|Stats at a Glance
|Shot on Goal %
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas Jayhawk soccer team will look to continue its historic start to the 2014 season intact and extend its undefeated record as it will welcome the UMKC Kangaroos to Lawrence on Sunday, Sept. 14. The Jayhawks, who are looking to move to 8-0 for the first time in program history, will kickoff at 1 p.m., at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex in the match that 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 visit the free online player located at KUAthletics.com/Radio.
About the Jayhawks
The Jayhawks are out to their best start in program history with an 8-0 record after a victory over CSUN on Friday evening. The team has amassed a goal differential of +14 through six games this season and has tallied three 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 18 goals and tallying over 12 shots per game. Kansas’ 18 goals are the most to start a season in school history. Kansas is averaging just under 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 seven 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 seven outings, allowing just four goals and limiting its opponents to 11 shots per match. Senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud has posted a 0.49 goals against average in six games between the posts with the help of a league-leading .885 save percentage. Kansas has yet to allow more than one goal in a game this season.
About the Kangaroos
UMKC is coming off an impressive 3-0 shutout victory over Western Illinois on Friday night. The Kangaroos began the season with just one win in their first four matches but have turned it around in the last two weeks with a pair of wins and a draw. UMKC features 12 players from the state of Kansas, which is three times more Kansans than the Jayhawk roster features
UMKC is averaging 1.43 goals per game this season but has scored eight goals in its last three outings. The Kangaroos are notching over 12 shots per game and putting over 56 percent of those on frame. Freshman forward Kara Priest leads the squad with four goals on the year as well as her 17 shots. Seniors Hannah Chadick and Alyssa Elver have each posted a pair of assists.
The CSUN defense has allowed six opponent goals in 2014, and has held two of its seven opponents scoreless. Kangaroo opponents have posted 13.4 shots per match, including nearly seven shots on goal per game. Junior goalkeeper Nina Tzianos, who has played almost all of the team’s minutes in goal this year, has made 40 saves and notched two shutouts, including on in her most recent outing. Tzianos has stopped over 85 percent of the shots put on frame thus far in 2014 and is allowing 0.83 goals per 90 minutes.
Chris Cissell is in his fourth season as the head coach at UMKC. The Kangaroos are 29-28-11 during Cissell’s tenure. He was named head coach in April 2011, after he compiled a 282-106-22 overall record in his 20 seasons as head coach at Williams Jewell. In that time, he achieved top-10 national rankings with both the men’s and women’s soccer programs and compiled three Final Four appearances.
The 2014 Jayhawks have gotten out to the program’s best start with a 7-0-0 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 +14, the squad’s highest after seven games ever. KU’s 18 goals are also the most after seven 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 seven 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 642 minutes of “trail-less” play is already among the program’s longest streaks. KU’s seven matches without trailing is the second-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 97 more trail-less minutes to move to the top of that list.
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. Nine different Jayhawks have had their hand in at least one of the Jayhawks’ 18 goals thus far in 2014, either scoring or assisting. Eight additional players have managed to tally at least one shot. While Salazar has notched nearly a quarter of the team’s total shots (21), no other Jayhawk has taken more than 15 percent of the team’s total shots (86) thus far. Twelve players have combined for the remaining 65 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 seven 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 seven-straight victories mark just the second time a KU squad has won seven or more games in a row. The win over CSUN Friday tied the 2004 team, who dished out seven-straight wins in the middle of their season en route to the Big 12 regular-season championship. A win Sunday would mark the longest streak any Jayhawk team has gone without drawing or losing a match.
Even if the Jayhawks were to draw their matches against UMKC on Sunday, 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 is tied for the conference lead with her 13 points and six goals, while her 21 shots rank second in the league. Salazar and freshman Lois Heuchan are also second in the conference with their 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 0.49 and her .885 save percentage is the best among the league’s keepers. She has also tallied three shutouts, which ranks second.
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 once again hit the road as they journey to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to take on perennial national power Marquette on Friday, Sept. 19. The Jayhawks and Golden Eagles will hit the pitch for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Valley Fields.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.