Jayhawks set for friendly with Hawkeyes Saturday
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 2017 version of the Kansas soccer team will see its first action of the season when the Jayhawks play their lone exhibition match against the Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday, Aug. 12. The match will take place at Rock Chalk Park with kickoff slated for 1 p.m.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
The Kansas Jayhawks return 17 letterwinners and six starters from the 2015 squad which went 11-6-4, finished second in the Big 12 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008. Mark Francis is entering his 19th season at the helm in Lawrence and holds a 199-148-28 record with the Jayhawks and is second among active Big 12 coaches with 223 career coaching victories.
The Jayhawk offense will be looking to fill the void left by six outing seniors that logged substantial minutes for KU over the last two seasons. Junior Grace Hagan is Kansas’ top returning scorer after tallying seven goals and four assists during her sophomore campaign. Hagan is one of 30 women to be named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. Sophomore Katie McClure was the team’s second-leading scorer last year and returns after beginning named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team in 2016. The 2017 KU roster features seven other players who tallied a goal and/or an assist last season.
The KU defense is again to be expected to be stout this year, with the return of three of last season’s starters as well as several talented reserves. In 21 matches last year the Jayhawks boasted a goals-against average of 0.85 and held opponents to 12 shots per game during that span. Kansas will once again carry three keepers on the 2017 roster and all seem fit for the starting role. Senior Maddie Dobyns was the regular starter for the Jayhawks while sophomore Regan Gibbs tallied four starts. Together, the two keepers combined for 72 saves, a save percentage of .791 and six shutouts.
FRANCIS EYEING WIN NO. 200 AT KANSAS
Head coach Mark Francis will head into the 2017 season just one win shy of 200 for his Kansas coaching career. He has amassed a record of 199-145-27 over his 18-year stint at Kansas. The veteran coach has averaged just over 11 wins per season during that span. He is currently second among the active Big 12 coaches in victories behind West Virginia’s Nikki Izzo-Brown.
ABOUT THE HAWKEYES
The Iowa Hawkeyes enter the new season after finishing the 2016 campaign with an 8-11-0 record and a 13th-place finish in the Big Ten with a 2-9-0 record. The Hawkeyes return 22 letterwinners and nine starters from that squad.
Last season, the Hawkeyes scored 25 goals and were shutout in eight of their 19 outings. Iowa notched 13.4 shots per game and put over 44 percent of those on frame. Senior midfielder Karly Stuenkel returns after a five goal, four assist and 20-shot season. She’s joined be sophomores Devin Burnes, Natalie Winters, Rose Ripslinger and Olivia Fiegel who combined for nine goals and nine assists.
The Iowa defense allowed 29 opponent goals in 2016, which included 15 against Big Ten opponents. The Hawkeyes tallied four shutouts in 2016 and held opponents to one goal in eight additional outings. Iowa opponents posted just under 12 shots per match, including 5.8 shots on goal per game. Sophomore Claire Graves is the top returning goalkeeper after she saw time in all 19 matches last season between the posts for Iowa. In those matches she amassed 73 saves, stopped 72 percent of the shots put on goal and tallied four shutouts.
Dave Dilanni is starting his fourth season as head coach for the Hawkeyes. He has guided Iowa to a 29-28-3 record in that span. Dilanni has a career coaching record of 250-46-20, which includes a 13-year stint at Grand Valley State. DiIanni’s .895 winning percentage was tops in NCAA Division II history and his current .822 winning percentage is third-highest amongst all coaches in any division.
JAYHAWKS PICKED TO FINISH SECOND IN PRESEASON BIG 12 POLL
Kansas soccer was predicted to finish second in the 2017 league standings according to the Big 12 preseason coaches’ poll which was released Wednesday morning. The ranking marked the highest Kansas has been picked to finish since the preseason coaches’ poll began in 2000.
Five-time defending league champion West Virginia was the coaches’ unanimous choice to win the conference, receiving eight first-place votes and 81 points overall. The Mountaineers were followed by Kansas (71), Oklahoma (57), Texas Tech (55), Baylor (47), Oklahoma State (38), TCU (37), Texas (32), Iowa State (23) and Kansas State (9).
EXHIBITION MATCH SUCCESS
Kansas will try to continue its streak of solid preseason tune-ups when it welcomes in the Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday. KU is unbeaten in seven-straight exhibition matches and boasts a record of 9-2-2 in preseason friendlies since 2004. The last team to hand Kansas a preseason loss was Butler when the Bulldogs topped KU, 3-2, prior to the 2011 campaign. KU took part in two tune-ups last year, with the Jayhawks drawing with the Butler Bulldogs, 2-2, before playing shutting out the Creighton Blue Jays, 3-0.
HAGAN NAMED TO MAC HERMANN TROPHY WATCH LIST
Kansas junior Grace Hagan was one of 30 women in Division I NCAA soccer to be selected to the Watch List for the Missouri Athletic Club’s (MAC) Hermann Trophy, which is awarded to the nation’s most valuable collegiate soccer player every season.
Hagan, who hails from Wichita, Kansas, will enter this season coming off a stellar sophomore campaign in 2016. An honoree on the NSCAA All-Central Region First Team, Hagan scored a team-high seven goals and added four assists to combine for 18 total points on the year, the fifth-most in the Big 12 Conference. She was also selected to the All-Big 12 First Team. She added a pair of game-winning goals on the year and helped the Jayhawks to their best conference finish in over a decade, finishing 5-1-2 in league play and aided Kansas to the program’s seventh NCAA Tournament appearance. Hagan is six goals shy from moving into the top-10 of Kansas’ all-time goal scorers list.
EXPERIENCE VS. YOUTH
The 2017 edition of the Jayhawks will be a youthful bunch, with 16 of the 25-woman roster boasting only one season of collegiate experience or less. There are eight newcomers on this season’s roster, including seven true freshman, who the coaches are leaning on to contribute almost immediately. The squad will feature five seniors, one of whom is in her fifth year. Four of the five members of the 2017 senior class has played in at least 39 matches.
BIG CLEATS TO FILL
The 2017 Jayhawks will try to fill the void left by a large group of players lost to graduation following last season. KU will have to navigate through the departure of seven players who were a part of 53 KU victories since 2012. They helped their team to a pair of top-three Big 12 finishes, its fifth-straight Big 12 tournament berth and two NCAA Tournament appearances. Combined, these seven accumulated 355 starts and played over 33,000 minutes in the Crimson and Blue. This senior class also combined for 11 goals, 23 assists and 311 shots. From 2013-16, this Jayhawk senior class amassed a record of 43-32-8. This makes it the seventh class in program history to have achieved 43 or more wins in a four-year period.
JUST ONE WILL DO IT
The Jayhawks 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 campaign, the Kansas soccer team scored at least one goal in 69 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 53-8-8. Kansas won or tied all but eight matches in which it scored, including a 25-4-1 record in those instances during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, and a 10-1-4 record this year.
FIRST TO SCORE, WINS GALORE
Over its past 103 games, dating back to the beginning of the 2012 season, Kansas developed an interesting trend when it comes to which team tallies the first goal of the match. During that 103-game span, the Jayhawks were on the losing end only once in contests which they put in the match’s first goal. Kansas has amassed a record of 50-1-5 in those games, which included a 10-0-2 mark last season. The Jayhawks’ win over Missouri on Nov. 13 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament marked their 45th-consecutive unbeaten match when they have scored first.
On the flip side, KU wasn’t quite as fortunate when its opponents have gotten on the board first. Kansas’ win over Texas Tech on Sept. 23 of last season marked just the third victory for the Jayhawks in that same 103-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. The Jayhawks are now 3-38-3 in those games over the last four seasons, which included all six of the Jayhawks’ losses and two of their draws in 2016.
LET’S GET DEFENSIVE
Last season, the Jayhawks once again proved to be a stout defensive team. Kansas boasted a goals-against average of 0.85, which included six shutouts. The Jayhawks allowed just 12 opponent shots per match, which included eight games when KU opponents sent in 10 or fewer attempts. Over their last 63 matches (dating back to the start of the 2014 season), the Jayhawks shutout 20 opponents and boasted a goals-against average of 0.93. Kansas conceded 61 opponent goals in that span and allowed one opponent goal or less in 21 of its last 25 matches.
KU also turned in an impressive shutout streak in 2016. 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 host the Rock Chalk Invitational to kick off the regular season when it hosts Central Michigan, Tulsa and Nebraska to kick off its regular season. The Jayhawks will go up against their former Big 12 foe, Nebraska, on Aug. 18. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m., at Rock Chalk Park. Two days later, KU will take on the Chippewas of Central Michigan in a 1 p.m. first touch at Rock Chalk Park. Both matches will be streamed live on KUAthletics.com.
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