|Stats at a Glance
|Shot on Goal %
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas soccer team will try to continue its hot start to the 2014 campaign and extend its undefeated record against the CSUN Matadors on Friday, Sept. 12. The Jayhawks, who are looking to move to 7-0 for the first time in program history, will kickoff against the visitors from the Big West at 5 p.m., at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.
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 visit the free online player located at KUAthletics.com/Radio.
About the Jayhawks
The Jayhawks are out to their best start in 10 years with a 6-0 record after a pair of road victories last weekend in Colorado. The team has amassed a goal differential of +12 through six games this season and has tallied two shutouts.
Junior Liana Salazar leads the squad with her six goals. The mark leads the Big 12, as do her 13 points. The Jayhawk offense has been potent this year, netting 16 goals and tallying almost 13 shots per game. Kansas’ 16 goals are the most to start a season since 2001. Kansas is averaging five shots on goal per game and is managing to get over 21 percent of those to the back of the net. Kansas attacks through several players, as six different Jayhawks have notched at least one goal this year and 12 different players have managed to tally two or more shots on the year.
The KU defense has been stout in its first six outings, allowing just four goals and limiting its opponents to 11 shots per match. Senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud has posted a 0.58 goals against average in five games between the posts with the help of a league-leading .870 save percentage. Kansas has yet to allow more than one goal in a game this season.
About the Matadors
After a rough start to its season, CSUN is coming off a pair of shutout victories last weekend. The Matadors began the year with a draw sandwiched between a pair of losses on the road after they were unable to score a goal in any of their first three matches. Last weekend CSUN returned home and picked up 1-0 and 2-0 victories over Gonzaga and San Diego, respectively.
While the Matadors have had trouble finding the back of the net this year, the offense has seen its share of chances, notching over 14 shots per game and putting over 43 percent of those on frame. Sophomore forward Cynthia Sanchez and junior defender Leandra Walker lead the squad with a goal apiece. Senior forward Brittanie Sakajian has 17 shots on the year, which is more than double the amount of any other Matador.
Like Kansas, the CSUN defense has allowed just four opponent goals in 2014, and has held three of its five opponents scoreless. Matador opponents have posted 11.2 shots per match, including nearly four shots on goal per game. Junior goalkeeper Cynthia Tafoya, who has played each of the team’s minutes in goal this year, has made 15 saves and notched three shutouts, including two in her most recent outings. Tafoya has stopped 79 percent of the shots put on frame thus far in 2014 and is allowing 0.77 goals per 90 minutes.
Keith West is in his ninth season as the head coach at CSUN. The Matadors are 69-74-14 during West’s tenure. West was named head coach in 2006, becoming the fifth head coach in the history of the program. West previously worked with the women’s team for two years as an assistant.
The 2014 Jayhawks have gotten out to the program’s best start in 10 years with a 6-0-0 record. Kansas has begun the year with a 6-0 record or better only one other time in program history, by the eventual Big 12 champion and NCAA tournament 2004 squad. The Jayhawks’ strong start can be attributed to strong showings on both the offensive and defensive ends of the field. The Jayhawks have already amassed a goal differential of +12, the squad’s highest after six games ever. KU’s 16 goals also ties for the most after six games in the program’s history.
On defense, Kansas has conceded just four goals, which has been a common trend in recent seasons since the Jayhawk defense has allowed four or fewer goals over its opening six 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 452 minutes of “trail-less” play is already among the program’s longest streaks. KU’s six matches without trailing is the fifth-longest streak in program history.
The longest streak in program history belongs to the 2004 squad that went nearly a month without trailing, racking up 738-consecutive minutes of trail-less play. The 2004 team also had a streak of 566 minutes to start that season. The 2014 Jayhawks need to play just 31 more trail-less minutes to move into No. 2 all-time.
Rolling Up the Ranks
The Kansas soccer team entered the top-25 of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Coaches’ poll for the first time in nearly five years after the weekly list was released on Tuesday, Sept. 9. The Jayhawks, who checked in at No. 20 in the national rankings, last appeared in the coaches’ rankings on Sept. 22, 2009, also at No. 20.
Kansas has reached as high as sixth in the NSCAA poll, which it achieved on Oct. 19 during the 2004 season. The Jayhawks’ longest stay among the top-25 of the coaches’ poll was 12-straight weeks from Sept. 7, 2005 to Aug. 16, 2005.
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. Eight different Jayhawks have had their hand in at least one of the Jayhawks’ 16 goals thus far in 2014, either scoring or assisting. Eight additional players have managed to tally at least one shot. While Salazar has notched just over a quarter of the team’s total shots (20), no other Jayhawk has taken more than 15 percent of the team’s total shots (76) thus far. Twelve players have combined for the remaining 56 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 six matches.
Let’s Talk Winning Streaks
The Jayhawks are currently in the middle of one of the longest unbeaten streaks in program history. The team’s six-straight victories mark just the fourth time a KU squad has won six or more games in a row. One more victory would tie the 2004 team, who dished out seven-straight wins in the middle of their season en route to the Big 12 regular-season championship. Two wins this weekend would mark the longest streak any Jayhawk team has gone without drawing or losing a match.
Even if the Jayhawks were to draw one or both of their matches this weekend they would still hold the program record for consecutive matches going unbeaten, which is also held by that 2004 team.
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 13 points and six goals, while her 20 shots rank second in the league. Salazar and freshman Lois Heuchan are also tops in the conference with her two game-winning goals apiece.
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 0.58 and her .877 save percentage is the best among the league’s keepers. She has also tallied four saves per match, which ranks third.
Kansas to Return to Rock Chalk Park on Oct. 3
After evaluating field conditions, Kansas officials announced Aug. 26 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.
KU will welcome in UMKC on Sunday, Sept. 14 for a 1 p.m. kickoff that will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel. The match will mark the first regular-season meeting between the two schools that are separated by just 35 miles.
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