|GM 19: #25 Kansas vs. TCU
||Wednesday, November 2
||5:30 p.m. Central
||Kansas City, Mo.
||Swope Soccer Village
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Notes Game Notes
Watch Big 12 Digital
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 25th-ranked Kansas soccer team is set to take part in the Big 12 Soccer Championship beginning Wednesday, Nov. 2 in Kansas City, Missouri. Coming off their highest conference finish in over a decade, the second-seeded Jayhawks will meet the seventh-seeded TCU Horned Frogs in the quarterfinal match set for 5:30 p.m., at Swope Soccer Village. The match can be seen via live web stream on the Big 12 Digital Network.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
The Jayhawks (10-4-4, 5-1-2 Big 12) enter Friday’s match having lost just one match over the last five weeks, a 1-0 loss to currently top-ranked West Virginia on Oct. 7. In last season’s Big 12 Championship, Kansas advanced to the tournament final for the first time in program history. The Jayhawks will look to match that feat as they try to up their national standing for the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
The Jayhawk offense has been solid this season, especially in Big 12 play. In its eight league contests, KU averaged 1.5 goals per game, four of which the Jayhawks netted multiple goals. The Kansas team has been an unselfish one, featuring 10 different Jayhawks with double-digit shots, while 13 players boast a goal or an assist. Sophomore Grace Hagan, an All-Big 12 First Team selection, leads the team with seven goals. Hagan, along with freshman Katie McClure, have combined for nearly a third of the team’s shots, with 91 between the two Wichita natives.
The KU defense has allowed only 16 goals in 2016, the third-fewest in the conference this season. The Jayhawks have held their opponents to an average of just 11.8 shots per game but KU foes have managed to put less than 36 percent of those tries on frame. The KU defense has allowed one opponent goal or fewer in 19 of its last 22 outings dating back to last season. Junior goalkeeper Maddie Dobyns boasts a goals-against average of 0.79 in her 18 starts, the third-lowest mark among Big 12 keepers.
ABOUT THE HORNED FROGS
TCU enters postseason play having turned in a 10-5-2 record in the regular season and 2-5-1 slate in conference play. TCU suffered just one loss in its first 10 outings, but closed out the year going 2-4-1 in its final seven matches. TCU topped the Texas Longhorns in its final match of the regular season, 3-2, to clinch the No. 7 seed in this week’s Big 12 Championship.
The Horned Frog offense has been potent this season, scoring multiple goals in six of its games. TCU is posting 14.8 shots per game and is scoring on over 12 percent of those attempts. TCU has also managed to put over 42 percent of those 14.8 shots per game on target. Allison Ganter and Faith Carter lead the team with six goals apiece, while junior forward Emma Heckendorn is tops on the squad, and the Big 12, with her nine assists.
The TCU defense has conceded just five goals over its first 10 outings, but allowed 10 in its final seven matches of the regular season. Horned Frog opponents are averaging 12.6 shots per match and are putting under 39 percent of those attempts on frame. TCU freshman goal keeper Katie Lund has played in all 17 matches. Lund has amassed a goals-against average of 1.12, a save percentage of .787 and has tallied 48 saves and a pair of solo shutouts.
Eric Bell is in his fifth season as the head coach of the TCU women’s soccer program. In his first four-plus seasons with the Horned Frogs, Bell has amassed a 39-40-16 record.
LAST TIME OUT
On a night when the Jayhawks were celebrating their senior class, it was a freshman that made the play of the match as Katie McClure scored with less than five minutes left in regulation to lift No. 25 Kansas past the Iowa State Cyclones, 1-0, last Friday at Rock Chalk Park. The win secured Kansas a second-place finish in the final Big 12 standings, the squads’ highest since 2004.
The stalemate finally broke with less than five minutes left in regulation when McClure got a pass from fellow freshman Eva Eliasdottir on the far side of the box. The Wichita product struggled a bit to get it past the Iowa State defender as they closed in on her. After some determination and footwork, McClure got it free, took the shot and sent it home for her fifth of the 2016 season.
The KU defense held firm over the remaining minutes and secured the Jayhawks’ 10th win of the season. McClure and junior Lois Heuchan posted a game-high four shots on the night but were joined by seven teammates who also managed multiple shots. KU ended the match with a season high 28 shots.
In the 20 years of the Big 12 Championship, Kansas has amassed a record of 5-12-3 in its 15 appearances. This season marks the first year Kansas will be a No. 2 seed. The Jayhawks have been a No. 3 seed or higher four times before, most recently in 2014, when the Jayhawks were a No. 3 seed. Kansas is 4-9-2 all-time in Big 12 quarterfinal games.
In four of the Jayhawks’ last nine league championship appearances, they have played to a draw and gone to penalty kicks.
However, they have failed to advance in all but one of those matches, with the lone win coming against Texas Tech in 2009. Kansas is in good company being the No. 2 seed. The second-seeded team has advanced past the quarterfinals in eight of the last 10 Big 12 Tournaments and has gone all the way to the tournament final in five of those years.
The Kansas soccer team saw its most representatives on the postseason all-conference teams in a decade when the Big 12 announced the awards Monday. Six Jayhawks were honored with sophomore forward Grace Hagan heading up the group with her first team selection. KU boasted a trio on the second team as well as a pair on the All-Freshman squad.
Hagan claimed All-Big 12 First Team honors for the first time in her young KU career, marking the sixth-consecutive season Kansas had at least one Jayhawk on the first team. Senior midfielders Tayler Estrada and Hanna Kallmaier as well as junior defender Kayla Morrison, earned spots on the second team, all for the first time. Jayhawk freshmen Katie McClure and Addisyn Merrick rounded out the KU honorees with their selection on the All-Freshman squad. McClure was a unanimous choice by the league’s coaches.
The announcement means Kansas has had at least one Jayhawk on the All-Big 12 teams each year since the current format began in 2000. The six Jayhawks selected also marked the fifth-straight season three or more KU representatives were selected to the all-conference squads. Selections for the All-Big 12 teams were voted on by the league’s coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own players.
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. 20 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 12th-toughest schedule, according to the RPI. Nine of KU’s past opponents currently find themselves in the top-40 of this week’s index, while a total of 12 are sitting in the top-50.
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-75. The conference’s high ranking also means the Jayhawks will get plenty of chances to up their national standing with 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 and 17 points and has also tallied 44 shots, figures that rank the Wichita product among the top-nine 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 six 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.
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. The Jayhawks will hope to continue that trend in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals when they meet TCU.
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 60-straight starts for Kansas.
Morrison’s mark is already among the longest in program history as it sits eighth on the all-time list among field players. If the Corona, California product is in the starting lineup in Kansas’ 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. Twelve 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 (91), eight of their teammates have added double-digit attempts to the team’s total of 294.
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.
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 boasted a goals-against average of 0.84 during the regular season, which includes five shutouts. The Jayhawks are also allowing just 11.8 opponent shots per match, which includes seven games when KU opponents sent in 10 or fewer attempts. Over their last 60 matches (dating back to the start of the 2014 season), the Jayhawks shutout 19 opponents and boasted a goals-against average of 0.94. Kansas has conceded 58 opponent goals in that span and has allowed one opponent goal or less in 19 of its last 22 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 265 minutes of play, good for a goals-against average of 0.68 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 68 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 52-8-8. 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 a 9-1-4 record this year.
FIRST TO SCORE, WINS GALORE
Over its past 100 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 100-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 49-1-5 in those games, which included an 8-0-1 mark last year and a 9-0-2 mark so far this season. The Jayhawks’ win over Iowa State on Oct. 28 marked their 44th-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 100-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.
If the Jayhawks win their quarterfinal matchup, they will take on the winner of the Baylor-Oklahoma State game on Friday, Nov. 4 in the semifinal slated for 7 p.m. The match be streamed at Big12Sports.com.
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