Jayhawks to face No. 13 Baylor Sunday on ESPNU
RS-Junior Taylor Christie
|Game 17: at #13 Baylor|
|2 p.m. (CT)|
|Betty Lou Mays Field (3,000)|
|Shot on Goal %||.374||.521|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas soccer will meet its second top-25 team of the weekend when they go up against the No. 13-ranked Baylor Bears on Sunday, Oct. 21 in Waco. The Jayhawks and Bears will kick off at Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field at 2 p.m. on ESPNU. Tyler Terens (play-by-play) and Lori Linsey (analyst) will call the action.
- Since 2014 the Jayhawks have gone 8-4-1 inside the state of Texas. That record includes two wins in Waco against Sunday’s foe, 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 8-4-4 in those contests that follow a loss, which includes a 2-1 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 0.89 after its first 16 outings, a number that ranks the Jayhawks seventh in the Big 12 and 60th 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 2-0 loss to Texas Tech on Friday night in Austin. The Jayhawks are 4-3-0 in their last seven outings and is 2-2-1 away from home this season.
The Jayhawk offense has enjoyed a solid to 2018 thus far, having only been shut out three times and scoring multiple goals in seven of its matches. KU averaged over 15 shots in its first 16 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 16 outings this season which included seven shutouts. KU’s 0.89 goals-against average ranks 60th in the NCAA and seventh in the Big 12. KU is holding opponents to 7.8 shots per match and less than three shots on goal per match. Freshman Sarah Peters was the starting keeper in all 16 contests, keeping a clean sheet in seven of those appearances and has collected 30 saves for a .667 save percentage.
LAST TIME OUT
Two penalty kicks, one made and one missed, proved to be the difference as the Kansas Jayhawks fell to the No. 17-ranked Texas Longhorns, 2-0, Friday night inside Mike A. Myers Stadium. KU saw a PK try in the opening five minute go awry, while the Longhorns were able to convert on their own penalty attempt 20 minutes later.
Less than four minutes into the match, a Longhorn handball in her own 18-yard box saw Kansas get awarded a penalty kick, its first of the season. Sophomore Ceri Holland lined up the try but her attempt slammed off the crossbar and out of harm’s way, keeping the match scoreless early.
Texas responded to the Kansas miscue with a penalty kick of its own in the 24th minute. A Jayhawk foul in the KU box gave UT’s Kayra Dollas the PK try, which she slid in just inside the right post to put her team on top just over midway through the half.
For much of the night it was difficult for the Jayhawks to break the UT defense, while Longhorn goalkeeper Nicole Curry collected seven saves for the game. As the Jayhawks pushed numbers forward late in search of an equalizer, UT caught them on a counterattack and sealed the result with another goal, this time off the foot of Haley Berg.
ABOUT THE BEARS
Located in Waco, Texas with an enrollment of 16,959, Baylor enters Sunday’s match tied for first on the Big 12 table with two matches left in the regular season. The Bears picked up a win over Kansas State in Waco on Friday night which marked BU’s sixth-straight victory and its eighth win in its last nine outings.
The Bear offense has been impressive this year, averaging just under two goals per game and not being shut out once in its 17 outings. BU is averaging over 15 shots per match and is putting over 52 percent of those shots on frame. Camryn Wendlandt leads the team with seven goals on the year to go along with 45 shots. Senior forward Jackie Crowther is tops in assists with five in 2018. Those two are joined by 11 Bears to have tallied at least one goal or assist in 2018.
The BU defense has been stout this season, boasting 11 shutouts and has allowed just one opponent goal in its last six outings. On the season, BU opponents are averaging 11 shots per match but are putting 40 percent of those attempts on frame. Sophomore goalkeeper Jennifer Wandt has started in goal in 12 of BU’s 17 matches. Wandt has turned in a goals-against average of 0.54, a save percentage of .867 and has tallied nine solo shutouts.
Paul Jobson is in his sixth season as the head coach of the Baylor women’s soccer program, amassing a record of 69-37-14.
MESSIN’ WITH TEXAS
This weekend the KU soccer team is trying to continue a recent trend of solid performances against schools from the state of Texas. KU journeys to take on Lone Star State foe Baylor on Sunday. The Jayhawks have been pests to Texas schools over the last four seasons. In its 30 games against Texas squads, KU has amassed a record of 16-11-3 (60.3%), a goal differential of +4 and a goals-against average of 1.10.
The record includes some positive results against Sunday’s opponent. 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 8-4-1 inside the Lone Star State. KU’s loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock in 2015, its loss to TCU in 2017, and its losses to No. 5 Texas A&M and No. 17 Texas this season are its only four 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 their final two 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’ match at Texas on Oct. 19, KU has played 44 regular-season games away from Rock Chalk Park since the start of the 2014 season, amassing a record of 21-15-8, 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 10-4-2 after their first 16 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 0.89 this year, which encompasses seven shutouts in those 16 outings. The Jayhawks are allowing just under eight 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 139 games, Kansas has developed an interesting trend when it comes to which team tallies the first goal of the match. During that 139-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 139-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. Kansas is now 8-49-4 in those games over the last five seasons, which includes three of its four losses this season.
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.
Kansas closes out the 2018 regular season when the Jayhawks journey to Morgantown, West Virginia to meet the Mountaineers on Thursday, October 25. Kickoff from Dick Dlesk Stadium is set for 6 p.m. (CT).
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