|GM 18: #25 Kansas vs. Iowa State
||Friday, October 28
||7 p.m. Central
||Rock Chalk Park
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Notes Game Notes
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 25th-ranked Kansas soccer team will look to clinch its highest conference finish in over a decade and bid a fond farewell to seven seniors as the Jayhawks welcome Iowa State to Lawrence on Friday, Oct. 28. A Kansas victory would secure a second-place finish in the final league standings as well as the program’s fifth 10-win season in the last six years. Kickoff from Rock Chalk Park is set for 7 p.m., and can be webcast at KUAthletics.com.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
The Jayhawks (9-4-4, 4-1-2 Big 12) enter Friday’s match having lost just one match over the last month, a 1-0 loss to currently top-ranked West Virginia on Oct. 7. KU has already clinched a No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Championship to be held in Kansas City next week and for the first time this season, was ranked among the top-25 in the NSCAA Coaches’ poll released earlier this week.
The Jayhawk offense has been solid this season, especially in Big 12 play. In its seven league contests, KU averaged 1.6 goals per game, four of which the Jayhawks netted multiple goals. The Kansas team has been an unselfish one, featuring nine different Jayhawks with double-digit shots, while 11 players boast a goal or an assist. Sophomore Grace Hagan leads the team with her seven goals. Hagan, along with freshman Katie McClure, have combined for nearly a third of the team’s shots, with 86 between the two Wichita natives.
The KU defense has allowed 16 goals in 2016, the third-fewest in the conference this season. The Jayhawks have held their opponents to an average of just 11.9 shots per game but KU foes have managed to put only 35 percent of those tries on frame. The KU defense has allowed one opponent goal or fewer in 18 of its last 21outings dating back to last season.
ABOUT THE CYCLONES
Iowa State (10-6-1, 3-3-1 Big 12) enters its final match of the regular season in the midst of one of its best seasons in recent memory. Already with 10 victories, the Cyclones clinched their first trip to the Big 12 Tournament since 2013 with their win at No. 24 Baylor last weekend. ISU started the year 7-2-0, but is 3-4-1 in its last eight outings.
The Cyclone offense has been up and down this season, scoring 13 goals in its first nine outings, but managing only four goals over its last nine matches, which included a scoring drought of over 400 minutes. ISU has scored 12 of its 17 goals in the second half or overtime and is averaging over 13.5 shots per match. Sophomore forward Klasey Midelberg leads her team with four goals and is one of 10 Cyclones to have tallied at least one goal in 2016.
The ISU defense has been stout this season, boasting a Big 12-leading 10 shutouts and allowing only one opponent goal in its last four outings. On the season, Cyclone opponents are averaging over 14 shots per match and are putting over 40 percent of those attempts on frame. Junior goalkeeper Lindsey Hendon has started in goal in 16 of ISU’s 17 matches. Hendon has turned in a goals-against average of 0.81, a save percentage of .848 and has tallied 10 shutouts.
Tony Minatta is in his third season as the head coach of the ISU women’s soccer program, amassing a record of 23-29-1.
LAST TIME OUT
Deadlocked at 1-1 with 10 minutes left in regulation, Kansas struck twice within two minutes and went on to secure a 3-1 victory over the 24th-ranked Baylor Bears last Sunday afternoon in Waco. Senior Ashley Pankey sent in the eventual game-winner in the 80th minute before senior Jackie Georgoulis sealed the win with her goal just 100 seconds later.
With the match appearing to be destined for overtime and the Jayhawks’ third extra time contest in a row, senior Ashley Pankey scored a stellar goal to break the tie with just over 10 minutes left in regulation. The Middletown, New Jersey product took a pass from teammate Morgan Williams to the top left corner of the Baylor penalty area. From there, Pankey slammed a shot home that snuck inside the far post to give her team its second lead of the match. The goal was the third of the season for Pankey, who scored in her second-straight outing.
The Jayhawks had barley finished celebrating Pankey’s strike before they found the back of the net once again. Just over 100 seconds after reclaiming the lead, Georgoulis sealed the KU victory with a long shot from the left wing. The senior midfielder bent in a cross that appeared to be intended for freshman Katie McClure. The pass narrowly missed a leaping McClure, but the freshman did her job, forcing the Bear keeper to the near post. Georgoulis’ service continued on and found the inside of the far post, giving the senior her second goal of the season and ending any chances of a Baylor comeback.
SO LONG, SENIORS
Friday’s match will mark the final regular-season home game for Jayhawk seniors Tayler Estrada, Aurélie Gagnet, Jackie Georgoulis, Hanna Kallmaier, Ashley Pankey, Kaley Smith and Morgan Williams. These seven have been a part of 51 KU victories since Kallmaier and Smith’s freshman seasons in 2012 and have helped their team to a pair of top-three finishes in the Big 12 as well as its fifth-straight Big 12 tournament berth. Combined, these three accumulated 335 starts and have played over 31,180 minutes in the Crimson and Blue. This senior class has also combined for 11 goals, 23 assists and 277 shots.
The Jayhawks’ record on Senior Day matches is 13-6-1 and KU is unbeaten in four-straight regular-season home finales.
BIG 12 TOURNAMENT SEEDING SCENARIOS
Kansas still has much to play for as several seeding positions in next week’s Big 12 Championship are still yet to be determined. With Kansas only holding a one-point edge over Oklahoma for second place, a Jayhawk win over ISU Friday would clinch KU a No. 2 seed at next week’s league tournament. Kansas could still earn the No. 2 seed despite a draw or loss Friday, but that would require an Oklahoma loss at Texas Tech. If the Jayhawks fall to ISU and the Sooners and Red Raiders draw, the squads would end the regular season in a two-way tie for second. The tie-breaking scenario to determine the seeding is as follows:
1. Head to head results between tied teams (KU and OU drew on Oct. 21 in Norman).
2. Goal differential from all eight Conference games using goals scored minus goals scored against. GS-GA=Goal Differential. (Kansas and OU are currently tied in conference goal differential, with both sitting at +4.)
3. Goals scored in the eight Conference games combined. (If three or more teams are tied, goal differential from all eight conference games will determine the seeding order.)
With the release of the season’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) report by the NCAA this week, several good signs stick out for the Jayhawks. Kansas checked in at No. 21 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 highest for the Jayhawks since Nov. 2, 2014, when Kansas sat at 19th in the RPI.
One area that may be helping Kansas in its climb up the national charts is its strength of schedule. The Jayhawks currently hold the nation’s 16th-toughest schedule, according to the RPI. Nine future or past KU opponents currently find themselves in the top-35 of this week’s index, while a total of 12 are sitting in the top-60. In this week’s NSCAA Coaches’ poll, nine Jayhawk opponents are ranked or receiving votes.
This week’s report also ranks the Big 12 as the nation’s toughest conferences. The league, which sits at No. 1 in the conference RPI standings, boasts all nine teams inside the top-70. The conference’s high ranking also means the Jayhawks will get plenty of chances to up their national standing with their final regular-season contest against No. 35 Iowa State as well as at least one more match versus a conference foe in the Big 12 Tournament.
Forward Grace Hagan has put together an impressive sophomore campaign. She leads the Jayhawks with seven goals, 17 points and 43 shots, figures that also rank the Wichita product among the top-eight in the Big 12 in their respective categories. It’s been evident that when Hagan goes, so go the Jayhawks. Kansas is 4-1-3 this season when Hagan scores or assists and is 4-1-2 when Hagan tallies three shots or more. KU opponents may have picked up on this trend as in the 10 instances when Hagan was held to two shots or fewer, the Jayhawks were winners in just five of those contests.
Hagan is on pace for one of the best sophomore seasons in program history. One more goal would make her one of the top-three scoring sophomores ever to don the Crimson and Blue. It was also mark the most goals scored by a Jayhawk sophomore since Emily Cressy shot in 12 during the 2009 campaign.
The Jayhawks have continued their trend of relatively strong performances in matches away from Rock Chalk Park. Kansas can hang its hat on an impressive record in road games over the past two-plus years. KU has played 28 regular-season matches away from home since the start of the 2014 season, amassing a record of 14-9-4, which includes a 5-2-3 slate this season.
MESSIN’ WITH TEXAS
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 8-1-0. KU’s loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock last season brought the longest “Lone Star State” winning streak in program history to an end at five.
Regardless of where they are playing, the Jayhawks have been pests to Texas schools over the last two-plus seasons. In its 19 games against Texas schools, KU has amassed a record of 14-4-1, a goal differential of +15 and a goals-against average of 0.67.
With any veteran laden team, there are bound to be some impressive career streaks established and the 2016 Jayhawks are no different. One streak that shows the continuity and consistency of this KU crew is the amount of consecutive games started. Nine Jayhawks boast active or career-long stretches of 25-straight matches started or longer. This includes junior Kayla Morrison, whose streak sits at 59-straight starts for Kansas.
Morrison’s mark is already among the longest in program history as it sits ninth on the all-time list among field players. If the Corona, California product is in the starting lineup in Kansas’ final regular-season games as well as the first match of the Big 12 Championship, she would move to sixth on that list with 61-straight starts.
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.
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 2016, either scoring or assisting. A total of 16 players have managed to tally five or more shots and, while sophomore Grace Hagan and freshman Katie McClure have notched nearly a third of the team’s total shots (86), seven of their teammates have added double-digit attempts to the team’s total of 266.
This is a trend is an improvement from last year’s squad which was also an unselfish bunch, as 11 different players managed to post double-figure shots and 10 Jayhawks tallied at least one goal or assist in 2015.
FEEDING ON NONCON
With the conclusion of the nonconference portion of their season, the Jayhawks have made it nine-straight years with a .500 winning percentage or better against regular-season nonconference foes. Since the start of the 2012 season, Kansas has posted an impressive 32-15-6 mark in its 53 regular-season nonconference matches (66%), which includes a 20-8-3 mark since 2014. In the last five seasons, KU has outscored noncon opponents by a tally of 91-50.
Mark Francis has led KU to a winning record in noncon in 17 of his 18 seasons in Lawrence and is now 111-47-10 in regular-season nonconference games.
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 0.88 following its first 17 matches, which includes four shutouts. The Jayhawks are also allowing just 11.9 opponent shots per match, which includes three games when KU opponents sent in seven or fewer attempts. Over their last 59 matches (dating back to the start of the 2014 season), the Jayhawks shutout 18 opponents and boasted a goals-against average of 0.95. Kansas has conceded 58 opponent goals in that span and has allowed one opponent goal or less in 18 of its last 21 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. KU has also conceded just two opponent goals in its last 344 minutes of play, good for a goals-against average of 0.52 during that span.
JUST ONE WILL DO IT
The Jayhawks have continued 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 67 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 51-8-8. 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, and an 8-1-4 record this year.
FIRST TO SCORE, WINS GALORE
Over its past 99 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 99-game span, the Jayhawks have been on the losing end only once in contests which they have put in the match’s first goal. Kansas has amassed a record of 48-1-5 in those games, which included an 8-0-1 mark last year and a 8-0-2 mark so far this season. The Jayhawks’ win at Baylor on Oct. 23 marked their 42nd-consecutive unbeaten match when they have scored first.
On the flip side, KU hasn’t been quite as fortunate when its opponents have gotten on the board first. Kansas’ win over Texas Tech on Sept. 23 marked just the third victory for the Jayhawks in that same 99-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. The Jayhawks are now 3-36-3 in those games over the last four seasons, which includes all four of the Jayhawks’ losses and two of their draws thus far in 2016.
With a win against Iowa State Friday evening, the Jayhawks will clinch themselves a No. 2 seed for the Big 12 Championship to be hosted in Kansas City’s Swope Soccer Village, Nov. 2-6. If Kansas claims the No. 2 seed, its first match of the tournament will be at 5:30 p.m., Nov. 2. If the Jayhawks draw or lose to the Cyclones, there is a chance they will be the No. 3 seed, meaning they will play at 8 p.m., on Nov. 2. Each game of the tournament will be available to watch via a free live stream through Big12Sports.com, with the championship match to be televised on Fox Sports1.
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