Jayhawks to Welcome Wyoming for Opening Night at Rock Chalk Park

Game 1: Wyoming at Kansas
Time 7 p.m.
Location Lawrence, Kan.
Stadium Rock Chalk Park (2,500)
Series KU leads, 2-1-0
Television N/A
Radio Jayhawk Radio Network
Online: leanStream
Live Stats KU-WYO Stats
Notes Kansas
Big 12 Conference
2013 Stats at a Glance KU WYO
Record 7-11-2 7-11-4
Goals/GM 0.95 1.41
Goals Allowed/GM 1.25 1.59
Shots/GM 14.2 11.8
Shot % .067 .119
Shot on Goal % .375 .531
Saves/GM 5.6 3.3
Save % .816 .676
Fls/GM 10.0 8.5
RC-YC 14-1 14-0

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas soccer will play its inaugural match at the team’s new home field, Rock Chalk Park, when the Jayhawks play host to the Wyoming Cowgirls on Friday, Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. The Jayhawks, who return nine starters and welcome eight newcomers to this year’s squad, will kickoff the 19th season in program history and the 16th season under head coach Mark Francis.
Fans will be able to follow the Jayhawks in every match this year by listening to the free, live radio broadcast via leanStream on KUAthletics.com. To listen to Derek Johnson and Nick Dodson’s call, fans can go to the soccer schedule page at KUAthletics.com and click on the audio link next to the appropriate match.
About the Jayhawks
The Jayhawks return 16 letterwinners and nearly 70 percent of their scoring from the 2013 squad that finished 7-11-2 overall and 2-5-1 in conference play. Mark Francis enters his 16th season as the Jayhawks’ head coach and is just four wins shy of his 200th career coaching victory.
Junior midfielder Liana Salazar returns after a solid sophomore campaign that saw her earn All-Big 12 First Team honors. The Jayhawks will boast an experienced core as the team returns nine of its 11 starters from a year ago including seniors Jamie Fletcher and Caroline Van Slambrouck, junior Ashley Williams as well as sophomores Tayler Estrada and Aurélie Gagnet, who was tabbed to the Big 12’s All-Newcomer Team after her first season in Lawrence.
The Jayhawks will also have another large injection of new faces this season, with eight true freshmen set to make their debuts in the Crimson and Blue. The impressive class includes a pair of internationals in Scotland native Lois Heuchan as well as Germany’s Eli Mayr plus several others whom the coaches expect to contribute early and often to this year’s squad
About the Cowgirls
Wyoming enters 2014 after tallying a 7-11-4 record a year ago. The Cowgirls return 14 letterwinners and 8 starters from last year when they placed seventh in the Mountain West with a 4-4-2 record. Wyoming was picked to finish eighth in the league’s preseason poll.
The Cowgirls have already notched one exhibition win this season, a 5-1 win over Colorado School of the Mines on Aug. 16.  Freshman Alisha Bass led the squad with two goals in the game.
Wyoming averaged 1.41 goals per game last season and posted 11.8 shots per contest. Junior midfielder Mollee Ramsay is the team’s top returning scorer after posting three goals and nine points in 2013.
The Cowgirl defense held opponents to 1.59 goals per game last season and allowed 11.1 shots per match. Senior goalkeeper Alex Boehm started 20 of Wyoming’s 22 matches, posted a 1.43 goals against average and a .704 save percentage.
Pete Cuadrado is in his third year as the head coach of the Cowgirls’ soccer program. He enters the season with a career coaching record of 134-89-23, after spending 2003-11 as the head coach of North Dakota State prior to his tenure at Wyoming.
Welcome to Rock Chalk Park
For the first time in program history, the Kansas soccer program will play a home game in a new facility as the Jayhawks will play the inaugural match on its new pitch at Rock Chalk Park against Wyoming Friday. The facility, which was completed earlier this summer, will host the Kansas soccer, track & field and softball programs. The $39-million facility features a 2,500-seat soccer complex that will rival most of the facilities in the Big 12 and perhaps even the country.
KU soccer called the Jayhawk Soccer Complex home from the program’s inception in 1995 through the 2013 season. Friday’s contest will be the first home game for the Jayhawks played at night.
Jayhawk Picked sixth in Preseason Poll
Kansas soccer was predicted to finish sixth in the 2014 league standings according to the Big 12 preseason coaches’ poll which was released Aug. 13. The ranking marked the 10th time in the 15-year history of the preseason vote that KU has been picked to finish among the top-six teams in the conference.
Two-time defending league champion West Virginia was the unanimous choice to win the conference, receiving eight first-place votes and 64 points overall, followed by Texas Tech (56), Oklahoma State (49), Baylor (40), Texas (39), Kansas (25), TCU (21) and Iowa State (16) and Oklahoma (14).
For Starters
Kansas returns nine players from last year’s team that started at least 13 games, which finished the season at 7-11-2. Included in the nine returning starters are four of the team’s top five scorers from a year ago, including All-Big 12 First Team Selection, Liana Salazar.
Salazar and senior Jamie Fletcher are the top offensive returners, while sophomore forwards Courtney Dickerson (two goals, two assists) and Ashley Williams (two goals, one assist), are also ready to contribute to the KU attack. The Jayhawks also have senior defender Caroline Van Slambrouck and sophomore Tayler Estrada back tallied the majority of the team’s minutes on the back line.
KU also brings back 2013 Big 12 All-Newcomer honoree, sophomore Aurélie Gagnet, who started 13 of the 16 matches in which she was available.
Gagnet Playing in U20 World Cup
Sophomore Aurélie Gagnet started and played all 90 minutes of the French National Team’s 4-0 drubbing of New Zealand on Aug. 9 in the U20 Women’s World Cup. Gagnet helped her squad earn its second win in group play. Although she has not seen field time since, France moved through group play undefeated and advanced all the way through to semifinals and will play Germany on Wednesday, Aug. 20.
Gagnet, who earned her sixth-career start for her national team two weekends ago against New Zealand, played as the left-back defender and aided the squad to the shutout. One of her biggest contributions, other than her lockdown defense, occurred in the 83rd minute. Gagnet took the ball on a long run down the right side into the attacking third, where she then suffered a foul at the hands of a New Zealand defender. The foul earned France a free kick from 25 yards outside the penalty box, which it converted into its fourth and final goal of the match.
New Batch
The Jayhawks have again added a large number of talented freshmen to this year’s roster. Eight newcomers will suit up in the Crimson and Blue for the first time in a regular-season game, most of whom are expected to contribute immediately. Kayla Morrison, Lois Heuchan and Eli Mayr started in the Jayhawks’ 3-0 exhibition victory over South Dakota State on Aug. 15 and Katie Rostamo, Lauren Breshears, Miriam Melugin and Hannah Lukinac also tallied 30 or more minutes in the exhibition outing. Jordan Nelmark rounds out the class, but missed the exhibition due to injury.
Francis gaining on Win No. 200
Head coach Mark Francis is just four wins shy of 200 for his collegiate coaching career. He has amassed a record of 196-152-23 over his 18-year coaching career (three seasons at Southern Alabama, 15 seasons at Kansas). The veteran coach has averaged just under 11 wins per season during that span. He is currently second among the active Big 12 coaches in career victories behind West Virginia’s Nikki Izzo-Brown. The earliest Francis could claim win No. 200 would be against Wake Forest on Aug. 31 for the 1 p.m. game in Lawrence.
Up Next
KU will continue its opening weekend at Rock Chalk Park with a match against the SMU Mustangs. The Jayhawks and Mustangs will hit the pitch for a 1 p.m. kickoff on Sunday, Aug. 24. The game will mark the first of the season to be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel. Dave Stewart (play-by-play) and Doug McLagan (analyst) will have the call.
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