Jayhawks Set to Open Big 12 Play Against Longhorns Friday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After closing out non-conference play with three-straight victories, the Kansas Jayhawks head into conference play on a hot streak. KU will try to carry its momentum into its Big 12 opener when it welcomes the Texas Longhorns to Rock Chalk Park on Friday, Oct. 2. The match is slated to kick off at 7 p.m., and can be viewed on YouTube.
- Just Food Game — $3 admission with food or cash donation
- KU Soccer Scarf giveaway (while supplies last)
- Family Fun Zone (opens at 5:30pm)
- Postgame autographs
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas has rebounded after enduring a three-game losing streak in its first three games of September, responding with three-straight victories to close out the non-conference portion of the season. Last week, Kansas tallied a decisive 3-0 victory over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in Lawrence, also posting its second shutout of the year. KU has outshot nine of its first 10 opponents by an average margin of over five shots per match.
The KU offense is starting to pick up steam of late, scoring eight goals and averaging 22.8 shots in its last four matches. On the season, Kansas is averaging almost 17 shots per match but is putting just 38 percent of those shots on target. Kansas has seen six different goal scorers, five of whom have tallied multiple goals. Senior Liana Salazar leads the squad with three goals and 31 shots on the year. Senior Ashley Williams has scored two goals in her last two outings, both game-winners, and has amassed 14 shots in that same span.
The Jayhawk defense has allowed at least one goal in all but two of its first 10 outings, but is coming off a shutout of South Dakota State last week. Jayhawk opponents have notched 11.4 shots per game with a total of 48 on target or an average of 4.8 per match. Sophomore Maddie Dobyns has started all 10 matches in goal for the Jayhawks. She is boasting a save percentage of .773 and has a goals-against average of 0.99 with 34 saves in her first 10 outings of 2015.
ABOUT THE LONGHORNS
The Texas Longhorns have had a roller coaster season thus far, posting a win and a draw over No. 14 UCLA and No. 18 Ohio State, respectively, but only picking up one win over their last four outings. UT opened its own Big 12 conference slate last weekend at No. 4 West Virginia, falling to the Mountaineers, 2-0.
The Texas offense has had difficulty scoring goals through various stretches this season, and is currently enduring a scoring drought of 213 minutes. The Longhorns are averaging just 15 shots per game and have gotten 37 percent of those tries on frame. Seven different players have recorded either a goal or an assist. Senior midfielder Lindsey Meyer is the only Longhorn to enter the score sheet more than once this year, posting a pair of goals. Freshman forward Mikayla Flores leads the squad with 20 shots on the year, but is joined by seven of her teammates who have posted 10 or more shots in 2015.
The Longhorn defense began the year with shutouts in two of its first three outings but has since allowed seven goals in its last six games. UT has allowed an average of 15.3 opponent shots in its first nine games, but that includes 31 shots from West Virginia on Sept. 25. Senior Abby Smith, the Big 12 coaches’ preseason choice for the league’s keeper of the year, has started in goal and played every minute of UT’s season thus far. She leads the conference with 57 saves for an average of 6.3 per appearance, which has helped her collect three shutouts. She also is boasting a goals-against average of 0.93 and a save percentage of .864.
Angela Kelly is in her fourth year as the head coach of the Texas women’s soccer program. Kelly has led the Longhorns to a 34-27-11 record in her three-plus seasons and took the team back to the NCAA Tournament last year after a three-year hiatus.
STARTING BIG 12 WITH A BANG
In the 16 years Mark Francis has coached at Kansas, the Jayhawks have seen some success in the opening weekends of conference play. Kansas has amassed a record of 10-5-1 (.656) in Big 12 home openers under Francis, an over 15 percent increase from its overall conference winning percentage of .493 since 1999. The Jayhawks hold a record of 1-6-2 (.167) in Big 12 openers played on the road. Under Francis, Kansas is 6-8-2 in all Big 12 opening matches. Last season, Kansas opened its conference slate with a 1-0 win at Baylor.
FEEDING ON NON-CON
With its win over South Dakota State last Friday to close out the non-conference portion of the schedule, the Jayhawks made it eight-straight seasons with a .500 winning percentage or better against regular-season non-conference foes. Over the last four seasons, Kansas has posted an impressive 27-12-4 mark in its 43 regular-season non-conference matches (64.7%), which includes a 15-5-1 mark in the last two years. Since the start of the 2012 season, KU has outscored non-con opponents by a tally of 74-37.
Mark Francis has led KU to a winning record in non-con in 16 of his 17 seasons in Lawrence and is now 106-44-8 in regular-season non-conference games.
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. Five Jayhawks have netted at least two goals, while a total of nine have had their hand in at least one of the team’s 12 goals thus far in 2015, either scoring or assisting. Eight additional players have managed to tally at least one shot. While seniors Liana Salazar and Ashley Williams have notched nearly a third of the team’s total shots (54), six of their teammates can boast adding 10 or more attempts to the team’s total of 168.
This is a trend that is carried over from last year’s squad, as nine different players managed to post double-figure shots and 14 Jayhawks tallied at least one goal or assist in 2014.
With the release of the season’s several Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) report by the NCAA this week, several good signs stick out for the Jayhawks. Kansas checked in at No. 53 on the list that takes numerous factors into account including strength of schedule, record against top-50 teams and home versus road record. The ranking marked the 11th-straight RPI release that Kansas has found itself ranked among the top-75 in the NCAA, dating back to last season.
This week’s report shows that the Big 12 is among the nation’s toughest conferences after the conclusion of non-conference play. The league boasts five of its nine teams inside the top-75. The conference’s high ranking also means the Jayhawks will get plenty of chances to up their national standing as six of their next eight contests will be against teams currently ranked inside the top-100 of the RPI.
KU has seen numerous instances of late-game heroics already this year. Of the 12 goals Kansas has scored this season, half of them have come within the final 25 minutes of regulation or overtime. Four KU game-winning goals have also come within the final 25 minutes of action, including Ashley Williams’ golden goal in the 92nd minute versus Arkansas (9/17).
Speaking of game-winners, a total of four different Jayhawks have already posted at least one game-winning goal this season.
Last week, the Jayhawks returned 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.
THIS DAY IN KU SOCCER HISTORY:
OCTOBER 2, 2009 – The 19th-ranked Kansas soccer team put up a valiant fight at No. 15 Texas A&M, but eventually fell to the Aggies, 3-4, in a high scoring affair. After falling behind 3-1 after the first 50 minutes of play, the Jayhawks scored twice over the final 40 minutes of action, but a TAMU goal in the 64th minute proved to be too much to overcome as KU dropped its third match of the season. Kansas went on to go 4-4-1 over its next nine outings before falling to Missouri in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament.
LAST TIME OUT
After going to the halftime locker room knotted up at 0-0, the Kansas offense came alive in the second 45-minute period to down the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, 3-0, Sept. 27 at Rock Chalk Park. Senior Ashley Williams netted her second goal in as many games, while junior Ashley Pankey completed the first multi-goal outing of her career, scoring twice in the final 12 minutes.
After earning a corner just over two minutes into the half, Liana Salazar sent in a low service into the center of the Jackrabbit box. An SDSU defender had difficulty clearing the pass, putting the ball right at the feet of Williams, who was a mere 15 yards from goal. Williams used some fancy dribbling to evade a defender and shot in her second goal of the year into the side-netting. Williams’ goal was her second in as many games and moved the senior to No. 8 on KU’s all-time goal scorer charts as she now has 19 for her career.
With 12 minutes remaining, Pankey sent home the first goal of her career. Freshman Grace Hagan hit a shot that the SDSU goalkeeper was unable to corral. The rebound went high in the air before Pankey met it at the goal line for the easy flick in to put her team up a pair of goals. Just five minutes later Junior Jackie Georgoulis flicked on a KU goal kick far down field and past two SDSU defenders, where Pankey found it in stride. She took two long dribbles and unleashed a 25-yard strike that Inskeep had little hope of stopping. Pankey’s shot found the back of the net to cement her first-career brace and the first multi-goal match of the year by a Jayhawk.
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.
JAYHAWKS PICKED FOURTH IN BIG 12 PRESEASON COACHES’ 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 70 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 70-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 35-1-2 in those games, which already includes a 3-0-0 mark this year. The Jayhawks’ win against South Dakota State on Sept. 25 marked their 25th-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 70-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 now eighth on KU’s goal-scoring list with 19 career goals and is at No. 4 with nine 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 46 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 37-6-3. 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.
Kansas ventures away from Lawrence for its first road test of the 2015 Big 12 season when the Jayhawks take on the Iowa State Cyclones on Sunday, Oct. 4 in Ames, Iowa. KU and ISU are slated to kick off from the Cyclone Sports Complex at 1 p.m.
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