Jayhawks set for Sunday night match at UMKC
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas soccer team will make the short journey east to Kansas City Sunday night when the Jayhawks go up against the UMKC Kangaroos. KU and UMKC will meet for just the second time in regular-season play when they hit the pitch at Durwood Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
The Kansas Jayhawks enter Sunday’s match with just one defeat in their last six outings, which included a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh Friday night in Lawrence. 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 600 minutes since, which includes shutout victories over Marquette and Colorado.
The Jayhawk offense has been active over the first seven matches of the season, averaging almost 18 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. Twelve different Jayhawks have tallied at least five shots during the first six matches, with nine players boasting a goal or an assist. Sophomore Grace Hagan, along with freshman Mandi Duggan, lead the team with three goals apiece. Hagan and freshman Katie McClure have combined for nearly a third of the team’s shots with 36 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 seven opponents to an average of only 8.9 shots per game and a total of just 25 shots on frame (3.6 per game). Over the last three 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 seven 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 KANGAROOS
UMKC enters Sunday’s match with a 1-3-2 record and is coming off its first win of the season when it topped UT Martin, 2-0, on Sept. 4. The match against Kansas will be the just the second home match of the season for the Kangaroos, who are coming off a 2015 campaign that saw them post a 14-6-1 record and finish second in the WAC standings.
The UMKC offense has gotten out to a slow start early this season, netting three goals in six games, but settling for shutouts in four of those outings. Over the first six matches, the Kangaroos are posting 13.0 shots per game but are scoring on less than four percent of those attempts. UMKC has also managed to put over 40 percent of those 13 shots per game on target. Three players have accounted for the team’s three goals thus far while sophomore Reighan Childers leads the team with her 12 shots.
The Kangaroo defense has conceded eight goals in its six matches, which includes five opponent goals in its last three outings. UMKC opponents are averaging 14 shots per match and are putting nearly 50 percent of those attempts on frame. Anna Lillig has gotten the start in goal in five of UMKC’s games this year. The sophomore is boasting a goals-against average of 1.59, a save percentage of .778 and has tallied 28 saves.
Head coach Chris Cissell is currently in his sixth year at the helm of the ‘Roos program. During his tenure at UMKC, Cissell has a posted coaching record of 54-40-15 and has increased UMKC’s win total in each of the last four seasons.
LAST TIME OUT
With less than 10 minutes to play in regulation, freshman Mandi Duggan scored her third goal of the season and eventual game-winner to help the Kansas Jayhawks top the Pittsburg Panthers, 2-1, Friday night at Rock Chalk Park. Sophomore Grace Hagan tallied the assist on Duggan’s goal as well as a penalty kick goal in the first half.
Hagan posted her second-straight three point game, which started with the penalty kick late in the first half. The foul was called in the KU box and Hagan stepped up to the spot before finding the back for the third time this season. Hagan tallied six more shots throughout the rest of the night, setting a new career best. Twenty-five seconds into the 81st minute, Hagan fought hard to win a loose ball near the Panther end line. The Wichita product sent a low pass across the face of the Pitt goal to a wide-open Duggan at the far post, who was able to tap in her third game-winning goal of the season.
With any veteran laden team, there is 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 49-straight starts for the Jayhawks.
Morrison’s mark is already among the longest in program history as it its 12th on the all-time list among field players. If the Corona, California product is in the starting lineup in each of Kansas’ final 12 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. Nine 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 (36), ten of their teammates can boast adding five or more attempts to the team’s total of 123.
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 Sunday night 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 21 regular-season road games since the start of the 2014 season, amassing a record of 11-8-2, which included a 5-5-1 record last year.
The Jayhawks will hope they can continue this trend over the next four weekends, with five of their next six 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 31-14-5 mark in its 50 regular-season nonconference matches (66%), which includes a 19-7-2 mark since 2014. Since the start of the 2012 season, KU has outscored noncon opponents by a tally of 87-47.
Mark Francis has led KU to a winning record in noncon in 16 of his 17 seasons in Lawrence and is now 109-46-9 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 11 of its last 12 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 59 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 46-8-5. 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 4-1-1 record this year.
FIRST TO SCORE, WINS GALORE
Over its past 89 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 89-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 44-1-4 in those games, which included an 8-0-1 mark last year and a 4-0-1 mark so far this season. The Jayhawks’ win over Pittsburgh Friday night marked their 37th-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 89-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 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 jet to the west coast for a pair of matches in southern California. KU will meet the USC Trojans in Los Angeles on Friday, Sept. 16 in a 5 p.m. (CT) kickoff. Two days later Kansas will head to Malibu for a Sunday afternoon date with Pepperdine. The Jayhawks and Waves are slated to hit the pitch at 3 p.m. (CT).
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