Junior Aurelie Gagnet will look to help the KU defense to its second-straight shutout Friday in Dallas.
|Stats at a Glance
|Shot on Goal %
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas Jayhawks will look to pick up their first winning result of the 2015 campaign as they head south to Dallas for a Friday evening date with the SMU Mustangs. Kickoff from Westcott Field is slated for 5 p.m. and can be heard live via the Jayhawk Radio Network at KUAthletics.com or on KLWN 1320 AM in Lawrence.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
The Jayhawks are coming off a winless opening weekend which saw them fall to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 3-0, and draw with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 0-0. The Jayhawks will try to win their fourth-straight match in the state of Texas dating back to last season, which would be the longest streak in program history.
Kansas has yet to score in a match this year but the offense has been anything but quiet. The Jayhawks have outshot both their opponents and are averaging 13 per match. KU has also but over 53 percent of those shots on target, forcing 14 opponent saves in just two matches. Senior midfielder Liana Salazar is KU’s top returning leading scorer for the Jayhawks in scoring last year with 13 goals, four assists and 30 points. 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 allowed three goals over its first weekend of action, all against Nebraska before posting a shutout of Minnesota two days later. KU’s opponents have notched 8.5 shots per game with nine of those on goal. Sophomore Maddie Dobyns has started both matches in goal for the Jayhawks and picked up her first-career shutout in the 0-0 draw with the Golden Gophers. Dobyns is boasting a save percentage of .667 and has a career goals-against average of 1.42.
ABOUT THE MUSTANGS
Like the Jayhawks, the SMU Mustangs enter Friday’s match without a win after the first two matches of the year, going 0-1-1 in their first weekend of 2015. The Jayhawks and Mustangs met a year ago in Lawrence, with KU coming out on top with a 3-0 win.
The SMU offense was silent in its season-opening shutout loss to the St. Louis Billikens, but rebounded against Missouri, pulling out a 1-1 draw against the Tigers. The SMU offense averaged 11 shots per game in its opening weekend but put just 45 percent of those shots on target. Sophomore midfielder Claire Oates was the lone goal scorer for the Mustangs last weekend but many of her teammates tried to get into the action, with eight posting at least one shot in the first two matches. Freshman forward Hannah Fleet leads the team with eight shots after the opening weekend of play.
The SMU defense allowed an average of 20 opponent shots over its first two matches, which included 23 from the Missouri Tigers on Aug. 23. The Mustangs have already seen a pair of goalkeepers see action in their first two outings. Catie Brown was the opening-day starter but has not returned since allowing five goals in 67 minutes vs. St. Louis on Aug. 21. Shannon Moroney has been the keeper since, allowing just one goal in over 125 minutes of action. Moroney has made seven saves for a .875 save percentage and is boasting a 0.72 goals-against average.
Chris Petrucelli is in his fourth year as the head coach of the Mustang soccer program. He holds a career coaching record of 366-142-41, after spending 2006-11 as the head coach of the Texas Longhorns prior to his tenure at SMU.
FRANCIS GOING UP AGAINST ALMA MATER FRIDAY
Kansas head coach Mark Francis holds a special place for the team his Jayhawks will go up against Friday. The 20-year coaching veteran is a 1987 graduate of SMU and was a three-time All-American for the Mustangs’ men’s team. As a senior, he was named SMU’s Male Athlete of the Year, the Dallas All-Sports Association College Athlete of the Year and was selected to Soccer America’s All-College MVP Team. In addition, he was a two-time nominee for the Hermann Trophy, given to the nation’s most outstanding soccer player.
JAYHAWKS TRYING TO MESS 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 last season. 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. Last year though, the Jayhawks turned that trend on its head, going a perfect 3-0-0, the most wins ever by a KU squad in Texas. The Jayhawks will try to continue that trend this weekend when they go up against a pair of schools from the northern part of the state. A win against SMU on Friday would mark the longest “Texas” winning streak in program history.
Kansas will have only one more chance this season to pick up a win in Texas following its two matches this weekend. KU will take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock on Oct. 23. TTU has won two of the last three matches against the Jayhawks on its home turf.
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.
Jayhawks Picked Fourth in Big 12 Preseason Poll
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
One hundred and 10 minutes were not enough to settle a highly-competitive match between the No. 23 Kansas Jayhawks and the Minnesota Golden Gophers Aug. 23 in St. Paul, Minnesota. The two squads played to a 0-0 draw, the first tie Kansas has settled for in 29 outings and the first in a non-conference match in 36 games.
Kansas thought it had won it in the ninth minute of overtime when midfielder Tayler Estrada gained possession in the UM box off a corner kick and found the back of the net. However, the referee ruled that the junior captain had nicked the ball with her hand and called off the apparent game-winner.
The second overtime also yielded no goals from either squad, resulting in the Jayhawks’ first draw in 29 matches.
SALAZAR ALREADY MAKING HEADLINES
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 TopDrawerSoccer.com “Best XI” First Team.
Salazar, who hails from Bogotá, Colombia, entered 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.
FIRST TO SCORE, WINS GALORE
Over its past 62 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 62-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.
RECORD BOOK WATCH
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.
JUST ONE WILL DO IT
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 it has scored, including 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.
TURNING THINGS AROUND
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.
LET’S GET DEFENSIVE
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.
The Jayhawks will remain in the “MetroPlex” but will trek north for a matchup with the Mean Green of North Texas in Denton. UNT, which is currently receiving votes in the NSCAA Coaches’ poll, will welcome in Kansas for the 1 p.m., bout on Sunday, Aug. 30 inside the Mean Green Soccer Complex.
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