Jayhawks Journey to Boulder for Date with Buffaloes Friday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas soccer will attempt to move to 5-0 for the fourth time in program history as the Jayhawks face former conference foe Colorado on Friday, Sept. 5 at Prentup Field in Boulder, Colorado. The match, set for 5:30 p.m. (CT), will be the 17th meeting between the former conference rivals.
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’s call, fans can go to visit the free online player located at KUAthletics.com/Radio.
About the Jayhawks
The Jayhawks are out to their best start in five years with a 4-0 record after a victory over No. 24 Wake Forest last Sunday afternoon in Lawrence. The team’s +9 goal differential after the first four matches is the program’s best to start a season.
Junior Liana Salazar leads the squad with her five goals. The mark leads the Big 12, as do her 11 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 since 2001. The Jayhawks averaged 13 shots over their first four games and managed to put over 40 percent of those shots on frame. Kansas attacks through several players, as nine Jayhawks have already managed to tally two or more shots on the year.
The KU defense has been solid in its first four outings, allowing just three goals and limiting its opponents to just over 11 shots. Senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud posted a 0.67 goals against average in three games between the posts with the help of 12 saves and a .857 save percentage, while freshman Maddie Dobyns picked up her first victory in 90 minutes for the Jayhawks against UTSA last Friday.
About the Buffaloes
Colorado began its season with three-straight wins, topping Colorado State, Northern Colorado and UNLV, all in shutout fashion. The Buffaloes will enter Friday’s match with the Jayhawks coming off a loss after dropping a 0-1 match to Kent State on Aug. 31. CU is 2-0 at home this season.
Colorado has scored six goals in its first four outings, including a 3-0 shutout of UNLV last week. The Buffaloes are notching 14.2 shots per game and managing to get over 45 percent of those on frame. Senior midfielder Carly Bolyard leads the squad with two goals and four points this season, while fellow midfielder Darcy Jerman is tops on the team with 10 shots and six on goal.
The Buffalo defense has allowed one opponent goal and just 6.5 shots over its first four games. They star junior goalkeeper Kate Scheele, who has played each of the team’s minutes in goal this year, making 12 saves and notching three shutouts to start the year. Scheele has stopped 92.3 percent of the shots put on frame thus far in 2014 and allowed one goal.
Danny Sanchez is in his third season as the head coach at Colorado. In two seasons with the Buffaloes, Sanchez has led the team to a 22-15-6 overall record and several program firsts. Sanchez’s career spans 20 years with Wyoming, Metro State and Mesa Community College, where he coached both the men’s and women’s programs. He has amassed a 289-75-29 record, including a pair of NCAA Division II National Championships while at Metro State.
The 2014 Jayhawks have gotten out to the program’s best start in five years with a 4-0-0 record. Kansas has begun the year with a 4-0 record or better only three other times in program history, two by eventual NCAA Tournament teams (2004 and 2008). The Jayhawks’ strong start can be attributed to strong showings on both the offensive and defensive ends of the field. The Jayhawks have already ammased a goal differential of +9, the squad’s highest after four games ever. KU’s 12 goals also ties for the most after four games in the program’s history.
On defense, Kansas has conceded just three goals, which has been a common trend in recent seasons since the Jayhawk defense has allowed three or fewer goals over its opening four matches in each of the last three seasons. In that same span, Kansas has kept its opponents’ shot percentage below nine percent and shot on goal percentage below 38 percent.
Playing with the Lead
The 2014 Jayhawks have yet to trail in a game this season. In fact, KU’s 360 minutes of “trailess” play is already among the program’s longest streaks. KU’s four matches without trailing is the ninth-longest streak in program history and the longest since the 2006 squad went 374-straight minutes without finding themselves behind in a game.
The longest streak in program history belongs to the 2004 squad that went nearly a month without trailing, racking up 738-consecutive minutes of trailess play. The 2004 team also had a streak of 566 minutes to start that season.
Francis Picks up Win No. 200
Head coach Mark Francis earned the 200th win of his collegiate coaching career after his team defeated Wake Forest on Aug. 31. He has amassed a record of 200-152-23 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.
Revisiting the Win Over Wake
The Jayhawks’ win over No. 24 Wake Forest on Aug. 31 was special for numerous reasons. Here are just a few:
- The win marked the third-straight season Kansas knocked off a ranked opponent at home.
- Ali Kimura and Liana Salazar’s two-goal performances were the first time two Jayhawks netted a pair of goals in the same game since Kortney Clifton and Emily Cressy did so in a 5-2 win over UAB on Sept. 5, 2008.
- Liana Salazar’s goals made it four-straight matches in which she has made it into the scoring column, the second-longest scoring streak ever by a Jayhawk.
- Kansas scored four goals, its most this year and the most conceded by the Demon Deacons in over two seasons.
- The win gave the Jayhawks a 4-0 record for the first time since 2009.
Included in their hot start, several Jayhawks have already leaped to the top of the conference lead in several statistical categories. Junior Liana Salazar leads all Big 12 players with her 11 points and five goals, while her 12 shots rank third in the league. Ali Kimura isn’t far behind in the overall points race, ranking second behind her teammate with eight thus far in 2014. Freshman Lois Heuchan is also tops in the conference with her two game-winning goals.
Despite missing a match, senior Kaitlyn Stroud is at the top of several of the league’s goalkeeping categories. Stroud sports the second-best goals-against average in the Big 12 at 0.67 and her .857 save percentage is the best among the league’s keepers. She has also tallied four saves per match, which ranks third.
Salazar Named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week
Kansas junior midfielder Liana Salazar has been honored by the Big 12 Conference after she was named the Offensive Player of the Week the league office announced Sept 2. It was the first Big 12 weekly honor earned by a Jayhawk this season and the first of Salazar’s career.
The Bogotá, Colombia native helped the Jayhawks improve to 4-0 this season after KU recorded wins over UTSA and No. 24 Wake Forest. The junior midfielder finished the weekend with three goals and one assist in the two matches. Her top performance came against the Demon Deacons, after she tallied the eventual game-winner on a penalty kick in the 48th minute before adding her fifth score of the year in the 90th minute. Salazar leads the Big 12 in points (11) and goals (5) this season.
Spreading the Wealth
The Kansas offense has shown that it could be a tough assignment for opposing defenses this year after a host of Jayhawks have made their presence known on the stat sheet. Seven different Jayhawks have had their hand in at least one of the Jayhawks’ 12 goals thus far in 2014, either scoring or assisting. Seven additional players have managed to tally at least one shot. The shots takers have been so diverse that only Salazar (12 shots) has taken more than 15 percent of the team’s total shots (52) thus far. Twelve players have combined for the remaining 40 shots.
A year ago, the KU offense was slightly more one sided as only three different players had combined for more than half of the team’s shots after the opening four matches.
Kansas to Return to Rock Chalk Park on Oct. 3
After evaluating field conditions over last 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.
After playing on the new surface on Aug. 22 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 Aug. 24 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 on Aug. 26 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.
Less than 48 hours after taking on the Buffaloes, the Jayhawks will hit the pitch against Denver at CIBER Field. The Jayhawks will look to even up the all-time series with the Pioneers after dropping the last two matchups. In the programs’ first meeting Kansas defeated Denver 2-1 in the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2008. KU and DU will kickoff at 1 p.m. (CT) for the match that will be televised on Altitude.
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