No. 23 Kansas Ready for Showdown with Minnesota

Freshman Grace Hagan and the KU offense will look to rebound after being shutout against Nebraska Friday night.

Game 2: Kansas at Minnesota
Time 2 p.m.
Location Minneapolis, Minn.
Stadium Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium
Series Minnesota leads, 1-0-0
Radio Jayhawk Radio Network
Live Stats GameTracker
NOTES Kansas
Stats at a Glance KU Minn
Record 0-1-0 1-0-0
Goals/GM 0.00 3.00
Shots/GM 13.0 23.0
Shot % .000 .130
Shot on Goal % .462 .696
Goals Allowed/GM 3.00 0.00
Saves/GM 3.0 1.0
Save % .500 1.000
Fouls/GM 9.0 6.0
Yellows/Reds 1/0 0/0

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Kansas soccer team will look to pick up its first victory of the season when it goes up against the Minnesota Golden Gophers Sunday in Minneapolis. The match is the first between the two squads since 1995. Kickoff from UM’s Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium is set for 2 p.m.
The Kansas Jayhawks are coming off a season opening defeat at the hands of former Big 12 foe, Nebraska, 3-0 Friday night in Lincoln. KU returns 15 letterwinners and seven starters from the 2014 squad which went 15-6-0, finished third in the Big 12 and appeared in the program’s sixth NCAA Tournament last season. Mark Francis is entering his 17th season at the helm in Lawrence and holds a 178-134-22 record with the Jayhawks after picking up his 200th career coaching victory last season.
Senior midfielder Liana Salazar returns after leading the Jayhawks in scoring last year with 13 goals, four assists and 30 points. The Bogotá, Colombia native is one of 28 players to be named to the preseason watch list for the MAC Hermann Trophy, collegiate soccer’s most prestigious award. Striker Ashley Williams was the Jayhawks’ second-leading scorer in 2014 with seven goals and also returns for her final season at KU. As an offense, Kansas returns 11 of the 14 players who contributed at least one goal or an assist in 2014.
The KU defense was one of the best in the nation last season, allowing just 17 goals and boasting a 0.80 goals-against average, the third-lowest in program history. The Jayhawks will look to fill the void left by outgoing senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud, who had 64 starts in goal, a career goals-against average of 1.21 and 281 career saves. Kansas will carry three keepers on the 2015 rosters and all seem fit to fill Stroud’s shoes; sophomore Maddie Dobyns, who has two starts in goal for KU, redshirt freshman Lauren Breshears and true freshman Regan Gibbs.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers enter the match Sunday two days removed from a 3-0 victory over North Dakota State Friday night in Minneapolis. UM enters 2015 coming off a 2014 campaign in which they amassed an 11-9-1 record and tied for fifth in the Big Ten Conference. Minnesota returns eight starters and 18 total letterwinners from last year’s squad including junior midfielder Simone Kolander, who posted a school record nine assists as a sophomore last season.
Last season, the Gophers scored 33 goals which included 15 in their 13 matches against Big Ten foes. UM notched just over 13 shots per game and put 38 percent of those on frame. Kolander returns after she led the squad with 18 points on the year, which included eight assists. Junior Josee Stiever, who was the top goal scorer for Minnesota with six goals, is also back in the maroon and gold.
The UM defense allowed 233 opponent goals in 2014, and notched eight shutouts. The Gophers held opponents to one goal in seven additional outings but saw their opponents tally three or more goals in four matches. Their opponents posted just over 13 shots per match, including 5.8 shots on goal per game. Junior Tara Hobbs was the starting keeper for all but one match for UM in 2014. She amassed 87 saves, a goals-against average of 1.02 and a save percentage of .813.
Stefanie Golan is starting her fourth season as the head coach at Minnesota. Golan has guided the Gophers to a 34-24-5 record during her time in
Minneapolis. During her time at the helm UM has posted double-digit wins in each season, finished in the top-five of the Big Ten twice and made one NCAA Tournament appearance.
Kansas returns seven players from last year’s team that started at least 15 games, which finished the season at 15-6-0. Included in the nine returning starters are three of the team’s top-four scorers from a year ago.
Seniors Liana Salazar (13 goals, four assists) and Ashley Williams (seven goals, three assists) lead the way, while sophomore Lois Heuchan (three goals) is also back. Kansas also returns an experienced midfield and back line with the return of juniors Tayler Estrada, Hanna Kallmaier, Jackie Georgoulis, Kaley Smith, Morgan Williams and sophomore Kayla Morrison.
Kansas soccer was predicted to finish fourth in the 2015 league standings according to the Big 12 preseason coaches’ poll which was released Aug. 12. The ranking marks the fourth time in the 16-year history of the preseason vote that KU has been picked to finish among the top-four teams in the conference.
Three-time defending league champion West Virginia was the coaches’ choice to win the conference, receiving eight seven-place votes and 63 points overall. The Mountaineers were followed by Texas Tech (55), Oklahoma State (46), Kansas (45), Oklahoma (38), Texas (28), TCU (22), Baylor (18) and Iowa State (9).
Last time out
A pair of Nebraska goals in the opening 14 minutes proved to be too much for No. 23 Kansas as the Jayhawks could not dig themselves out of the early hole and fell to the Cornhuskers in the 2015 regular-season opener, 3-0, Friday night inside Barbara Hibner Stadium.
It wasn’t the start the Jayhawks were hoping for as the Cornhuskers struck twice within the opening 14 minutes of the match. Nebraska’s first goal was nothing-less than spectacular after senior forward Katie Kraeutner sent in a bullet strike 25 yards from the Jayhawk frame in the ninth minute. The shot found the inside of the far left post. A ball that the KU keeper, Maddie Dobyns, had little hope of saving. The Cornhuskers didn’t let off the gas, getting their second goal of the night just four minutes later. Senior defender Jaylyn Odermann flicked in a header after a well-placed cross found her inside the KU six-yard box. The shot slammed off the crossbar and over the end line to put the home team up by a pair of goals less than 15 minutes into the match. Kansas, which allowed multiple goals just three times all of last season, had to quickly switch into the unfamiliar come-from-behind mode early.
The second half largely belonged to the Jayhawks, who outshot the Cornhuskers 8-1 in the final frame. But, with Nebraska content to stay conservative and put big numbers behind the ball, the Jayhawks were unable to find the back of the net. Near goals from the feet of freshman Parker Roberts and junior Tayler Estrada were turned into impressive saves by the NU keeper, Erika Johnson. At full time, Kansas had outshot the home team by a tally of 13-7, with six shots for each team going on target. But it was the three first half goals that proved to be the difference as the Jayhawks were forced to settle for the 3-0 season-opening defeat.
Seven newcomers saw action in Kansas’ two exhibition games last week, three of which started at least one of those matches. KU has eight true freshmen incoming this season, including All-American and U20 US National Team veteran, midfielder Parker Roberts. Other freshmen looking to make big impressions in their first outings in the Crimson and Blue are goalkeeper Regan Gibbs, forward Bailey Bravard, midfielders Anna Courtney, Taylor Chaffetz and Grace Hagan and defenders Lindsay Sammis and Taylor Christie.
Senior midfielder Liana Salazar is already getting national recognition as a player who is expected to have a big year in 2015. She was one of 28 women in Division I NCAA soccer to be selected to the Watch List for the Missouri Athletic Club’s (MAC) Hermann Trophy, considered the most prestigious award in collegiate soccer and was also named to the “Best XI” First Team.
Salazar, who hails from Bogotá, Colombia, will enter this season coming off a stellar junior campaign in 2014. An honoree on the NSCAA All-American Third Team, Salazar scored a team-high 13 goals and added four assists to combine for 30 total points on the year, the second-most in the Big 12 Conference. She was picked unanimously by the league’s coaches to the All-Big 12 First Team and was also added to the NSCAA’s All-Central Region First Team. Salazar added four game-winning goals on the year and helped the Jayhawks to their best record in a decade, finishing 15-6-0 and helping Kansas make the program’s sixth NCAA Tournament appearance.
Salazar is just five goals shy from moving to No. 2 on Kansas’ all-time goal scorers list with 21. She also is ranked among the top-10 Jayhawks all-time in points, game-winning goals, shots and shots on goal.
With the 2015 regular season looming, it’s never too early to glance at the Kansas soccer record book to see where current Jayhawks stand. Senior midfielder Liana Salazar finds herself among the Jayhawk elite when comparing her career numbers. She currently sits seventh on the all-time goal-scoring chart with 21, but needs just five more to tie Caroline Kastor and Rachel Gilfillan for No. 2 on the list. Caroline Smith is the school’s all-time leading goal scorer with 51. Salazar is also ninth on the all-time points chart as she has amassed 50 points in 62 appearances for the Jayhawks. That mark is 28 points behind Whitney Berry, who is second on the list and 76 points behind the record-holder, Caroline Smith, who tallied an impressive 126 points during her days in Lawrence.
Senior Ashley Williams is also ripe to move up some impressive charts during her last season in the Crimson and Blue. Williams is ninth on KU’s goal-scoring list with 17 career goals and is at No. 5 with seven game-winning goals. If she can match or exceed her total of four from last season, that will put her at No. 2 on KU’s list. 
The 2015 Jayhawks will hopefully 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 40 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 32-5-3. Kansas was won or drawn all but five matches in which they have scored, which included a 15-2-0 record in those instances last season.
The one goal trend has obviously proven fruitful for Kansas last season as, until KU’s Oct. 19 loss to West Virginia, the Jayhawks held their opponents to one goal or less in each of their first 16 matches of the year. That 16-match streak was the second-longest in program history and is only topped by the 2003 and 2004 squads, which combined to hold 29-straight opponents to one goal or fewer from Oct. 19, 2003- Nov. 3, 2004.
The 2015 Jayhawks will look to bring the same mentality from the 2014 Jayhawk squad, which achieved one of the best turnarounds in program history. In 2013, Kansas won seven games and tied twice, while the 2014 team picked up eight more victories. This mark is the program’s best turnaround which formerly belonged to the 2003 squad that also won seven more games than the year prior.
Head coach Mark Francis is no stranger to monumental turnarounds. After a 2-17 season during first season at South Alabama, Francis 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.
Over its past 61 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 61-game span, the Jayhawks have been on the losing end only once in the games which they have put in the match’s first goal. Kansas has amassed a record of 32-1-2 in those games, which included a 15-0-0 mark last year.
On the flip side, KU hasn’t been quite as fortunate when its opponents have gotten on the board first. Kansas has not won a game in that same 61-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. The Jayhawks are 0-25-1 in those games over the last two years, including an 0-6-0 mark in 2015.
While the Jayhawk offense was as potent as the program has seen in some time last year, the defense was just as impressive. With eight shutouts on the year, Kansas boasted a goals-against average of 0.80, the lowest in the Big 12 and the 19th-best mark in the nation. The Jayhawks allowed just 17 goals on the year and no more than one opponent goal in all but three matches. KU went 298 minutes without conceding a goal from Sept. 5-19, the 11th-longest streak in school history, and also wrapped up a 360-minute long streak, which ranks fifth in school history.
Kansas opponents’ lack of goal scoring may be attributed to the Jayhawks’ ability to keep the opposing team’s shot percentage low. Of the 241 shots KU allowed last season, opponents put just over 41 percent of those on target and only got 17 percent of those shots on frame past goalkeeper, Kaitlyn Stroud, and into the back of the net.
Kansas will head back on the road next weekend, but this time head south to the Dallas area. On Aug. 28, the Jayhawks will meet the SMU Mustangs for a 5 p.m. kick off. Two days later, the North Texas Mean Green will welcome the Jayhawks to Denton. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.