Kansas set to host Texas Tech on Senior Day
Senior Grace Hagan
|Game 15: vs. Texas Tech|
|Rock Chalk Park (2,500)|
|Shot on Goal %||.363||.450|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas soccer will look to bid a fond farewell to six Jayhawks when KU welcomes Texas Tech to Lawrence for Senior Day on Sunday, Oct. 14. Kansas, winner of three-straight and sitting third on the league table, will look to pick up its ninth home win of 2018. The match will be broadcast on ESPN+ with Josh Klingler (play-by-play) and Huw Williams (analyst) calling the action.
- Kansas seniors Lauren Breshears, Grace Hagan, Miriam Melugin and Kaycie Young, as well as redshirt juniors Taylor Christie and Anna Courtney will play their final regular-season home match Sunday. These six have been a part of 39 KU victories since 2015 and have helped their team to a top-three finish in the Big 12 and an NCAA Tournament berth.
- With the win over TCU Friday, KU has 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 was slotted at No. 24 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 eight squads inside the top-51.
- Head coach Mark Francis claimed victory No. 250 in his collegiate head coaching career Friday with KU’s win over TCU. Francis now boasts a career record of 250-184-34 in 23 seasons at the NCAA DI level, with 216 of his wins coming at KU.
- Ten of the Jayhawks’ 22 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 0.74 after its first 14 outings, a number that ranks the Jayhawks third in the Big 12 and 45th in the NCAA.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas, receiving votes in the latest United Soccer Coaches’ poll, is coming off a 2-1 overtime win over TCU on Friday night. The Jayhawks are 5-2-0 in their last seven outings, with the two losses coming to a pair of teams that, at the time, were ranked inside the top-15 of the national polls. KU is 8-1-0 at home this season with a pair of those wins coming against top-25 ranked teams.
The Jayhawk offense has enjoyed a solid to 2018 thus far, averaging over 15 shots in its first 14 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 12 of the Jayhawks’ 22 goals, netting seven and five, respectively.
The KU defense has allowed just one goal in its last 295 minutes of action and has posted seven shutouts on the year. KU’s 0.74 goals-against average ranks 45th in the NCAA and third in the Big 12. KU is holding opponents to 7.6 shots per match and less than three shots on goal per match. Freshman Sarah Peters was the starting keeper in all 14 contests, keeping a clean sheet in seven of those appearances and has collected 28 saves for a .718 save percentage.
LAST TIME OUT
Eva Eliasdottir’s golden goal in the second minute of overtime not only handed the Jayhawks their third-straight victory, also gave head coach Mark Francis his 250th-collegiate win as Kansas downed the TCU Horned Frogs, 2-1, Friday night at Rock Chalk Park. It marked KU’s third overtime win of the season and moved the Jayhawks to 8-1-0 on their home pitch.
The win also gave Francis his 250th in 23 seasons as a collegiate head coach. Francis’ overall record now stands at 250-184-34 and he is 217-159-33 in 20 years as Kansas’ head man.
Grace Hagan’s goal in the 31st minute put the Jayhawks up early on the scoreboard, 1-0. A loose ball on the TCU end line was gobbled up by the senior forward before she slotted inside the near post to put her team ahead first. The Jayhawk lead was short-lived though as TCU tied up the match less than seven minutes later. Freshman Maddy Warren sent in her sixth goal of the year with a strike from 30 yards out to pull her team level before halftime.
After a hard-fought 45 minutes in the second half, the two teams headed to overtime, still tied at 1-1. For the Jayhawks, their fifth extra time match of the season would end on a high night as Eliasdottir’s golden goal handed KU the win less than two minutes into the first overtime period.
ABOUT THE RED RAIDERS
Located in Lubbock, Texas with an enrollment of 37,010, Texas Tech enters Sunday’s match with a 11-3-1 record and is 3-2-1 in the Big 12 after a 2-0 win at Kansas State Friday night. The Red Raiders are the league’s top defensive team statistically, having amassed a goals-against average of 0.46, a number that ranks 11th in the NCAA.
The TTU offense has been potent this season, scoring multiple goals in eight of its games, which includes three outings with three or more goals. Texas Tech is posting 16.6 shots per game and is scoring on over 10 percent of those attempts. The Red Raiders have also managed to put 45 percent of those 16.6 shots per game on target. Jade King leads the team with seven goals while Kirsten Davis has a team-leading five assists. King and Davis have combined for 84 of their team’s 249 shots.
The Texas Tech defense has conceded only seven goals this season and has logged 10 shutouts in its 15 outings. Red Raider opponents are averaging 6.1 shots per match and are putting 44 percent of those attempts on frame. Marissa Zucchetto has played every minute of her team’s season in between the posts and has amassed a goals-against average of 0.46, a save percentage of .829 and has tallied 34 saves.
Tom Stone is in his 12th season as the head coach of the Texas Tech women’s soccer program. In his 12-plus seasons with the Red Raiders, Stone has amassed a 137-77-27 record.
SO LONG, SENIORS!
Sunday’s match will mark the final regular-season home game for Jayhawk seniors Lauren Breshears, Grace Hagan, Miriam Melugin, and Kaycie Young, as well as redshirt juniors Taylor Christie and Anna Courtney. These six have been a part of 39 KU victories since 2015 and have helped their team to a top-three finish in the Big 12 and an NCAA Tournament berth. Combined, these six accumulated 121 starts and have played over 15,525 minutes during their careers. This class has also combined for 32 goals, 21 assists and 314 shots. The Jayhawks’ record on Senior Day matches is 14-7-1 and KU is unbeaten in five of its last six regular-season home finales.
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.
MESSIN’ WITH TEXAS
With four of their final five regular-season matches against schools from the state of Texas, the Jayhawks will look to continue their recent trend against foes out of the Lone Star State in recent years. KU has been a pest to Texas schools over the last four seasons. In its 26 games against Texas squads from 2014-17, KU has amassed a record of 15-8-3, a goal differential of +9 and a goals-against average of 0.89.
TURNING THINGS AROUND
Still with fourr 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.
HOME SWEET HOME
Rock Chalk Park has been a welcome site for the Jayhawks this season, with Kansas going 8-1-0 in its first nine outings on its home pitch. Including this year, the Jayhawks are 30-13-2 in matches played at home during the regular season since the start of the 2014 campaign. From 2013-14, Kansas also enjoyed an 11-match home winning streak, the longest in program history.
Since moving into Rock Chalk Park, Kansas has built a goal differential of +26 and boasts a goals-against average of 0.89, a number that includes 16 shutouts.
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 10-2-2 after their first 14 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 bulk of Big 12 Conference play still to come. The conference currently features five teams that are ranked or receiving votes in the Coaches’ poll and that includes No. 14 Baylor, No. 18 West Virginia and No. 20 Texas. The Big 12’s winning percentage, 62.7 percent, after the first eight weeks of the season ranks third 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’ 22 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 14 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 0.74 this year, which encompasses seven shutouts in those 14 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. 24 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 fourth-straight week the Jayhawks found themselves in the top-25 after being slotted at No. 25 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 five regular-season contests will be against teams currently ranked inside the top-50 of the RPI.
FIRST TO SCORE, WINS GALORE
Dating back to the beginning of the 2012 season, now at 137 games, Kansas has developed an interesting trend when it comes to which team tallies the first goal of the match. During that 137-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 63-2-8 in those games (91.8 winning %), which included a 6-1-2 mark last year and a 7-0-1 mark in 2018. The Jayhawks’ loss at BYU on Sept. 18 of 2017 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 Oklahoma on Sept. 21 marked just the eighth victory for the Jayhawks in that same 137-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 23 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 will journey to the Lone Star State for a pair of matches against top-25 ranked teams. KU will meet the No. 20 Texas Longhorns in Austin on Oct. 19 for a 7 p.m. match before journeying to Waco 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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