Kansas set for Friday night bout with Huskers
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A familiar foe awaits the Kansas soccer team this week as the Jayhawks will meet former Big 12 opponent Nebraska for a Friday night battle in Lincoln. Kansas, boasting a three-match unbeaten streak, will meet Nebraska for the 22nd time in program history. Kickoff from NU’s Barbara Hibner Field is set for 7 p.m.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
The Kansas Jayhawks are coming off their first draw of 2016, a 1-1 decision against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits last Sunday in Brookings. After dropping its season-opener to Minnesota, KU is unbeaten in its next three outings, this with the help of a 282-minute shutout streak, which ended Sunday versus SDSU.
The Jayhawk offense has been active over the first two weekends of the season, averaging 18 shots per match, the second-most by the program at this point in the last 10 seasons, and tallying over eight corner kicks per outing, which leads the Big 12. Nine different Jayhawks tallied at least four shots during the first four matches, with seven of those players boasting a goal or an assist. Freshman Mandi Duggan leads the team with two goals, while sophomore Grace Hagan and Katie McClure have also posted a shot apiece. McClure leads the squad with her 11 shots.
The KU defense has allowed three goals thus far in 2016, one of which was a penalty kick. The Jayhawks have held those team to an average of only 10 shots per game and a total of just 17 shots on frame. Over the last two seasons the Jayhawks are boasting a goals-against average of 0.95 and have held opponents to 12.3 shots per game during that span. Junior Maddie Dobyns got the start between the posts in KU’s first four outings. She has made 14 saves, allowed three goals and tallied her eighth-career shutout with her clean sheet against Colorado.
ABOUT THE CORNHUSKERS
Nebraska enters Friday’s match with a 3-1-0 record, the lone loss coming to Oregon in Eugene last week. The Cornhuskers defeated BYU in Provo on Aug. 21 to claim the program’s 300th victory. NU returns 12 of 19 letterwinners from the 2015 squad that went 8-7-2 and finished ninth in the Big Ten regular-season rankings.
The Nebraska offense was been an efficient one over the first two weekends of action, posting just 8.2 shots per game but scoring on over 15 percent of those attempts. The Cornhuskers have also managed to put over 51 percent of those 8.2 shots per game on target. Four different players have scored the team’s five goals thus far with junior midfielder Haley Hanson leading the squad her two goals. Seven Cornhuskers have tallied three or more shots with Hanson as well as senior midfielders Sydney Miramontez and Courtney Claassen leading the way with five attempts each.
Nebraska has been solid on the defensive end so far in 2016. Cornhusker opponents amassed just three goals and averaged 11.2 shots in four games. Freshman Aubrei Corder has played all 370 of her team’s minutes in goal. She has started all four matches and boasts a goals-against average of 0.73, a save percentage of .842 and has tallied 16 saves.
John Walker is starting his 23rd season as the head coach at Nebraska. Walker has guided the Cornhuskers to a 301-141-29 record during his time in Lincoln. During his time at the helm he has led his squad to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, two trips to the Elite Eight, six trips to the Sweet 16 and 10 conference championships, including Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles in 2013.
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. Seven different Jayhawks have had their hand in at least one of the team’s goals thus far in 2016, either scoring or assisting. A total of 16 players have managed to tally at least one shot and while sophomore Grace Hagan and freshman Mandi Duggan have notched over a quarter of the team’s total shots (26), seven of their teammates can boast adding four or more attempts to the team’s total of 72.
This is a trend that carried over from last year’s squad, as 11 different players managed to post double-figure shots and 10 Jayhawks tallied at least one goal or assist in 2015.
This week the Jayhawks are looking to continue their trend of relatively strong performances in matches away from Rock Chalk Park. The Jayhawks can hang their hats on an impressive record in road games over the past two years. KU has played 19 true road games since the start of the 2014 season, amassing a record of 10-7-2, which included a 5-5-1 record last year.
The Jayhawks will hope they can continue this trend into September, with six of their next seven matches away from Lawrence.
FEEDING ON NONCON
This season, the Jayhawks will try to make it eight-straight seasons with a .500 winning percentage or better against regular-season nonconference foes. Since the start of the 2012 season, Kansas has posted an impressive 29-13-5 mark in its 47 regular-season nonconference matches (67%), which includes a 17-6-2 mark since 2014. Since the start of the 2012 season, KU has outscored noncon opponents by a tally of 83-44.
Mark Francis has led KU to a winning record in noncon in 16 of his 17 seasons in Lawrence and is now 108-45-9 in regular-season nonconference games.
LAST TIME OUT
More than 100 minutes were not enough to separate the Kansas Jayhawks and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits as the two squads played to a 1-1 draw Sunday afternoon at Fishback Soccer Park. Freshman Katie McClure netted the first goal of her career in the tie.
For the third-consecutive match, a Jayhawk freshman netted her team’s lone goal in the opening half. McClure was found on the end of a well-played pass downfield from junior Hannah Lukinac. Lukinac’s service caught McClure at the top of the SDSU box, where she beat the final Jackrabbit defender and slotted home a shot under the goalkeeper and inside the right post. The goal, which marked the first of McClure’s young Jayhawk career and Lukinac’s first assist, put Kansas up 37 minutes into the match.
The home side leveled the score with just over eight minutes remaining in the match. SDSU midfielder Madison Yueill took advantage of a Jackrabbit free kick just inches outside the KU penalty area. Yueill sent in a high strike that snuck in just under the crossbar to pull her team into a 1-1 tie in the waning minutes of regulation. In the Jayhawks’ first overtime match of the season, neither team could notch the game-winner over the 20 minutes of extra time, resulting in a 1-1 draw.
LET’S GET DEFENSIVE
With a veteran crew comprising the KU back line this season, the Jayhawks are once again proving to be a stout defensive team. Kansas is boasting a goals against average of 0.71 following its first two weekends of action as well as two shutouts. The Jayhawks are also allowing just 10 opponent shots per match, which includes two games which KU opponents sent in seven attempts. Over their last 46 matches (dating back to the start of the 2014 season), the Jayhawks shutout 16 opponents and boasted a goals-against average of 0.95. Kansas has conceded only 45 opponent goals in that span and has allowed one opponent goal or less in eight-straight matches.
Already this season, KU has turned in an impressive shutout streak. KU went 282-straight minutes without conceding a goal from Aug. 19-28. The figure was the 18th-longest in school history and marked the sixth time over the last five seasons the Jayhawks have tallied an opponent scoreless streak of 280 minutes or longer.
JUST ONE WILL DO IT
The 2016 Jayhawks will try to carry on an impressive trend that has developed over the last three seasons when it comes to scoring. Since the start of the 2012 season, the Kansas soccer team has scored at least one goal in 57 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 44-8-5. Kansas was won or drawn all but eight matches in which it has scored, including a 25-4-1 record in those instances during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
FIRST TO SCORE, WINS GALORE
Over its past 86 games, dating back to the beginning of the 2012 season, Kansas has developed an interesting trend when it comes to which team tallies the first goal of the match. During that 86-game span, the Jayhawks have been on the losing end only once in the matches which they have put in the match’s first goal. Kansas has amassed a record of 42-1-4 in those games, which included an 8-0-1 mark last year and a 2-0-1 mark so far this season. The Jayhawks’ draw with South Dakota State last Sunday marked their 35th-consecutive unbeaten match when KU has scored first.
On the flip side, KU hasn’t been quite as fortunate when its opponents have gotten on the board first. Kansas’ wins over Colorado College and Arkansas last season were the first and only wins in that same 86-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. The Jayhawks are 2-33-1 in those games over the last four seasons, which includes the Jayhawks’ season-opening loss to the Minnesota Gophers on Aug. 19.
REBOUNDING ON OPENING WEEKEND
Despite its loss to Minnesota on opening night, Kansas continued its habit of rebounding off a season-opening loss when it claimed its 1-0 win over Marquette two days later. The win kept alive an impressive streak that has developed over Mark Francis’ tenure. The Jayhawks have lost their first match of the season eight times during their 21-year history, but have conceded two-straight losses to open a campaign just twice in that span.
Kansas last began a season with two losses in 1998 and has never started a year 0-2 in head coach Mark Francis’ 18 seasons at the helm in Lawrence. The only other team to drop its first two outings was KU’s inaugural team in 1995. In Francis’ 18 years, his six teams that lost their opening match have established a record of 4-0-2 in their second outing of the year.
JAYHAWKS PICKED SEVENTH IN BIG 12 POLL
Kansas soccer was predicted to finish seventh in the 2016 league standings according to the Big 12 preseason coaches’ poll which was released last week. The ranking marks just the fourth time in the 17-year history of the preseason vote that KU has been picked seventh or lower in the conference’s poll.
Four-time defending league champion West Virginia was the coaches’ choice to win the conference, receiving eight first-place votes and 64 points overall. The Mountaineers were followed by Texas Tech (57), Oklahoma (42), Baylor (35), Oklahoma State (34), Texas (32), Kansas (30), TCU (22) and Iowa State (8).
Kansas returns eight players from last year’s team that started at least 17 games. Included in the eight returning starters are six players who have amassed 35 starts or more during their Jayhawk careers.
Senior Tayler Estrada leads the way among active KU players with 61 starts in her KU career, while senior Jackie Georgoulis has been a starter in 48 matches. Junior Kayla Morrison has started each of her team’s 43 matches during her time in Lawrence. Seniors Hanna Kallmaier and Morgan Williams have 40 starts to their credit with senior Aurélie Gagnet not far behind with 37.
EXPERIENCE VS. YOUTH
Few teams in the history of Kansas soccer have had a team with has many veterans alongside so many newcomers as the 2016 Jayhawks. This year’s team will feature seven seniors, two of which are fifth-year seniors. Six of the seven members of the 2016 senior class have played in at least 49 matches during their careers and each senior has been in the starting lineup on at least nine occasions.
On the other hand, over 40 percent of this year’s Kansas squad will feature freshmen as the Jayhawks will see nine true freshmen as well as a pair of redshirt freshmen on the roster. No other KU team since 1999 (Mark Francis era) has had a roster with more than 10 freshmen.
BIG CLEATS TO FILL
The 2016 version of the Jayhawks will try to fill the void left by two of the most talented goal scorers in program history. Graduated seniors Liana Salazar and Ashley Williams combined for 49 goals and 22 assists during their respective KU careers, which included 31 goals over the last two seasons. Salazar ended her career as the No. 2 goal scorer in program history with her 28 goals, while Williams closed her collegiate career at No. 7 on KU’s all-time chart with 21.
With the loss of the senior duo, Salazar and Williams, as well as All-Big 12 freshman Parker Roberts, the Jayhawks will need to replace over half of their offensive production from a season ago. Sophomore Grace Hagan could be the top candidate to pull the offensive slack. The Wichita, Kansas product notched four goals and four assists in her first season in Lawrence last year, while seniors Jackie Georgoulis, Ashley Pankey and sophomore Anna Courtney combined for the Jayhawks’ remaining six goals in 2016.
THIS DAY IN KU SOCCER HISTORY:
September 2, 1996 – The Jayhawks dispatched of the Creighton Bluejays, 2-0, to tally their first win of 1996, the program’s second year in existence.
Freshman Shayna Teutsch netted her first goal of the year in the 20th minute before Jen Silvers put in the Jayhawks’ second goal in the 70th minute. Kansas goalkeeper Jen Fecke notched 10 saves in the shutout victory and withstood a barrage of 18 Creighton shots, nine of which came from Bluejay midfielder Maddy Maldne.
Kansas went on to finish that season with a 7-11-1 record, which included a 3-5-1 tally in its first season of conference play.
The Jayhawks will remain in Lincoln to take part in a Sunday morning match. Kansas will go up against the Valparaiso Crusaders for the first time in program history. The Jayhawks will take on the Horizon League opponent inside Barbara Hibner Field in a 10 a.m. kickoff.
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