Kansas opens Big 12 Championship with No. 17 Texas Sunday
Junior defender Madison Meador
|Game 19: vs #17 Texas|
|8 p.m. (CT)|
|Swope Soccer Village|
|Shot on Goal %||.374||.413|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas soccer team is set to take part in the Big 12 Soccer Championship beginning Sunday, Oct. 28 in Kansas City, Missouri. Coming off a 5-4-0 finish in the Big 12 regular-season race, the No. 6-seeded Jayhawks will meet the No. 3 seed Texas Longhorns in the quarterfinal match set for 8 p.m., at Swope Soccer Village. The match will be streamed live at Big12Sports.com.
- The Jayhawks are 5-13-4 in their 17 appearances in the Big 12 Championship, which includes a 2-3-1 record over the last three years. Kansas is also 2-3-1 when appearing as the No. 6 seed in the league tournament, which included a run to the final in 2015.
- Kansas will play its fourth-straight top-25 ranked team Sunday, marking the first time in program history the Jayhawks will take on a ranked-squad in four consecutive outings. KU is 7-12-1 against top-25 teams since 2016, which includes a 3-4-0 record this season.
- With her assist in KU’s win at WVU Thursday, 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.
- Junior Katie McClure (Offensive) and freshman Sarah Peters (Defensive and Freshman) made it a clean KU sweep in the final Big 12 weekly awards of the season. It marked just the second time KU has swept the league’s weekly honors.
- McClure has tallied a league-leading six game-winning goals this season, which includes three golden goals. Her six game-winners are just one shy from tying the single-season program record.
- Kansas has played in seven 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 4-1-2 in overtime this season.
- Eleven of the Jayhawks’ 24 goals scored this season have come in the 60th minute or later. That number includes eight goals Kansas has tallied in the final 10 minutes of regulation or in overtime.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas, which wrapped up a sixth-place finish in the regular-season league table, is coming off a 1-0 overtime victory over West Virginia on Thursday night in Waco. The Jayhawks are 4-4-0 in their last eight outings and are 3-3-2 in matches away from Rock Chalk Park this season. Kansas has also played in a program-record seven overtime games in 2018, posting a 4-1-2 mark in matches that go to extra time.
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 14.7 shots in its 18 regular-season matches, and averaged 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 15 of the Jayhawks’ 25 goals, scoring eight and seven, respectively.
The KU defense has held its opponent to a goal or less in 12 of its 18 outings this season which included eight shutouts. KU is holding opponents to 8.6 shots per match and less than four shots on goal per match. Freshman Sarah Peters was the starting keeper in all 18 contests, keeping a clean sheet in eight of those appearances and has collected 43 saves for a .705 save percentage.
LAST TIME OUT
Katie McClure’s golden goal in the eighth minute of overtime closed out the regular-season on a high note as the Jayhawks upset the No. 13 West Virginia Mountaineers Oct. 25 inside Dick Dlesk Stadium.
Once again, it was McClure with the late game heroics as the Wichita native scored her sixth game winner of the season from the assist from senior forward Grace Hagan. McClure has become used to the overtime pressure, as her goal in the 98th minute was her third golden goal in KU’s seven overtime appearances.
Freshman goalkeeper Sarah Peters may have just kept the Jayhawks in the game as she recorded a number of saves to keep the Mountaineers off the scoreboard. Peters’ key save came in the 15th minute as West Virginia’s Addison Clark made a move inside the box, but Peters was able to close the angle and get the save.
Kansas recorded its first road win against a top-25 team in two years and it was the Jayhawks’ third victory of the season against a top-25 team. The win snapped a three-game losing streak and gave the Jayhawks much needed momentum moving forward to the Big 12 Championship.
ABOUT THE LONGHORNS
Located in Austin, Texas with an enrollment of 51,334, No. 17 Texas enters Sunday’s match with a 13-3-2 record and a 5-3-1 record in Big 12 play. The Longhorns began the season unbeaten in its first 10 outings, but since went 4-3-1 in its next eight matches, including a 1-0 loss at Texas Tech in the regular-season finale on Oct. 25.
The UT offense has been solid in 2018, scoring multiple goals in 13 of its contests and only being shut out twice. Texas is posting 15.1 shots per game and is scoring on 14 percent of those attempts. The Longhorns have also managed to put 41 percent of those 15.1 shots per game on target. Junior Cyera Hintzen leads the team and the Big 12 with 10 goals and nine assists to go along with 48 shots on the year, and is joined by 14 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 14 goals this season and shuting out six of its opponents. Longhorn foes are averaging only 10.9 shots per match and are putting 38 percent of those attempts on frame. Junior goalkeeper Nicole Curry has played all but 45 minutes this season in goal for UT. In her 18 outings she has collected 56 saves and has amassed a goals-against average of 0.78.
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 74-46-18 record.
In the 22 years of the Big 12 Championship, Kansas has amassed a record of 5-13-4 in its 17 appearances. This season marks the fifth time Kansas will be a No. 6 seed. Kansas has been the six seed in three of the last four years, which includes 2015 when KU advanced to the tournament final. Kansas is 4-10-3 all-time in Big 12 quarterfinal games.
Kansas is in good company being the No. 6 seed. The sixth-seeded team has advanced to the Big 12 final in three of the last five years, with the championship match featuring the No. 5 seed last year. The fifth-seeded team or lower has advanced to the final each of the last six years. KU is 2-3-1 all-time as the No. 6 seed.
A TALE OF TWO SEASONS
After a quick start to the 2018 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 eight matches with its 10 most recent. The team began the year without a loss in its first eight outings, but the team that took the field the next 10 times suffered five defeats. The difference in squads over those two periods of the 2018 season is apparent by much more than just looking at wins and losses.
In its first eight matches, the Kansas defense was almost unbreakable, conceding only two goals and amassing an opponent scoreless streak of over 354 minutes. KU was allowing less than seven opponent shots per match and under 40 percent of those were on target. In the next nine outings, Kansas’ defense struggled. In games 9-18, the Jayhawks allowed 16 goals, which included six matches with multiple shots finding the back of the net. KU opponents also averaged 10 shots per game over those nine contests, a nearly three 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 latter half of September and October. The Jayhawks’ opponents during this stretch have been anything but a breeze, with eight of KU’s last 10 foes boasting a combined record of 96-38-12.
MCCLURE, PETERS SWEEP FINAL BIG 12 WEEKLY AWARDS OF 2018
Coming off an upset victory over No. 13 West Virginia Thursday night, a pair of Jayhawks were honored with Big 12 soccer weekly awards the league announced Oct. 26. Junior forward Katie McClure claimed Offensive Player of the Week honors, her third of the season, while freshman goalkeeper Sarah Peters was named the conference’s defensive player of the week and its freshman of the week, both were first-time honors in her young career.
McClure, who hails from Wichita, Kansas, claimed her third Big 12 weekly award of 2018 after scoring the golden goal in Kansas’ 1-0 upset over the Mountaineers Thursday. Her strike in the 98th minute was her eighth goal of the year and her third that has come in overtime. The goal was one of five shots McClure tallied in her 75 minutes of action Thursday night.
Peters, a native of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, used a career-high eight saves to help the Jayhawks keep the clean sheet against WVU, just the fifth the Mountaineers have suffered this season. The shutout was Peters’ eighth on the year, a Kansas freshman record.
The Kansas duo’s sweep of the league’s weekly awards marked just the second time the Big 12 honors went to all Jayhawks. In 2006, Jessica Bush (Offensive), Julie Hanley (Defensive) and Monica Dolinsky (Newcomer) also made it a clean KU sweep on Oct. 17.
LATE MATCH MAGIC
The Jayhawks have been clutch in crunch time during the 2018 campaign. Eleven of the Jayhawks’ 24 goals scored thus far have come in the 60th minute or later. That number includes eight goals Kansas has tallied in the final 10 minutes of regulation or in overtime.
The Jayhawks have come out on top in six of those matches that have seen Kansas score in the 80th minute or later. KU has netted four golden goals already in 2018, three off the boot of junior forward Katie McClure and one from junior defender Eva Eliasdottir in KU’s 2-1 win over TCU (10/12). McClure scored overtime game-winners against Utah (8/31), Oklahoma (9/21) and West Virginia (10/25), which are included in her six game-winners this season. Those six game-winning strikes rank her first among Big 12 players and are second-most be a Jayhawk in school history.
McClure and Eliasdottir’s golden goals have given Kansas four victories that have come by way of an overtime this season, which marks the most in school history. The the extra time win at West Virginia on Oct. 25, the 2018 squad passed the group from 2015 for the program record for overtime wins in a season with four.
LET’S GET DEFENSIVE
In their 18 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 0.95 this year, which encompasses eight shutouts in those 18 outings. The Jayhawks are allowing just over 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.
TURNING THINGS AROUND
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 11 victories and still has the postseason 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.
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.
FIRST TO SCORE, WINS GALORE
Dating back to the beginning of the 2012 season, now at 141 games, Kansas has developed an interesting trend when it comes to which team tallies the first goal of the match. During that 141-game span, the Jayhawks were on the losing end only four times in contests which they put in the match’s first goal. Kansas has amassed a record of 64-4-8 in those games (89.5 winning %), which included a 6-1-2 mark last year and an 8-2-1 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 141-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 five 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 25 career goals currently rank her fifth on Kansas’ all-time goal scorer chart and her 15 career assists also have her at No. 10 on KU’s all-time assists list. She’s just the second Jayhawk in program history to post 25+ goals and 15+ assists in a career.
If the Jayhawks win their quarterfinal match-up, they will take on the winner of the No. 2 seed West Virginia-No. 7 seed Oklahoma game on Friday, Nov. 2 in the semifinal slated for 7 p.m. The match be streamed at Big12Sports.com.
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