Freshman Parker Roberts is coming off a one goal, one assist outing against SMU Friday evening.
|Stats at a Glance
|Shot on Goal %
DENTON, Texas – Coming off its first win of the season, the Kansas Jayhawks will look to complete the weekend sweep when they go up against the Mean Green of North Texas Sunday afternoon. Kickoff from Denton is slated for 1 p.m. The Jayhawks (1-1-1) will meet North Texas (3-0-0) for the fourth time, but the first time since 2001.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas is coming off its first win of the young season, a 2-1 victory over the SMU Mustangs Friday evening in Dallas. Freshmen Grace Hagan and Parker Roberts were the Jayhawks’ goal scorers. Kansas will try to win an unprecedented fifth-straight match in the state of Texas, which dates back to last season. The streak is already the longest streak in program history.
The KU offense finally awoke in its win over SMU Friday, netting two goals and outshooting the opponent for the third straight match. The Jayhawks are averaging 13 shots per match and have also put over 51 percent of those shots on target. Roberts and Hagan, along with senior midfielder Liana Salazar have each already amassed seven shots apiece after three matches. Salazar is KU’s top returning leading scorer for the Jayhawks 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 has allowed just one goal in the last 252 minutes of action and that goal was a pentalty kick score by SMU Friday. In fact, the last goal the Jayhawks allowed in the run of play was in the 14th miunte in the season-opener against Nebraska, a full 270 minutes ago. KU’s opponents have notched 9.3 shots per game with a total of 14 on target. Sophomore Maddie Dobyns has started all three matches in goal for the Jayhawks. She is boasting a save percentage of .692 and has a goals-against average of 1.24 with nine saves in her first three outings of 2015.
ABOUT THE MEAN GREAN
The Mean Green are out to a great start to their 2015 season, winning each of their first three matches by a combined score of 5-1. UNT is coming off a 2-0 shutout win over Incarnate Word in Denton Friday evening.
The UNT offense has been active in its first three outings of the year, scoring five goals with 13 different players notching at least one shot. The Mean Green is averaging almost 15 shots per game and is putting nearly 48 percent of those shots on target. Junior forward Marchelle Davis has already netted a pair of goals and two of her teammates have also managed to get on the score sheet. Five Mean Green have managed to post at least five shots after three matches. UNT uses a lot of players in their attack with 17 different players seeing minutes in all three of their games thus far.
The Mean Green defense allowed an average of 9.3 opponent shots over its first three matches, which included just eight attempts from Incarnate Word on Aug. 28. Senior Jackie Kerestine has played all 270 minutes for her team in goal this season, allowing just one goal in that span. Kerestine has made10 saves for a .909 save percentage and is boasting a 0.33 goals-against average.
John Hedlund is in his 21st year as the head coach of the North Texas soccer program. Hedlund has had a winning season all 20 years at North Texas; only Anson Dorrance (North Carolina, 36 years) and John Daly (William & Mary, 28 years) have active streaks of more winning seasons at one school. Since 1995, Hedlund has led North Texas to a 280-111-25 record (70.3 percent), the ninth-best winning percentage among all active coaches nationally at just one school.
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
Freshmen Grace Hagan and Parker Roberts each shot in the first goals of their collegiate careers and helped the Jayhawks to their first victory of the season as Kansas outlasted the SMU Mustangs Friday evening at Westcott Field.
After going more than 200 minutes without a goal to start their 2015 campaign, the Jayhawks wasted little time to get the ball into the back of the net Friday night. With the match level at 0-0, Roberts sent in a low, strong pass across the face of SMU’s goal, headed for the feet of senior Ashley Williams. Williams bluffed a touch and let the ball roll to a wide open Hagan, who shot in the first goal of her young KU career and give her team its first lead of the year, 1-0, less than 12 minutes into the match.
In the 68th minute, Williams gained possession near midfield and found herself with ample space to operate downfield. The senior forward spotted Roberts making a run into the SMU box and played a near perfect pass to her freshman teammate. The Leawood, Kansas product beat her defender, made one touch and sent in her first-career goal as a Jayhawk to put her team up 2-0 with just over 20 minutes to play. The match was anything but over, however, as some late fireworks made a KU victory anything but certain.
With SMU sending numbers forward in the final 10 minutes, the Kansas defense was forced to deflect attack after attack from the Mustangs, but it backfired in the 83rd minute when sophomore Kayla Morrison was called for a hand ball inside the SMU box, resulting in a Mustang penalty kick. SMU’s Vanessa Valadez converted on the penalty try and cut the KU lead in half, 2-1, still with more than six minutes to play.
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 63 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 63-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 33-1-2 in those games, which already includes a 1-0-0 mark this 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 have already carried 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 41 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 33-5-3. 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 and a 1-0-0 record already this year.
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.
Kansas will now return to the friendly confines of Rock Chalk Park when the Jayhawks welcome Santa Clara to Lawrence on Friday, Sept. 4. The Jayhawks and Broncos will hit the pitch for a 5 p.m. kickoff, which will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and ESPN3.
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