|Stats at a Glance
|Shot on Goal %
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas Jayhawk soccer team will once again take its perfect record on the road as the squad goes up against Marquette on Friday, Sept. 17 in Milwaukee, Wis. Kansas, who is enjoying its best start in program history, will kick off against the Golden Eagles from Valley Fields at 7 p.m.
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 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 UMKC on Sunday afternoon. The team has amassed a goal differential of +15 through eight games this season and has shutout each of its last three opponents.
Junior Liana Salazar leads the squad with her six goals. The mark is second in the Big 12, as are her 13 points. Three other Jayhawks have tallied three or more goals. The Jayhawk offense has netting 19 goals and is tallying 14 shots per game. Kansas’ 19 goals are the most to start a season in school history. KU is averaging just under six shots on goal per game and is managing to get over 40 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 15 different players have managed to tally two or more shots on the year.
The KU defense has been stout in its first eight outings, allowing just four goals and limiting its opponents to 10 shots per match. Senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud has posted a 0.42 goals against average in seven games between the posts with the help of a league-leading .893 save percentage. Kansas has yet to allow more than one goal in a game this season.
About the Golden Eagles
Marquette began its season with two wins in its first eight games however four of those games were separated by just one goal and one finished in a draw. MU has been shutout in four matches this season but has allowed one goal or fewer in five contests. Marquette’s 34-women roster features 22 underclassmen.
MU is averaging 1.38 goals per game this season but has scored eight goals in its last five outings. The Golden Eagles are notching just under 13 shots per game and putting over 44 percent of those on frame. Junior midfielder Jacie Jermier and sophomore forward Darian Powell lead the squad with two goals on the year however they are two of nine Golden Eagles who have tallied at least one goal this season.
The MU defense has allowed 14 opponent goals in 2014, and has held two of its eight opponents scoreless. Marquette opponents have posted 11.6 shots per match, including nearly six shots on goal per game. Junior goalkeeper Amanda Engel, who has played 97 percent of her team’s minutes in goal this year, has made 30 saves and notched two shutout. Engel has stopped over 69 percent of the shots put on frame thus far in 2014 and is allowing 1.63 goals per 90 minutes.
Markus Roeders is in his 19th season as the head coach at Marquette. The Golden Eagles are 272-95-37 during his tenure. During his tenure, Roeders has produced 109 all-conference, 62 all-region, and 12 All-America selections. His teams have won nine regular-season conference titles, including five consecutive BIG EAST regular season crowns
Kansas’ Historic Start
The 2014 Jayhawks have gotten out to the program’s best start with a 8-0-0 record. The 2004 KU team held the previous program best when it began its year 6-0. The Jayhawks’ strong start can be attributed to impressive showings on both the offensive and defensive ends of the field. The Jayhawks have already amassed a goal differential of +15, the squad’s highest after eight games ever. KU’s 19 goals are also the most after seven games in the program’s history.
On defense, Kansas has conceded just four goals, and have shutout each of its last three opponents. KU’s 0.49 goals against average is the program’s second-lowest after eight games ever and ranks 26th in the NCAA. The Jayhawks have still yet to allow an opponent goal in the first half of play.
An NCAA Tourney This Way Comes?
Not only has the Jayhawks’ perfect start shot them up the conference and national rankings, but it has also greatly increased their chances of earning a spot in their first NCAA tournament since 2011. Since the 2008 season, 21 NCAA teams have begun their seasons with a perfect 8-0-0 record in their first eight games. Of those 21 teams, 18 went on to earn bids into the NCAA tournament. Of those 18 squads that earned NCAA tourney spots, half of them managed to advance all the way to the Sweet 16.
Past Kansas teams who have had similar strong starts have also trended toward postseason play. KU’s first NCAA squad, the 2001 team, won seven of its first nine matches and eventually won a then-program best 13 games. Both the 2003 and 2004 teams were victorious in eight of their first nine games and, not only made it to the postseason tournament, but advanced to the Sweet 16 and second round, respectively.
Let’s Get Defensive
While the Jayhawk offense has been as potent as the program has seen in some time, the defense has been just as impressive. Coming off three-straight shutouts, Kansas is currently boasting a goals against average of 0.49, the second lowest in the Big 12 and the 26th best mark in the nation. The Jayhawks have allowed just four goals on the year and no more than one in a game. KU has not conceded a goal in 292 minutes, the 11th longest streak in school history. A fourth-straight shutout would move the streak to 382 minutes and into fourth on the school’s all-time chart.
Kansas opponents’ lack of goal scoring may be attributed to the Jayhawks ability to keep the opposing team’s shot percentage low. Of the 81 shots KU has allowed this season, opponents are putting just 38 percent of those on target and only getting 13 percent of those shots on frame to the back of the net.
KU has seen numerous instances of late-game heroics already this year. Of the 19 goals Kansas has scored this year, eight of them have come within the final 20 minutes of play. Four Jayhawks game-winning goals have also come within the final 20 minutes of action, including Liana Salazar’s golden goal in the 102 minute versus Colorado (9/5).
Speaking of game-winners, a total of six different Jayhawks have already posted at least one game-winning goal this season. Only twice over the last eight seasons has a KU squad seen more than five players net a game-winner in a year.
Through its first eight games this season, Kansas has proven itself to be an aggressive squad in terms of fouls and cautions. The Jayhawks have been whistled for 85 fouls in 2014, which equates to over 10 fouls per match. That mark is the highest among Big 12 teams this year and is the highest average by a Kansas team in four seasons.
KU has also become quite familiar with the referee’s yellow card this season as the Jayhawks have been already been cautioned on nine different occasions. This total is a stark contrast from recent Kansas squads. During the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Kansas was shown yellow just sixteen times, which included KU earning just one yellow throughout the entire 2012 campaign.
While this aggressive style of play may worry some, it has boded well for past Kansas squads. Four of the five Kansas teams that have advanced to the NCAA tournament averaged 10.5 or more fouls per match and were each carded at least 12 times during their seasons.
Playing with the lead
The 2014 Jayhawks have yet to trail in a game this season. In fact, KU’s 732 minutes of “trail-less” play is already among the program’s longest streaks. KU’s eight 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 7 more trail-less minutes to move to the top of that list.
Rolling Up the Ranks
After entering the top-25 of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Coaches’ poll for the first time in nearly five years last week, the Jayhawks, moved up the poll after its two shutout wins last weekend. The Jayhawks checked in at No. 16 in the national rankings, its highest spot in the Coaches’ poll since Nov. 9, 2004.
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, 2004 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’ 19 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 (27), no other Jayhawk has taken more than 12 percent of the team’s total shots (112) thus far. Sixteen players have combined for the remaining 85 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 eight matches.
Let’s Talk Winning Streaks
The Jayhawks are currently in the middle of the longest unbeaten streaks in program history. The team’s eight-straight victories mark just the first time a KU squad has won eight games in a row. The win over CSUN on Friday, Sept. 12 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. KU’s win over UMKC on Sunday, Sept. 14 marked the longest streak any Jayhawk team has gone without drawing or losing a match.
Even if the Jayhawks would have drawn their match against UMKC, they would have still claimed the program record for consecutive matches going unbeaten, which was also held by that 2004 team.
Included in their hot start, several Jayhawks have already leaped to the top of the conference in several statistical. Junior Liana Salazar is in second in the Big 12 with her 13 points and six goals, while her 27 shots rank second in the league. Jayhawk goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud is tops in the league with her .893 save percentage and holds the Big 12’s second-best goals against average at 0.42.
As a team the Jayhawks lead the conference with their 19 goals and their 2.4 goals per game average. KU has tallied the most fouls among Big 12 squads at 85 or 10.6 per match. Kansas’ four shutouts is also tied for the most among Big 12 teams.
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.
Kansas will return to the friendly confines of the Jayhawk Soccer Complex on Sunday, Sept. 21 to take on St. Mary’s (Calif.) in their final tune-up before beginning conference play the following weekend. The Jayhawks and Gaels are scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m., from Lawrence.
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