Jayhawks to host No. 9 Mountaineers on Senior Night

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Senior forward Lois Heuchan 

 Game 19: vs. West Virginia
  Oct. 27
  7 p.m.
  Rock Chalk Park (2,500)
  Live Stats
  Game Notes


 Stats KU WVU
 Record 8-8-2 13-3-1
 Goals/GM 1.39 1.76
 Shots/GM 14.8 21.6
 Shot % .094 .082
 Shot on Goal % .440 .362
 Goals Allowed/GM 1.39 0.65
 Saves/GM 3.3 2.1
 Save % .706 .762
 Fouls/GM 9.3 8.6
 Yellows/Reds 15/2 9/0


LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas soccer team will look to bid a fond farewell to four seniors as the Jayhawks welcome No. 9 West Virginia to Lawrence on Friday, Oct. 27. Kansas, which has already clinched the No. 6 seed in next week’s Big 12 Championship will look to knock off its third top-10 ranked team of the season when the Mountaineers come to town. Kickoff from Rock Chalk Park is set for 7 p.m., and will be webcast at KUAthletics.com.
Kansas, sitting at 8-8-2 on the year and 3-4-1 in Big 12 play, is coming off a 1-1 weekend in after win over Oklahoma and loss to Oklahoma State last week. The Jayhawks have clinched a spot in their seventh-straight Big 12 Championship and will be the No. 6 seed in next week’s tournament, to be contested at Swope Soccer Village for the fifth-consecutive year.
Kansas’ offense has been up and down in its 18 outings of 2017, having scored multiple goals in nine of its contests, but also being shutout four times, three of those occasions coming in the Jayhawks’ last eight outings. KU has tallied 25 goals and is averaging 14.8 shots per outing. Junior Grace Hagan, a member of the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, leads the squad and the Big 12 with seven goals as well as five assists. Twelve other Jayhawks have tallied at least one goal or an assist, with six of those having already amassed 17 or more shots.
The KU defense was stellar over its first seven outings of the season, conceding only five goals and posting an opponent scoreless streak of over 450 minutes in that time. However, Kansas has since allowed at least one opponent goal in each of its next 13 contests, the longest such streak by KU opponents since the 2012 season. Overall, KU opponents are posting nearly 12.6 shots per game with just over 37 percent of those ending up on target. Senior Maddie Dobyns has been Kansas’ starting keeper in each match. She has collected 57 saves and amassed a save percentage of .731. The senior has also tallied four shutouts and has amassed a goals-against average of 1.18.
Friday’s match will mark the final regular-season home game for Jayhawk seniors Maddie Dobyns, Lois Heuchan, Hannnah Lukinac and Kayla Morrison. These four have been a part of 44 KU victories since 2014 and have helped their team to a pair of top-three finishes in the Big 12 as well as two NCAA Tournament berths. Combined, these four accumulated 197 starts and have played over 17,459 minutes in the Crimson and Blue. This senior class has also combined for 13 goals, 10 assists and 190 shots. The Jayhawks’ record on Senior Day matches is 14-6-1 and KU is unbeaten in five-straight regular-season home finales.
Located in Morgantown, West Virginia with an enrollment of 31,287, the Mountaineers enter Friday’s match needing a win and an Oklahoma State draw or loss to claim its fifth-straight Big 12 regular-season title. WVU is 4-1-0 on the road this season and has just one loss in its last 11 games, a 1-0 contest at Texas on Sept. 24.
The West Virginia offense has been potent in 2017, having been shutout only twice and scoring three or more goals in four of its contests. WVU is averaging 21.6 shots per match and is putting 36 percent of those shots on frame. Michaela Abam leads her team with six goals and 100 shots, while Sh’Nia Gordan its tops on the squad with seven assists.
The Mountaineer defense has also been stout, having tallied 10 shutouts and a goals-against average of 0.63. WVU opponents are averaging 7.3 shots per match and are putting 37.1 percent of those attempts on frame. Goalkeeper Rylee Foster has started in goal in all 17 of her team’s matches. Foster has turned in a goals-against average of 0.58, a save percentage of .762 and has tallied nine shutouts.
Nikki Izzo-Brown is in his 22nd season as the head coach of the West Virginia women’s soccer program, amassing a record of 322-106-47.
Kansas soccer could not overcome three second-half Cowgirl goals as the Jayhawks fell to Oklahoma State, 3-1, Sunday afternoon at the Cowgirl Soccer Complex. Junior Grace Hagan netted KU’s lone goal, her seventh of the year, in the 54th minute.
After both squads were unable to break through during an up-and-down opening half, the flood gates opened shortly after the intermission, with the Cowgirls drawing first blood. OSU’s Haley Woodard get in behind the KU defense and beat the keeper to send in her seventh goal of the year less than five minutes into the second half. The Jayhawks didn’t waiver though, managing to tie the score up five minutes later. A low service across the face of goal found Hagan’s foot, where the junior rerouted the ball into the back of the Cowgirl net. The goal, Hagan’s seventh of the season and second in as many games, brought the score level at 1-1 with the majority of the second half still to come.
Any momentum the Jayhawks regained on Hagan’s strike was quickly repossessed by the home side as the Cowgirls regained the lead less than a minute later. After KU was called for a foul on the right wing of its own end of the field, the resulting Oklahoma State free kick gave OSU the lead when it was headed in by Laurene Tresfield.
This weekend the Jayhawks will take the pitch against their fourth top-10 opponent this season when No. 9 West Virginia comes to Lawrence. This match will mark the 11th time Kansas will host a top-10 opponent on its home turf and the third time this year. Following its wins over No. 7 USC and No. 9 Texas this season, KU has picked up four wins over top-10 squads in Lawrence since 2008. The Jayhawks also topped No. 7 Oklahoma State, 2-1, in 2012 and also claimed a 1-0 victory over No. 6 Texas A&M during the 2008 season. That victory over the Aggies still stands as the highest-ranked opponent ever defeated by the Jayhawks.
A win over the Mountaineers Friday would be the first time in program history that Kansas has dispatched of three top-10 teams in a single season. The 2017 team has already joined the 2004 squad as the only two Kansas squads to take down multiple top-10 teams in a single season.
Goalkeeper Maddie Dobyns is just nine saves shy from entering an exclusive club. When she collects her 200th career save, the senior will become just the third goalkeeper in program history to amass 25 or more wins, 15 or more shutouts and 200 or more saves in a career. The only other two Jayhawks to reach those three milestones are Meghan Miller (2001-04) and Julie Hanley (2005-09).
Dobyns is also just the fourth Jayhawk to notch more than 5,000 minutes in between the posts. She currently sits fourth on the school’s all-time goalkeeper minutes list and is also fourth among KU keepers with 58 career appearances.
With the release of the season’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) report by the NCAA this week, Kansas extended an impressive streak that it has continued to build on over the last two seasons. For 33-straight weeks, dating back to 2014, the Jayhawks have been ranked inside the top-100 on the list that takes numerous factors into account, including strength of schedule, record against top-50 teams and home versus road records.
This week’s report also shows that the Big 12 is among the nation’s toughest conferences. The league boasts seven of its 10 teams inside the top-85. The conference’s high ranking also means the Jayhawks will get plenty of chances to up their national standing as two of their final three regular-season contests will be against teams currently ranked inside the top-50 of the RPI.
After a quick start to the 2017 campaign, the Jayhawks have hit a bit of a rough patch over the last month, and nothing demonstrates this fact better than comparing the team’s first seven matches with its seven most recent. The team began the year with only one loss in its first seven outings, but the team that took the field the next seven times had only one win. The difference in squads over those two periods of the 2017 season is apparent by much more than just looking at wins and losses.
In its first seven matches, the Kansas defense was almost unbreakable, conceding only five goals and amassing an opponent scoreless streak of over 450 minutes. KU was allowing only 10 opponent shots per match and just 43 percent of those are ending on goal. In the following seven outings, Kansas’ defense struggled. In games 8-14, the Jayhawks allowed 15 goals, which included three matches with multiple shots finding the back of the net. KU opponents also averaged 15.7 shots per game over those seven contests, a nearly six-shot increase compared to the first half of the season.
Those struggles may largely be attributed to a brutal stretch that the Jayhawks were forced to endure over the month of September. KU spent 14 of the month’s 29 days on the road. The Jayhawks’ opponents in September have been anything but a breeze either, with seven of KU’s nine September foes boasting a combined record of 70-30-15.
Junior forward Grace Hagan has already put together an impressive 2017 campaign. The MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List member leads the Jayhawks with seven goals, five assists and 19 points, figures that also rank the Wichita product among the top-10 in the Big 12 in their respective categories.
Hagan is creeping closer to inserting her name among the top offensive players in Jayhawk history. Her 18 career goals currently rank her 10th on Kansas’ all-time goal scorer chart and have her only one shy from inserting her name among the school’s top-10. Hagan’s 12 career assists also have her at No. 13 on KU’s all-time assists list.
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 2017 schedule featured 10 teams that competed in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, which included both squads that played in the national final. In the preseason, many pundits dubbed Kansas’ slate as one of the toughest in the nation, and that forecast has no doubt come true.
The Jayhawks, sitting at 8-8-2 after 18 games of the season, have played or will play five teams that are ranked or receiving votes in the most recent United Soccer Coaches’ top-25 poll. That number includes three squads currently inside the top-10.
The Jayhawks have already played five top-25 teams, which included a match against the defending NCAA Champion, No. 7 USC, as well as No. 9 Texas, both resulted in Kansas victories. KU will face at least one more battle with top-25 teams this season as the conference currently features three teams that are ranked or receiving votes in the Coaches’ poll and that includes No. 8, Texas, No. 9 West Virginia and No. 22 Oklahoma State. The Big 12’s winning percentage, 60.4 percent, after the first eight weeks of the season ranks fifth out of the 31 DI conferences.
Senior Kayla Morrison has continued an impressive streak into her final year in Lawrence as she has started all 81 of the Jayhawks’ matches since her freshman year in 2014. Morrison’s mark is already among the longest in program history as it’s fifth on the all-time list among field players. If the Corona, California product is in the starting lineup in Kansas’ final regular-season game Friday night, she would move to a tie for third on that list with 82-straight starts. In fact, Morrison hasn’t even been subbed out of a game in 3,141 minutes. Her last stint on the bench came in a 13-minute rest at the end of the first half of KU’s 2-1 win over Valparaiso on Sept. 4, 2016. She has played every one of KU’s minutes since.
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.
Over its past 121 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 121-game span, the Jayhawks were on the losing end only twice in contests which they put in the match’s first goal. Kansas has amassed a record of 56-2-6 in those games, which included a 10-0-2 mark last season and a 6-1-1 mark this year. The Jayhawks’ loss at BYU on Sept. 18 was their first in 51 matches when they 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 on Oct. 13 marked just the fifth victory for the Jayhawks in that same 121-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. Kansas is now 5-45-4 in those games over the last four seasons, which included all six of the Jayhawks’ losses and two of their draws in 2016 as well as seven of their losses and a tie this season.
With Kansas’ 3-0 win over Central Michigan on Aug. 20, Mark Francis claimed his 200th victory as the head coach of Kansas. He has now amassed a record of 201-148-28 over his 19-year stint in Lawrence. 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.
The 2017 Jayhawks are trying 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.
The Jayhawks have clinched the No. 6 seed in next week’s Big 12 Championship, which will be at Swope Soccer Village hosted in Kansas City, Mo. Kansas will play the No. 3 seed in the tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. (CT). A win in the quarterfinal match would advance KU to the semifinals to play the winner of the No. 2-seed vs. No. 7-seed at 7 p.m., on Friday, Nov. 3.




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