Jayhawks Welcome No. 24 Wake Forest to Lawrence Sunday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas soccer will attempt to move to 4-0 for the first time in five years as it plays host to the 24th-ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Sunday, Aug. 31 at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex. The match, which will feature head coach Mark Francis attempt for his 200th career win, will kickoff at 1 p.m. and will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and ESPN3.
Over the Airwaves
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 are out to their best start in five years with a 3-0 start after a victory over UT-San Antonio Friday night in Lawrence. The team’s +6 goal differential after the first three matches is the program’s best to start a season since 2003.
Junior Liana Salazar leads the squad with her three goals. The mark leads the Big 12, as does her seven points. Freshman Lois Heuchan has tallied two goals through her first three collegiate games, both of which were game-winners. Kansas’ eight goals are the most to start a season in 11 years. The Jayhawks averaged 13.7 shots over their first three games and managed to put 39 percent of those shots on frame. Kansas attacks through several players, eight Jayhawks have already managed to tally two or more shots on the year.
The KU defense was solid in its first three outings, allowing just two goals and limiting its opponents to just over 11 shots in three matches. Senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud posted a 0.5 goals against average in the first weekend with the help of eight saves and a .889 save percentage, while freshman Maddie Dobyns picked up her first victory in 90 minutes for the Jayhawks against UTSA on Friday.
About the Demon Deacons
Wake Forest kicked off its regular-season with a 1-0 win over Wright State on Monday, Aug. 25 before dropping a 2-1 game to James Madison Friday night. The Demon Deacons played seven freshmen in the season-opener and six rookies against James Madison, including four starters. Every national preseason poll ranks the Deacs in the to- 25, ranging from No. 10 to No. 22.
Wake Forest scored two goals in two games last week and posted 17 shots per contest. Caroline Wootten and Kendall Fischlein netted those goals while freshman Sarah Medina notched both of the assists. The Demon Deacons have put just over 38 percent of their shots on frame.
Wake Forest’s defense allowed one opponent goal on just nine shots in its first two games. They start freshman goalkeeper Lindsay Preston, who played nearly has played all of her team’s minutes in the opening week, making four saves and notching a shutout to start the year over Wright State. Preston has stopped .667 percent of the shots put on frame thus far this season and allowed two goals.
Tony da Luz is in his 18th season as the head man at Wake Forest. Under his guidance, Wake Forest has tallied a record of 218-122-33 and has made the NCAA Tournament each year. The Demon Deacons have never had a losing season under da Luz, winning 10+ games in 15 of his 17 seasons. He is 32 victories away from 250 at the helm in Winston Salem.
Kansas Claims third-straight with 2-1 win over UTSA
Kansas junior midfielder Liana Salazar and freshman attacker Lois Heuchan used a pair of long-range goals to lift the Jayhawks to their third-straight victory to open the season, a 2-1 win over Texas-San Antonio at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex Friday evening. Salazar put in a try from just outside the box on the left side to give Kansas its first goal in the 65th minute, then Heuchan used her left-footed shot from 25 yards out in the 74th minute to answer a Roadrunner goal just 40 seconds earlier and keep Kansas undefeated.
Salazar’s three-point outing (one goal and one assist) was the second of her career and marked the third-consecutive game with a goal. In addition to her goal, Heuchan led all players with a career-high four shots, two of which were on frame.
In her first career-start in goal for the Jayhawks redshirt freshman Maddie Dobyns picked up the victory and tallied a pair of saves. Kansas outshot the roadrunners 11-4 in the second half to post a game total of 15 shots.
Francis Going for Win No. 200
Head coach Mark Francis is just one win shy of 200 for his collegiate coaching career. He has amassed a record of 199-152-23 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.
Kansas Offense Spreading the Wealth
The Jayhawks saw five different players contribute six goals after two matches last weekend, marking the most KU players to enter the scoresheet after two games in over 14 years. Liana Salazar was the lone Jayhawk to score twice. More than just goal scoring, 13 of the 18 players who saw action tallied at least one shot over the course of the opening-weekend’s matches. Three different Jayhawks were also involved in the three assists that were awarded over the first two games.
Gagnet Helps France to Third-place finish at U20 World Cup
Kansas soccer’s sophomore defender Aurélie Gagnet concluded her stay at the U20 Women’s World Cup Aug. 24 after she helped her native France to a bronze medal after topping North Korea 3-2. Gagnet saw action in three of France’s seven matches during the tournament with two starts.
A native of Montpellier, France, Gagnet entered the match Sunday in the 70th minute with the game tied, 2-2. With her help on the French back line, North Korea was held scoreless for the remainder of the match, while France put in the eventual game-winner in the 79th minute.
On Wednesday, Aug. 20, the French fell to eventual champion Germany, 2-1, in the semifinals. Gagnet started the match and played all 90 minutes. With the game tied 1-1 in the 81st minute the Germans sent in a corner kick that was quickly directed toward the French goal, however, Gagnet was there in frame to deflect the ball away. Unfortunately, the loose ball went to the feet of another German forward and was sent to the back of the net for the late game-winner.
Gagnet has now tallied 11 starts for her youth National Team and has played over 1,000 minutes. The sophomore returned to Lawrence this week and will be available for the Jayhawks’ match on Aug. 29 against UT-San Antonio in Lawrence.
Jayhawks 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).
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.
The Jayhawks have again added a large number of talented freshmen to this year’s roster. Six newcomers have already suited up in the Crimson and Blue in the regular-season, most of whom are expected to contribute immediately. Kayla Morrison, Lois Heuchan and Eli Mayr started in both the Jayhawks’ season-opening victories over Wyoming and SMU and Katie Rostamo, Miriam Melugin and Hannah Lukinac also saw minutes in the first weekend of action. Jordan Nelmark rounds out the class, but missed the first two games due to injury.
Kansas to Return to Rock Chalk Park on Oct. 3
After evaluating field conditions over the week, Kansas officials announced that the soccer team will look to resume playing games at Rock Chalk Park no later than the Jayhawks’ Big 12 opener versus Oklahoma State on Oct. 3. Both of Kansas’ matches this coming weekend – Aug. 29 vs. UT-San Antonio and Aug. 31 vs. Wake Forest – will be held at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.
After playing on the new surface last Friday night against Wyoming, Kansas coaches and administrators deemed the field to be unsafe for play due to the uneven surface and several areas with little or no turf growth. The subsequent game on Sunday against SMU was then moved to KU’s former game field, the Jayhawk Soccer Complex, which is where the team will remain for the rest of its home non-conference schedule.
The poor field conditions at Rock Chalk Park were attributed to an absence of weather conditions that facilitate the best environment for Bermuda turf growth. When weighing the field installation options over a year ago with turf experts, it was determined the best option for the long-term wellness of the field would be to sprig, or plant, the Bermuda grass seedlings instead of sodding the field. This decision was made with the knowledge that young Bermuda grass would thrive during a normally hot Kansas summer.
However, the average high temperature in July and August this year was just over 87 degrees prior to last week, much cooler than the 91-degree average high for this area during those months. Despite numerous efforts to facilitate faster growth, the unusual weather patterns left the surface behind schedule and unfit for play at the start of the season.
Following an inspection of the field Tuesday with turf experts, officials believe that the early-October target date is the best option to expect to have the surface game-ready.
KU officials reiterated that if the playing surface at Rock Chalk Park is deemed ready for play in the weeks prior to the Oct. 3 match, the team could play matches there.
The Jayhawks will hit the road for the first time in 2014 when the head to the Rockies for a pair of games next weekend. KU will journey to Boulder to take on former conference foe, Colorado on Friday, Sept. 5. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. (CT) against the Buffaloes. Two days later the Jayhawks will take on the Denver Pioneers in a 1 p.m. (CT) start.
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