Kansas Returns Home to Face South Dakota State Friday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After enduring a stretch of seven its first nine matches on the road, the Kansas soccer team will return to the friendly confines of Rock Chalk Park to kick off a stint of four of its next five matches at home. The Jayhawks will welcome in the South Dakota State Jackrabbits to Lawrence on Friday, Sept. 25 for a 7 p.m. match.
Jayhawks for a Cure
- $5 admission to fans wearing pink
- Family Fun Zone (Opens at 5:30pm)
- Pink Poms giveaway
- Pink KU Soccer jersey silent auction
- Postgame Autographs
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas has rebounded after enduring a three-game losing streak in its first three games of September with come-from-behind overtime wins over Colorado College and Arkansas. Last week, Kansas tallied its fourth multi-goal match of the year with its 2-1 victory over the Razorbacks. KU has outshot eight of its first nine opponents by an average margin of over four shots per match.
The KU offense is starting to pick up steam of late, scoring five goals and averaging 18 shots in its last three matches. On the season, Kansas is averaging almost 16 shots per match but is putting just 37 percent of those shots on target. Kansas has seen five different goal scorers, which includes senior Liana Salazar, who leads the squad with three goals and 27 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 Jayhawk defense has allowed at least one goal in each of its last seven outings, with three of those being netted within the final 10 minutes of regulation or overtime. Jayhawk opponents have notched 11.1 shots per game with a total of 45 on target or an average of 5.0 per match. Sophomore Maddie Dobyns has started all nine matches in goal for the Jayhawks. She is boasting a save percentage of .756 and has a goals-against average of 1.10 with 31 saves in her first eight outings of 2015.
ABOUT THE JACKRABBITS
South Dakota State lost three of its first five matches but is coming on as of late, with the Jackrabbits going unbeaten in four of their last five contests. SDSU hasn’t been shutout in over a month and has allowed just one opponent goal over the last three matches.
The South Dakota State offense has been solid in its first nine matches of the season. The Jackrabbits are averaging just over 14 shots per game and have gotten over 40 percent of those tries on frame. Seven different players have recorded either a goal or an assist. Junior midfielder Madison Yueill has only tallied seven shots on the year but leads the team with her five goals. Senior forward Diana Potterveld and sophomore midfielder Tori Poole share the team lead in shots, each with 19, and have combined for three goals.
The Jackrabbit defense has been solid of late, posting three shutouts in its last five games. SDSU has allowed an average of 12.4 opponent shots in its first nine games, which included just eight attempts from North Dakota on Sept. 20. Junior Nicole Inskeep has started in goal and played every minute of SDSU’s season between the posts. She has amassed 50 saves for an average of 5.6 per appearance, which has helped her collect three shutouts. She also is boasting a goals-against average of 0.97 and a save percentage of .847.
Lang Wedemeyer is in his 16th year as the head coach of the South Dakota State women’s soccer program. Wedemeyer has led the Jackrabbits to a 144-113-33 record in his 15-plus seasons, to two NCAA Tournament appearances (2008, 2014) and two Summit League Tournament Championships (2008, 2014). He was also led the program to four regular-season conference titles, all coming since 2008.
This week, the Jayhawks will return to the friendly confines of Rock Chalk Park after completing a stretch of seven of their first nine matches of the season on the road. This might be a daunting task for most teams, but the Jayhawks can hang their hat on an impressive record in road games over the past year-and-a-half. KU has played 14 true road games since the start of the 2014 season, amassing a record of 9-3-1, which includes a 4-2-1 record this year, culminating in the Jayhawks’ win at Arkansas on Sept. 17.
When Kansas has played on the road in that span, the Jayhawks have held their opponents to a goals-against average of 0.83, have tallied five clean sheets and have outshot teams by an average of 13.8-11.5 shots per game. Nine different Jayhawks have scored at least one goal in that span, with Liana Salazar netting five goals and two assists in road matches. Jayhawk goalkeepers have also been stout away from home since the start of last season, allowing just 12 goals, tallying 62 saves and amassing a save percentage of .838.
LOGGING LENGTHY MINUTES
The Jayhawks have been forced to endure some long matches this season, going to extra time in five of their nine outings. That has moved this Kansas squad near the top of the nation when it comes to overall minutes played. The average length of a KU match this season is over 95 minutes long, which is the 18th-highest minutes-per-game average among DI programs this season. Only four other teams which have played nine matches or fewer can boast more total minutes than what the Jayhawks have already logged in the 2015 season.
Kansas currently has five players who are averaging 88 minutes per match or more. The program record for average length of its matches in a single season belongs to the 2007 team, whose average match lasted 94.3 minutes.
LIMITING LATE GOALS
Kansas was forced endure two golden-goal losses against Santa Clara and Oregon State earlier this season, which has been a rarity for the Jayhawk program over the last three-plus seasons. In fact, giving up any goals in the waning minutes of a match has been an uncommon occurrence for recent KU teams. From 2012-14, Kansas was on the wrong end of a golden goal just once, when Northwestern sent in the game-winner in the fifth minute of extra time on Aug. 19, 2012. During that same 66-match span, which started with the 2012 campaign, the Jayhawks let in only three game-winning goals by their opponents in the 75th minute later and none since the 2013 season.
Even in the final third of a match, the Jayhawk defense has proven almost impregnable to game-winning or game-tying goals. Over its last 66 games, KU opponents have scored only 11 game-winners or game-tying goals within the last 30 minutes of regulation and overtime.
OUTSTANDING IN OVERTIME
Kansas’ wins over Colorado College and Arkansas added to a recent trend of successful outcomes when the Jayhawks play in overtime matches. KU’s Sept. 4 loss to Santa Clara in the 102nd minute marked the end of an impressive streak for KU as the team had been unbeaten in seven-straight matches that had gone to overtime. Before that, Kansas’ previous loss in an overtime match came at the hands of Northwestern on Aug.19, 2012.
In his career, Mark Francis’ KU teams are 14-18-22 in matches decided in overtime for a winning percentage of .457, but over the last four-plus seasons, the Jayhawks have turned up their game in extra time. Including its wins over Colorado College and Arkansas, Kansas had been 8-4-1 in overtime games since the start of the 2011 season.
LAST TIME OUT
After going over four seasons without coming from behind to win a match, the Kansas soccer team did it for the second time in as many games, defeating Arkansas, 2-1, in the third minute of the first overtime period with a header from senior Ashley Williams. The Jayhawks, who went to the fourth extra time in their last five matches, posted back-to-back wins in matches that went to overtime for the first time in program history.
Unlike KU’s 2-1 double overtime win over Colorado College Sept. 13, Kansas made sure this match would not need a second overtime period. The Jayhawks needed just over two minutes to end the game. Taylor Estrada gained possession in the attacking third of the field and found herself one-on-one with an Arkansas defender. The Fayetteville native took on the defender down the left side before sending in a dangerous cross that was headed right for her teammate, Williams, who had made a run into the Arkansas six-yard box. Estrada’s pass met Williams’ head at the near post, where Williams redirected to the back of the net and instantly giving the Jayhawks a 2-1 win.
The goal was the first of the season for the senior, Williams, but was also the 18th of her KU career and moved her to No. 9 on the Jayhawks’ all-time goal scoring chart.
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 those two matches. 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.
JAYHAWKS PICKED FOURTH IN 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).
FIRST TO SCORE, WINS GALORE
Over its past 69 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 69-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-consecutive 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’ two most recent wins over Colorado College and Arkansas were the first and only wins in that same 69-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. The Jayhawks are 2-28-1 in those games over the last three years, including an 0-6-0 mark in 2014 and a 2-4-0 mark this season.
RECORD BOOK WATCH
The Kansas soccer record book has already seen some movement concerning where some current Jayhawks stand. Senior midfielder Liana Salazar finds herself among the Jayhawk elite when comparing her career numbers. She currently sits fourth on the all-time goal-scoring chart with 24, but needs just two 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 56 points in 70 appearances for the Jayhawks. That mark is 22 points behind Whitney Berry, who is second on the list and 74 points behind the record-holder, Caroline Smith, who tallied an impressive 126 points during her days in Lawrence.
Senior Ashley Williams has also moved up charts midway through her last season in the Crimson and Blue. Williams is ninth on KU’s goal-scoring list with 18 career goals and is at No. 4 with eight 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 45 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 36-6-3. Kansas was won or drawn all but six matches in which it has scored, including a 15-2-0 record in those instances last season.
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.
The Jayhawks will kick off Big 12 play when they welcome the Texas Longhorns to Rock Chalk Park on Friday, Oct. 2. KU and UT will hit the pitch for a 7 p.m., kickoff, which will be streamed live via the Kansas Athletics YouTube page.
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