Jayhawks Welcome Santa Clara for Home Opener Friday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After kicking off its season with four-consecutive matches away from home, the Kansas soccer team is set to return to the friendly confines of Rock Chalk Park this Friday, Sept. 4, to take on the Santa Clara Broncos. The Jayhawks and Broncos will hit the pitch for a 5 p.m., start. The match will be broadcast on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and ESPN3.
- Fan Appreciation Day
- $5 All General Admission Tickets
- Family Fun Zone
- Thunderstick Giveaway
- Postgame Autographs
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas is five days removed from completing an unblemished weekend which saw it beat SMU and North Texas, both by a score of 2-1, and moved the Jayhawks’ record to 2-1-1. Freshman Parker Roberts was the offensive spark that KU needed after she added a goal, an assist and seven shots in KU’s two victories, earning her Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors.
The KU offense finally awoke last weekend after being shutout in its first two matches of the year. The Jayhawks knocked in four goals and outshot their two Texas foes by a total of 35-21. Kansas is averaging over 15 shots per match and has also put over 45 percent of those shots on target. Kansas has seen a different goal scorer for each of its four goals, which includes Roberts, who leads the squad with 12 shots on the year. As an offense, Kansas returns 11 of the 14 players who contributed at least one goal or an assist in 2014.
The KU defense is already coming off an impressive streak as it went nearly 300 minutes of action without allowing a goal in the run of play. Though that streak came to an end in the 49th minute against North Texas the KU defense has still been stingy, as Jayhawk opponents have notched only 9.5 shots per game with a total of 21 on target for an average of 5.25 per match. Sophomore Maddie Dobyns has started all four matches in goal for the Jayhawks. She is boasting a save percentage of .762 and has a goals-against average of 1.18 with 14 saves in her first four outings of 2015. On Aug. 23, Dobyns tallied her first career shutout in the Jayhawks’ 0-0 draw at Minnesota.
ABOUT THE BRONCOS
Santa Clara has had an up and down start to its 2015 campaign, winning a pair and losing a pair in its first four matches. However, both of the Broncos defeats were one-goal losses, came on the road and were to teams who are currently ranked or receiving votes in the latest NSCAA Coaches’ poll.
The SCU offense has been efficient in its first four outings of the year, scoring in each match with 10 different players notching at least one shot. The Broncos are averaging almost less than eight shots per game but have gotten over 16 percent of those tries into the back of the net. Five different players have scored each of Santa Clara’s goals to start the year. Freshman forward Grace Cutler and junior midfielder Julie Vass are tied for the team lead with five shots apiece. SCU has mainly stuck to its starters during the first four outings of its season as only 13 players have seen action in all four matches.
The Bronco defense allowed an average of 15.2 opponent shots in its first four games, which included 29 attempts from Notre Dame on Aug. 28. Senior Andi Tostanoski has played all 360 minutes for her team in goal this season, allowing four goals in that span. Tostanoski has made 29 saves for a .879 save percentage and is boasting a 1.00 goals-against average.
Jerry Smith is in his 29th year as the head coach of the Santa Clara women’s soccer program. Smith has compiled a record of 426-134-52 (.739), which ranks in the top-five in NCAA Division I history. Under Smith, the Broncos reached the NCAA Tournament 19 consecutive times prior to 2008. Overall, the Broncos have been to 24 NCAA Tournaments. In addition, his Bronco teams have won 10 West Coast Conference titles.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Kansas-Santa Clara match Friday will mark the Jayhawks’ first home game of the 2015 regular season after KU played its first four matches on the road. Rock Chalk Park will be a welcome site as KU is coming off a successful 2014 campaign playing on its home turf. The Jayhawks were 10-2-0 in matches played at home during the regular season last year. From 2013-14, Kansas also enjoyed an 11-match home winning streak, the longest in program history.
History is also on the Jayhawks’ side in regards to success in their regular-season home openers. In Mark Francis’ first 16 years as the KU head coach, his teams are 11-4-1 in their first home games of the regular season, which includes just one loss in those matches since the 2008 season.
After the first four matches of the 2015 season, several Jayhawk freshmen have shown that they can make a difference for this team despite their lack of collegiate experience. Two KU freshmen, Parker Roberts and Grace Hagan, have started each match to begin the year, while two others, Anna Courtney and Bailey Bravard has come off the bench and seen minutes in all four of the Jayhawks’ outings.
KU’s offense has also, in large part, been sparked by the Jayhawk newbies. Hagan tallied the team’s first goal of the season on Aug. 28 against SMU, on an assist from fellow freshman, Roberts. Roberts then netted one herself later in that same match, which wound up being the game-winner. Against North Texas two days later, a freshman came through with the game-winning goal for the second-straight match after Courtney sent in her first-career goal in the 76th minute.
On the stat sheet, the KU newcomers have also made their mark. Nearly 40 percent of the Jayhawks’ total shots this season have come off the feet of freshmen, with 46 percent of KU’s shots-on-goal also belonging to first-year players.
Kansas’ youth movement is evident in looking at how the KU coaches have allocated the total minutes during the first two weekends of play. Seven Jayhawk underclassmen have seen field time this year and are averaging over 46 minutes per game.
ROBERTS CLAIMS BIG 12 FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK HONORS
Kansas freshman midfielder Parker Roberts was honored by the Big 12 Conference after she was named the Freshman Player of the Week, the league office announced Sept. 1. It is the first Big 12 weekly honor earned by a Jayhawk this season and the first of Roberts’ career.
Roberts, who hails from Leawood, Kansas, played a role in both goals in the Jayhawks’ 2-1 victory at SMU. She assisted on the first KU score before converting the eventual game-winner in the 68th minute. The freshman added a game-high five shots in the 2-1 Kansas victory at North Texas and now ranks second in the Big 12 with 12 shots, including a league-best eight shots on goal. The honor makes Roberts the first Jayhawk to be named as the Big 12’s Freshman of the Week since current senior Ashley Williams received the honor in her first season at Kansas, on Sept. 9, 2012.
LAST TIME OUT
Freshman Anna Courtney picked a good time to send in the first goal of her career, knocking in the eventual game-winner in the 76th minute as the Kansas Jayhawks defeated North Texas, 2-1, on Aug. 30. Sophomore Lois Heuchan assisted on both the Jayhawks’ goals as KU concluded its first perfect weekend of the season.
The Jayhawks broke through in the 35th minute when a long build up resulted in Salazar’s first goal of her senior season. The Bogotá, Colombia native redirected the cross to the right of UNT goalkeeper, Jackie Kerestine. Salazar’s look would not be denied as she found the back of the net to put her team on the board with more than 10 minutes to play in the opening half.
After UNT knotted up the score less than four minutes into the second half, the Jayhawks regained the lead with less than 15 minutes remaining. Kansas was on the attack when, for the second time in the match, Heuchan found a Jayhawk attacking in the box. The sophomore flicked a ball into the six-yard box, which landed right at the feet of her freshman teammate. Courtney quickly corralled the ball and sent in the short-range shot to tally the first goal of her young KU career. Thirteen minutes later Kansas sealed up its second win of the weekend, outlasting UNT by a final score of 2-1.
JAYHAWKS MESSIN’ 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 have continued that trend after a successful last weekend when they took down another pair of schools in SMU and North Texas. KU’s victories over the Mustangs and Mean Green marked the longest “Lone Star State” winning streak in program history.
Kansas will have one more chance this season to pick up a win in Texas following its two matches last 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 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).
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 64 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 64-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 34-1-2 in those games, which already includes a 2-0-0 mark this year. The Jayhawks’ win against North Texas on Aug. 30 marked their 24th-consectutive victory in games which KU has scored first.
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 64-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 2014 and an 0-1-0 mark this season.
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 22, but needs just four 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 sixth on the all-time points chart as she has amassed 52 points in 64 appearances for the Jayhawks. That mark is 26 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 42 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 34-5-3. 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 2-0-0 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 continue its weekend stay in Lawrence when it welcomes in Oregon State for a Sunday night battle at Rock Chalk Park. The Jayhawks and Beavers, who are meeting for the first time, will kick off at 7 p.m. The match will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and ESPN3.
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