Jayhawks set to meet No. 17 Longhorns in Austin Friday
Junior Madison Meador
|Game 16: at #17 Texas|
|7 p.m. (CT)|
|Mike A. Myers S (20,000)|
|Shot on Goal %||.363||.432|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas soccer team will head to the Lone Star State for a pair of top-25 match-ups this weekend, starting with No. 17 Texas on Friday, Oct. 19 in Austin. The Jayhawks and Longhorns will kick off from Mike A. Myers Stadium at 7 p.m. on Longhorn Network.
- Since 2014 the Jayhawks have gone 8-3-1 inside the state of Texas. That record includes two wins apiece against both this weekend’s foes, Texas and Baylor.
- With the win over TCU last Friday, KU clinched a spot in the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City Oct. 28-Nov. 4. It marks the eighth-straight season the Jayhawks will play in the league’s postseason tournament.
- Kansas has been a pretty formidable foe in matches when it is coming off a loss over the last few seasons. Since the start of 2016, the Jayhawks are 8-3-4 in those contests that follow a loss, which includes a 2-0 record this season.
- Kansas was slotted at No. 23 in this week’s Rating Percentage Index (RPI) released by the NCAA this week. The Jayhawks join a strong showing by the Big 12, which is the nation’s No. 2 RPI conference and features seven squads inside the top-40.
- Ten of the Jayhawks’ 23 goals scored this season have come in the 60th minute or later. That number includes seven goals Kansas has tallied in the final 10 minutes of regulation or in overtime.
- Kansas is 8-1-0 at home this season, adding to an impressive record since moving to Rock Chalk Park in 2014. The Jayhawks are 30-13-2 in matches played at home over the last five seasons.
- The KU defense has amassed a goals-against average of 0.82 after its first 15 outings, a number that ranks the Jayhawks fifth in the Big 12 and 54th in the NCAA.
- Head coach Mark Francis claimed victory No. 250 in his collegiate head coaching career with KU’s win over TCU on Oct. 12. Francis now boasts a career record of 250-185-34 in 23 seasons at the NCAA DI level, with 216 of his wins coming at KU.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas, receiving votes in the latest United Soccer Coaches’ poll, is coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to Texas Tech on Sunday afternoon. The Jayhawks are 4-2-0 in their last six outings, with the two of those losses coming to a pair of teams that, at the time, were ranked inside the top-15 of the national polls. KU is 2-1-1 away from home this season.
The Jayhawk offense has enjoyed a solid to 2018 thus far, having only been shut out twice and scoring multiple goals in seven of its matches. KU averaged over 15 shots in its first 15 matches, and averaging nearly six of those shots on target per match. Seven different Jayhawks have tallied double-digit shots this season and 11 different players have posted a goal or an assist. KU forwards Katie McClure and Grace Hagan have combined for 13 of the Jayhawks’ 23 goals, netting seven and six, respectively.
The KU defense has held its opponent to a goal or less in 11 of its 15 outings this season which included seven shutouts. KU’s 0.82 goals-against average ranks 54th in the NCAA and fifth in the Big 12. KU is holding opponents to 7.7 shots per match and less than three shots on goal per match. Freshman Sarah Peters was the starting keeper in all 15 contests, keeping a clean sheet in seven of those appearances and has collected 29 saves for a .7690 save percentage.
LAST TIME OUT
An equalizing goal with 88 seconds remaining in regulation, followed by an own goal less than two minutes into overtime was enough to give the Texas Tech Red Raiders the late, come-from-behind victory over the Kansas Jayhawks, 2-1, Sunday afternoon at Rock Chalk Park. Senior Grace Hagan scored her sixth goal of the year before TTU found the back of the net twice within the three-minute span to had KU just its second home loss of 2018.
On her Senior Day, Kansas forward Grace Hagan broke open the tie match in the 53rd minute when she shot in a cross from junior defender Elisa Reina, putting the Jayhawks up on the scoreboard first, 1-0. Hagan’s sixth goal of 2018 moved the Wichita native into sole possession of fifth place on the school’s career goals chart, now at 24.
The score remained 1-0 in favor of the home team on a cold, blustery and rainy day in Lawrence until there was just 88 ticks remaining on the clock. It was then that Texas Tech’s Cassie Hiatt headed in a free kick from Brooke Denesik to send the match into extra time. A mere two minutes into the first overtime period, a deflection off a Kansas defender slipped past the Jayhawk goalkeeper, Sarah Peters, to end the match with TTU’s golden goal.
By the end of the day, the Jayhawks had nearly doubled up on the visitors from Lubbock by a shot tally of 19-10. However, the shot that mattered the most was KU’s own goal, which ended the match and the Jayhawks’ regular season at Rock Chalk Park.
ABOUT THE LONGHORNS
Located in Austin, Texas with an enrollment of 51,334, No. 17 Texas enters Friday’s match with an 11-2-2 record and a 3-2-1 record in Big 12 play. The Longhorns began the season unbeaten in its first 10 outings, but since then have just two victories in its last five matches, including a 3-2 win over Oklahoma in its most recent game on Oct. 12.
The UT offense has been solid in 2018, scoring multiple goals in 11 of its contests and only being shutout once. Texas is posting 15.7 shots per game and is scoring on 14 percent of those attempts. The Longhorns have also managed to put 43 percent of those 15.7 shots per game on target. Junior Cyera Hintzen leads the team and the Big 12 with 10 goals and eight assists to go along with 44 shots on the year, and is joined by 13 of her teammates who have notched at least one goal or an assist in 2018.
The Texas defense has also been strong this year, having conceded just 13 goals this season and shuting out four of its opponents. Longhorn foes are averaging only 10.9 shots per match and are putting 35 percent of those attempts on frame. Junior goalkeeper Nicole Curry has played all but 45 minutes this season in goal for UT. In her 15 outings she has collected 40 saves and has amassed a goals-against average of 0.87.
Angela Kelly is in her seventh season as the head coach of the Texas women’s soccer program. In her first six-plus seasons with the Longhorns, Kelly has amassed a 72-45-18 record.
MESSIN’ WITH TEXAS
This weekend the KU soccer team will try to continue a recent trend of solid performances against schools from the state of Texas. KU will journey to take on Lone Star State foes Texas and Baylor on Friday and Sunday. The Jayhawks have been pests to Texas schools over the last four seasons. In its 29 games against Texas squads, KU has amassed a record of 16-10-3 (60.3%), a goal differential of +6 and a goals-against average of 1.00.
The record includes some positive results against this weekend’s two opponents. The Jayhawks have claimed six victories in their last nine meetings with UT, this after KU posted only one win in its first 15 outings against the Longhorns. The Bears have also had a tough time against KU in recent years. Kansas has come out on top over Baylor in five of the last six meetings, which included a 3-1 win over the Bears in the Jayhawks’ last trip to Waco in 2016.
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 8-3-1 inside the Lone Star State. KU’s loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock in 2015, its loss to TCU in 2017, and its loss to No. 5 Texas A&M this season are its only three blemishes in Texas over the last four years.
TURNING THINGS AROUND
Still with three regular-season games and the postseason, the 2018 Jayhawks are looking to construct an impressive turnaround from 2017, having already surpassed last season’s win total. Last year, Kansas won eight games and drew three times, while this year’s team has already picked up 10 victories and still has four regular-season game to go. Mark Francis-coached KU squads have been known to improve coming off below average seasons. In his first 19 seasons in Lawrence, Francis’ Kansas teams have won fewer than 10 games on five occasions, but in all but one of the following years, the Jayhawks rebounded with 11 or more victories and an NCAA Tournament berth.
Francis is no stranger to monumental turnarounds. After a 2-17-0 season during his first season at South Alabama in 1996, he led the Jaguars to an 18-3-1 mark during the 1997 season. The 16-win turnaround is still the biggest in NCAA Division I soccer history. His largest rebound at KU came in 2014, when the Jayhawks posted a 15-win campaign a year after claiming just seven wins.
With each of their final three regular-season matches on the road, the Jayhawks will look to continue their trend of relatively strong performances in matches away from Rock Chalk Park in the recent years. Kansas can hang its hat on an impressive record in road games over the past four years. Including the Jayhawks’ win at Kansas State on Oct. 5, KU has played 43 regular-season games away from Rock Chalk Park since the start of the 2014 season, amassing a record of 21-14-8, which included a 4-4-2 record last year. KU has posted a .500 record or better in regular-season road or neutral matches every year since 2014.
FRANCIS CLAIMS 250TH COLLEGIATE WIN
The Jayhaws’ win over TCU on Oct. 12 gave head coach Mark Francis victory No. 250 as a head coach at the NCAA DI level. His first win came as the head man at South Alabama on Sept. 29, 1996 with a 9-0 drubbing of Northwestern State, since then he has averaged nearly 11 wins per season during his first 22 years roaming the sideline.
He has now amassed a record of 250-184-34 over his 23 seasons as a collegiate coach, with 217 of those wins coming in 20 years at Kansas. The veteran became one of just 49 active head coaches in NCAA DI to have reached the 250-win milestone. Francis’ teams have made seven NCAA Tournament appearances, claimed three conference regular-season titles and have notched 12 or more victories eight times.
NO GAMES OFF
Before Kansas soccer even hit the pitch for its first match of the season, the Jayhawks knew they would be in for a gauntlet of a schedule. The 2018 schedule features eight teams that competed in the NCAA Tournament a year ago as well as four reigning conference champions. The Jayhawks, sitting at 10-3-2 after their first 15 games of the season, have played or will play seven teams that are ranked or receiving votes in the most recent United Soccer Coaches’ top-25 poll. That number includes four squads inside the top-20.
The Jayhawks have already played four top-25 teams over the first six weeks of the season, which included two wins over ranked squads (No. 18 Pepperdine and No. 25 Butler). It appears as though KU will face several more battles with top-25 teams this season with the final stretch of Big 12 Conference play still to come. The conference currently features seven teams that are ranked or receiving votes in the Coaches’ poll and that includes No. 13 Baylor, No. 16 West Virginia, and No. 17 Texas. The Big 12’s winning percentage, 61.4 percent, after the first nine weeks of the season ranks fourth out of the 31 DI conferences.
LATE MATCH MAGIC
The Jayhawks have been clutch in crunch time during the first half of the 2018 campaign. Ten of the Jayhawks’ 23 goals scored thus far have come in the 60th minute or later. That number includes seven goals Kansas has tallied in the final 10 minutes of regulation or in overtime.
The Jayhawks have come out on top in five of those matches that have seen Kansas score in the 80th minute or later. KU has netted three golden goals already in 2018, two off the boot of junior forward Katie McClure and the most recent from junior defender Eva Eliasdottir in KU’s 2-1 win over TCU (10/12). McClure scored overtime game-winners against Utah (8/31) and Oklahoma (9/21), which are included in her five game-winners this season. Those five game-winning strikes rank her first among Big 12 players and are fifth-most be a Jayhawk in school history.
McClure and Eliasdottir’s golden goals have given Kansas three victories that have come by way of an overtime this season, which marks the first time the Jayhawks have tallied multiple OT wins in a season since 2015. The 2015 and 2018 squads now share the program record for overtime wins in a season with three.
LET’S GET DEFENSIVE
In their first 15 matches of 2018, the Jayhawks have once again proven to be a stout defensive team, carrying over the trend from their last several seasons. Kansas currently boasts a goals-against average of 0.82 this year, which encompasses seven shutouts in those 15 outings. The Jayhawks are allowing just over seven opponent shots per match, which includes seven games that they held their opponents to seven or fewer attempts.
KU has already put together two impressive shutout streaks this season. Kansas went 354-straight minutes without conceding a goal over its first four matches. The figure is the eighth-longest shutout streak in program history and marked the fourth time over the last five seasons the Jayhawks have tallied an opponent scoreless streak of 300 minutes or longer. KU recently wrapped up a 242-minute shutout stretch in the heart of Big 12 play.
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 2018, either scoring or assisting. A total of seven players have managed to tally double-digit shots which includes five players who have posted 20 or more attempts.
With the release of the season’s third Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) report by the NCAA this week, several good signs stick out for the Jayhawks. Kansas checked in at No. 23 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 fifth-straight week the Jayhawks found themselves in the top-25 after being slotted at No. 24 last week.
This week’s report shows that the Big 12 is one of the nation’s toughest conference. The league was listed as the nation’s No. 2 conference with this week’s RPI boasting six of its 10 teams inside the top-30. 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-20 of the RPI.
FIRST TO SCORE, WINS GALORE
Dating back to the beginning of the 2012 season, now at 138 games, Kansas has developed an interesting trend when it comes to which team tallies the first goal of the match. During that 138-game span, the Jayhawks were on the losing end only three times in contests which they put in the match’s first goal. Kansas has amassed a record of 63-3-8 in those games (90.5 winning %), which included a 6-1-2 mark last year and a 7-1-1 mark this season.
On the flip side, KU wasn’t quite as fortunate when its opponents have gotten on the board first. Kansas’ win over Oklahoma on Sept. 21 marked just the eighth victory for the Jayhawks in that same 138-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. Kansas is now 8-48-4 in those games over the last five seasons, which included eight of KU’s losses and a tie in 2017.
Senior forward Grace Hagan is trying to put an emphatic stamp on an already outstanding career at KU. Last year saw her make headlines across the state, the region and the nation. She kicked off the year beginning named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List and ended it on the All-Big 12 Second Team and the All-South Region Third Team. She led the Jayhawks with seven goals, five assists and 19 points, figures that ranked the Wichita product among the top-10 in the Big 12 in their respective categories.
As she works through her senior season, she will be in prime position to make big jumps on some impressive lists, creeping closer to inserting her name among the top offensive players in Jayhawk history. Her 24 career goals currently rank her fifth on Kansas’ all-time goal scorer chart and her 14 career assists also have her at No. 11 on KU’s all-time assists list.
The Jayhawks’ journey through the Lone Star State will continue with another match against a top-25 squad. KU will head to Waco, Texas to play the No. 14 Baylor Bears on Oct. 21. First touch from Waco is set for 2 p.m. on ESPNU.
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