 2012 season, KU has outscored noncon opponents by a tally of 83-45.
Mark Francis has led KU to a winning record in noncon in 16 of his 17 seasons in Lawrence and is now 108-46-9 in regular-season nonconference games.
Last Time Out
Kansas soccer conceded a goal with less than 26 seconds remaining in double overtime to fall to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 1-0, Friday night at Hibner Stadium. The loss moved Kansas to 2-2-1 on the season, while Nebraska elevated its record to 4-1-0.
With the Jayhawks just seconds away from posting its second straight draw and extending its unbeaten streak to four games, the Cornhuskers saw one final opportunity when it earned a corner on KU’s end. The service found its way to the feet of Nebraska’s Brenna Ochoa at the top of the Jayhawk penalty area. The freshman sent in a shot that took a glance off a Kansas defender and slipped out of the reach of KU keeper, Maddie Dobyns. The ball found the back of the net, breaking the scoreless tie and handing Kansas a heartbreaking loss in the waning moments of the match. The goal marked the latest ever allowed by a KU team under the current overtime format.
Kansas ended the match with 11 shots, while Nebraska tallied 13 on the night, however the Jayhawks managed to put seven of their shots on frame, with Cornhuskers adding four shots on target. Dobyns collected three saves on the night and allowed just her second goal in her last 422 minutes in between the posts.
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 0.74 following its first five matches as well as two shutouts. The Jayhawks are also allowing just over 10 opponent shots per match, which includes two games which KU opponents sent in seven attempts. Over their last 47 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 46 opponent goals in that span and has allowed one opponent goal or less in nine-straight 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.
Kansas has allowed just two opponent goals in its last 422 minutes of action.
Just One Will Do It
The 2016 Jayhawks will try 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 57 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 44-8-5. 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.
First to Score, Wins Galore
Over its past 87 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 87-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 42-1-4 in those games, which included an 8-0-1 mark last year and a 2-0-1 mark so far this season. The Jayhawks’ draw with South Dakota State last Sunday marked their 35th-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 87-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.
Rebounding on Opening Weekend
Despite its loss to Minnesota on opening night, Kansas continued its habit of rebounding off a season-opening loss when it claimed its 1-0 win over Marquette two days later. The win kept alive an impressive streak that has developed over Mark Francis’ tenure. The Jayhawks have lost their first match of the season eight times during their 21-year history, but have conceded two-straight losses to open a campaign just twice in that span.
Kansas last began a season with two losses in 1998 and has never started a year 0-2 in head coach Mark Francis’ 18 seasons at the helm in Lawrence. The only other team to drop its first two outings was KU’s inaugural team in 1995. In Francis’ 18 years, his six teams that lost their opening match have established a record of 4-0-2 in their second outing of the year.
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.
This Day in Kansas Soccer History
September 2, 1996 – The Jayhawks dispatched of the Creighton Bluejays, 2-0, to tally their first win of 1996, the program’s second year in existence.
Freshman Shayna Teutsch netted her first goal of the year in the 20th minute before Jen Silvers put in the Jayhawks’ second goal in the 70th minute. Kansas goalkeeper Jen Fecke notched 10 saves in the shutout victory and withstood a barrage of 18 Creighton shots, nine of which came from Bluejay midfielder Maddy Maldne.
Kansas went on to finish that season with a 7-11-1 record, which included a 3-5-1 tally in its first season of conference play.
Kansas will return home Friday to take on Pittsburgh inside Rock Chalk Park. The Jayhawks and Panthers will hit the pitch for a 7 p.m. kickoff. KU will then make the 30 minute trip east to take on the UMKC Kangaroos on Sunday, Sept. 11. Game time from Durwood Stadium is set for 7 p.m.
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