Jayhawks set to host Billikens in NCAA Tournament Friday
Senior Grace Hagan
|Game 20: vs. Saint Louis|
|Rock Chalk Park (2,500)|
|Shot on Goal %||.362||.497|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Back for its eighth trip to the NCAA Tournament, the University of Kansas soccer team (11-5-3) will take on Atlantic 10 Champion Saint Louis (18-3-1) in NCAA Tournament action on Friday, Nov. 9 in Lawrence. The Jayhawks will meet the Billikens in the first-round match set for 7 p.m., at Rock Chalk Park. The contest will be broadcast on ESPN3 with Josh Klingler (play-by-play) and Huw Williams (analyst) calling the action.
- The Jayhawks are 5-7-0 in their seven appearances in the NCAA Tournament, which includes KU advancing past the first round on four of those occasions. In Kansas’ last appearance in 2016, it topped Missouri, 1-0 in the opening round before falling to North Carolina, 2-0, in the second round.
- Kansas and Saint Louis will meet for the sixth time Friday and the second time in two months. On Sept. 14, Grace Hagan’s hat trick brought KU back from a 2-0 first-half deficit as the then-No. 18 Jayhawks held off SLU 3-2 at Rock Chalk Park.
- The Jayhawks went 8-2-0 at Rock Chalk Park this season. The eight home victories are the fourth-most by a KU team in season in program history.
- Three Jayhawks saw their name called when the All-Big 12 postseason awards were announced last week. Senior Grace Hagan was a First Team selection, while junior Katie McClure was a Second Team honoree. Freshman goalkeeper Sarah Peters earned a spot on the All-Freshman team.
- With her assist in KU’s win at WVU on Oct. 25, senior Grace Hagan became just the second Jayhawk in program history to amass 25+ goals and 15+ assists in a career. Her 25 career goals rank fifth in KU history and her 15 assists rank 10th. Caroline Smith (2002-05) is the only other Jayhawk to achieve the feat with 51 goals and 24 assists.
- KU’s nine shutouts are the third-most in a season by a Jayhawk squad. The KU defense as posted four shutout streaks of 200 minutes or longer this season, which includes its current stretch of 216 minutes since it last conceded an opponent goal.
- Kansas has played in eight overtime matches this season, a program records and has picked up four victories in those seven extra time games, also a school record. KU is 4-1-3 in overtime this season.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas (11-5-3, 5-4-0 Big 12) enters the NCAA Tournament coming off a win and a draw against top-25 ranked opponents in its two most recent outings. The Jayhawks topped then-No. 13 West Virginia in Morgantown on Oct. 25 before playing then-No. 17 Texas to a 0-0 draw in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals on Oct. 28, eventually falling on penalties.
The Jayhawk offense has enjoyed a solid to 2018 thus far, having only been shut out four times and scoring multiple goals in seven of its matches. KU averaged 15.1 shots in its 19 regular-season matches, and averaged nearly six of those shots on target per match. Five different Jayhawks have tallied 25 or more shots this season and 11 different players have posted a goal or an assist. KU forwards Katie McClure and Grace Hagan have combined for 15 of the Jayhawks’ 25 goals, scoring eight and seven, respectively.
The KU defense has held its opponent to a goal or less in 13 of its 19 outings this season which included nine shutouts. KU is holding opponents to 8.9 shots per match and less than four shots on goal per match. Freshman Sarah Peters was the starting keeper in all 19 contests, keeping a clean sheet in nine of those appearances and has collected 47 saves for a .723 save percentage.
LAST TIME OUT
The Kansas soccer team came up short following a double-overtime thriller, playing to a 0-0 draw with No. 17 Texas before being edged by the Longhorns on a penalty kick shootout in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals Oct. 28 at Swope Soccer Village.
With the 0-0 draw, KU dropped to 11-5-3 on the season while Texas’ record moved to 13-3-3 overall in 2018.
There was no clear separation between the two teams after the first 45 minutes of play, the second 45 or even after the entire 110 minutes, as the end result was much the same in regards to statistics across the board.
Both teams saw a myriad of chances to put in the first goal of the night, which included five shots that the Jayhawks managed to put on frame, however UT goalkeeper Nicole Curry was there to stop each of them.
After holding the Longhorns scoreless for 110 minutes, Kansas freshman goalkeeper Sarah Peters was replaced by senior Lauren Breshears between the posts for the PK round of action. After four rounds of PKs, the Longhorns prevailed, 3-1, and advance to play in the Big 12 Soccer Championship semifinals on Friday night.
ABOUT THE BILLIKENS
Located in St. Louis, Missouri with an enrollment of 12,949, SLU (18-3-1) will be making its third NCAA Tournament appearance after claiming both the Atlantic 10 regular-season and tournament titles The Billikens 18 wins are a program record and the most by a squad in the NCAA so far this season. Saint Louis’ last loss came at the hands of the Jayhawks on Sept. 19, a 3-2 KU victory in Lawrence. After that loss, the Billikens went on to win 14-straight matches.
SLU has had a potent offense this season, scoring 51 goals in 22 games and averaging over 19 shots per game. The Billikens have also put nearly 50 percent of their tries on target. Saint Louis has seen seven different players net three or more goals and has seen eight different players tally 20 or more shots. Senior forward Maddie Pokorny leads the way with 12 goals and a pair of assists, while freshman midfielder Hanna Friedrich has posted eight assists.
SLU has notched 13 shutouts and has allowed only two goals in its last eight matches. Billiken opponents have averaged five shots per game and only three shots on goal per match. In goal, Olivia Silverman has started between the posts for each match. In 22 starts, Silverman has allowed 11 goals, made 44 saves and amassed a save percentage of .800.
Head coach Katie Shields is currently in her sixth year at the helm of the Saint Louis program, having amassed a record of 69-39-10. Shields, who served as a Billiken assistant coach in 2012, was named the third head coach in program history on Jan. 15, 2013.
The Kansas Jayhawks will make their eighth appearance in the NCAA Championship Sunday when they welcome in the Saint Louis Billikens for the First Round match. Kansas is 5-7 all-time in NCAA Tournament games with its best run coming in 2003 when the Jayhawks advanced to the Sweet 16, where they fell to UCLA, 1-0, in Los Angeles. Kansas has advanced past the first round in four of its first seven appearances.
Kansas is making its first appearance in the Big Dance since 2016. That year KU welcomed Missouri for the third of the programs’ two NCAA meetings for the first-round game played at Rock Chalk Park. KU’s Louis Heuchan scored the golden goal in the second overtime to hand the Jayhawks a 1-0 win against their border rivals.
While just under three-quarters of the Jayhawk roster will be enjoying its first experience in the NCAA Tournament, the Kansas roster features several veterans who have notched tourney action. Senior Grace Hagan and juniors Katie McClure, Addysin Merrick and Regan Gibbs all started in KU’s last NCAA Tournament game, a 2-0 second-round loss to North Carolina in 2016. Merrick and Gibbs saw action in all 90 minutes of the match, with Hagan and McClure posted 82 and 68-minute outings, respectively. Current Jayhawks Anna Courtney, Eva Eliasdottir and Mandi Duggan came off the bench in both KU’s 2016 NCAA Tournament matches.
The school record for most NCAA Tournament games played belongs to five Jayhawks who played in six tournament games from 2001-04. Monica Brothers, Amy Geha, Stacy Leeper, Gabriela Quiggle and Lauren Williams played on three KU squads that advanced to the Big Dance.
WE MEET AGAIN
Friday night’s contest will mark the second meeting between the Jayhawks and Billikens in two months and the third time in 14 months. KU and SLU met on Sept. 19 at Rock Chalk Park in a match that turned out to be a historic for the Jayhawks. Despite being faced with an early 2-0 deficit, senior forward Grace Hagan’s first-career hat trick powered the then-No. 18 Jayhawks to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Billikens.
The Jayhawks held off a handful of late SLU attacks to stay ahead for good, wrapping up the 3-2 win and remain unbeaten on the year. Hagan’s three-goal performance was the first hat trick by a Jayhawks since 2008 when Shannon McCabe netted three goals against Francis Marion. In 2017, Kansas met the Billikens in Saint Louis and played to a 1-1 draw.
The winner of the Kansas-Saint Louis contest will play the winner of the Howard-North Carolina match on Friday, Nov. 16 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The match will be hosted by the highest-seeded advancing team among the four schools. If the Jayhawks win each of their first two matches, they will then play in the third-round game on Sunday, Nov. 18.
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