Junior midfielder Jackie Georgoulis
|Stats at a Glance
|Shot on Goal %
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Less than two days after Kansas soccer snapped Baylor’s seven-game winning streak in dramatic fashion, the Jayhawks will try to stop another seven-game unbeaten streak when they welcome in the Oklahoma Sooners on Sunday, Oct. 11. The Jayhawks, winners of five of their last six games, will meet the Sooners at Rock Chalk Park for 1 p.m. kickoff. The match will be broadcast on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and ESPN3.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
After beginning the season with two wins in its first seven contests, Kansas has rebounded with five victories in its last six outings, including a dramatic, last-second victory over Baylor in Friday night in Lawrence. Since its loss to Wyoming on Sept. 11, Kansas has outscored its next six opponents 13-4 and tallied three shutouts. KU has outshot 11 of its first 13 opponents by an average margin of over five shots per match.
The KU offense is starting to pick up steam of late, scoring 13 goals and averaging 18.8 shots in its last six matches. On the season, Kansas is averaging almost 17 shots per match and is putting 41.2 percent of those shots on target. Kansas has seen seven different goal scorers, six of whom have tallied multiple goals. Senior Liana Salazar and freshman Grace Hagan both lead the squad with four goals on the year. Salazar and fellow senior Ashley Williams have combined for a third of the teams’ total shots this season as well as seven of the squads’ 14 assists.
The Jayhawk defense allowed at least one goal in all but one of its first nine outings, but has allowed just two goals over its last 438 minutes of action. Jayhawk opponents have notched 12.2 shots per game with a total of 62 on target, or an average of 4.8 per match. Sophomore Maddie Dobyns has started all 13 matches in goal for the Jayhawks. She is boasting a save percentage of .793 and has a goals-against average of 0.90 with 46 saves in nearly 1,200 minutes of action.
ABOUT THE SOONERS
Oklahoma is riding high after a draw Friday night with the fourth-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers, which extended their current unbeaten streak to seven games. OU has allowed just two goals during that seven-match stretch, which included three squads ranked inside the top-25. The Sooners have also netted six goals in the last four games.
The Oklahoma offense has been impressive in 2015, already scoring 27 goals for an average of 1.93 per match. The Sooners have been shutout just three times on the year. OU is averaging 14.9 shots per game and has gotten 42.3 percent of those tries on frame. Eight different players have recorded at least two goals on the season. Junior forward Caren Nelson and freshman forward Kaylee Dao lead their team with four goals apiece, while junior forward Liz Keester is tops on her squad with 30 shots. Ten different Sooners have posted at least one assists this season, with Liz Crawford tallying the most thus far at three.
The Oklahoma defense began the year on rocky ground, allowing 10 goals in its first eight outings but has since allowed just one goal over its last six matches. Oklahoma is currently riding an opponent scoreless streak of over 276 minutes. OU has allowed an average of 11.6 opponent shots in its first 14 games, but that includes 33 shots from West Virginia on Oct. 9. Junior goalkeeper Kassidie Stade has started in goal in each of BU’s last 12 outings. She has tallied 49 saves for an average of 3.5 per appearance and has collected six shutouts. She also is boasting a goals-against average of 0.78 and a save percentage of .831.
Matt Potter is in his fourth season as the head coach of the Oklahoma women’s soccer program. With Potter at the helm the Sooners have amassed a record of 29-35-11. Last season, Potter led his squad to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010 as well as a runner-up finish at the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City, all this after being picked to finish last in the Big 12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
A TALE OF TWO SEASONS
It appears as though the Jayhawks have fielded two different teams this season: the team that began the year with only two victories in its first seven matches, and the one that has rattled off five victories in its six more recent outings, which has helped KU turn around a season that may have been going downhill in a hurry. The difference in squads over those two periods of the 2015 season is apparent by much more than just looking at wins and losses.
In its first seven matches, the Kansas offense endured several stagnant stretches, netting only five goals, posting two scoreless streaks of more than 200 minutes and being shutout in four of those seven outings. KU was also posting 15.4 shots per match but only putting 38 percent of those on goal. Since then though, Kansas’ offense has been stellar. In the six games since, the Jayhawks have shot in 13 goals, which have been scored by seven different players. KU has also averaged nearly 19 shots in those six games and has put over 44 percent of them on target.
It wasn’t just the Kansas offense that has seen marked improvement in the last three weekends, the KU defense has also taken a turn for the better. During the Jayhawks’ 2-4-1 start, they allowed nine goals, but in the five games since, allowed only four opponent goals to find the back of their net, which has included two shutouts. The Kansas defense has also substantially dropped the opposition’s shot-on-goal percentage, which measures how many of a team’s shot attempts are put on frame. In KU’s first seven outings, teams were managing to put just under half (49.3 percent) of their shots on goal, but over the last six matches, that number has dropped to a minuscule 30.2 percent.
The Jayhawks have become well acclimated to life away from the friendly confines of Rock Chalk Park this season with eight of their 12 matches so far in 2015 coming 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 15 true road games since the start of the 2014 season, amassing a record of 10-4-1, which includes a 5-2-1 record this year, culminating in the Jayhawks’ win at Iowa State on Oct. 4.
When Kansas has played on the road in that span, the Jayhawks have held their opponents to a goals-against average of 0.77, have tallied six clean sheets and have outshot teams by an average of 14.3-11.5 shots per game. Ten different Jayhawks have scored at least one goal in that span, with Liana Salazar leading the way with six goals and four assists in road matches. Jayhawk goalkeepers have also been stout away from home since the start of last season, allowing just 12 goals, tallying 66 saves and amassing a save percentage of .846.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
The Kansas offense has shown to be a tough assignment for opposing defenses this year after a host of Jayhawks have made their presence known on the stat sheet. Six different Jayhawks have netted at least two goals, while a total of 10 have had their hand in at least one of the team’s 18 goals thus far in 2015, either scoring or assisting. Seven additional players have managed to tally at least one shot. While seniors Liana Salazar and Ashley Williams have notched over a third of the team’s total shots (72), seven of their teammates can boast adding 10 or more attempts to the team’s total of 221.
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. 67 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 12th-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 six of its nine teams inside the top-80. The conference’s high ranking also means the Jayhawks will get plenty of chances to up their national standing as four of their next six contests will be against teams currently ranked inside the top-80 of the RPI.
KU has seen numerous instances of late-game heroics already this year. Of the 18 goals Kansas has scored this season, nine of them have come within the final 25 minutes of regulation or in overtime. Five KU game-winning goals have also come within the final 25 minutes of action, including Parker Roberts’ golden goal in the 110th minute versus Baylor (10/9).
Speaking of game-winners, a total of four different Jayhawks have posted at least one game-winning goal this season.
FEEDING ON NON-CON
With its win over South Dakota State on Sept. 25 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.
THIS DAY IN KU SOCCER HISTORY:
OCTOBER 11, 2002 – The Kansas Jayhawks handed the Oklahoma State Cowgirls their second loss of the season in decisive fashion, upended OSU 6-0 in Lawrence. Kansas scored three goals within a 16-minute period in the first half, two of which came off the boot of then-freshman and current KU assistant Jessica Smith.
Fellow freshman Caroline Smith netted her 11th goal of the year in the 71st minute off an assist from Jessica Smith, before Brianna Valento scored twice over the final 10 minutes of regulation. The Kansas defense also tallied its fourth shutout of the year and moved to 9-2-2 on the year and 3-1-1 in Big 12 play.
LAST TIME OUT
Freshman Parker Roberts headed in a goal with less than 10 seconds left in the second overtime to lift the Kansas Jayhawks to a 1-0 win over the Baylor Bears Friday night inside Rock Chalk Park. Roberts’ goal was the latest game-winner in program history and lifted the Jayhawks to their fifth win in their last six games.
The Jayhawks and Bears fought for nearly 110 minutes in one of the most physical matches in program history, with neither squad able to break free from the other. The two teams entered the final minute of the second overtime period still level at 0-0 and appeared to be headed for a draw, which is what the result would have been had it not been for Roberts’ last-second heroics.
With 11 seconds on the clock, play was stopped after Baylor was whistled for its 26th foul of the match. The foul, which marked the most by a Jayhawk opponent since Oct. 9, 1998, was significant because it gave Kansas one last glimpse at the BU frame with a free kick from 30 yards out.
Senior Liana Salazar lined up the kick and sent it curling in toward the right post. Roberts made a run from the top of the Bear 18-yard box and met Salazar’s service eight yards from the face of goal. The Leawood, Kansas product got just enough of the ball to redirect off its original line and into the right side netting, immediately bringing the match to an end and giving KU its seventh win of the year, all with just eight seconds before the match would have been declared a draw.
Roberts’ goal, which came 109:52 after the opening whistle, marked the latest game-winner in program history (since the overtime format was changed in 2002). The win, which came in the Jayhawks’ program-record-tying sixth overtime match of the year, was also the third golden-goal victory by Kansas this season.
OUTSTANDING IN OVERTIME
Kansas’ win over Baylor on Friday night 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 15-18-22 in matches decided in overtime for a winning percentage of .474, but over the last four-plus seasons, the Jayhawks have turned up their game in extra time. Including its extra time wins over Colorado College, Arkansas and Baylor, Kansas is 9-4-1 in overtime games since the start of the 2011 season.
FIRST TO SCORE, WINS GALORE
Over its past 73 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 73-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 37-1-2 in those games, which already includes a 5-0-0 mark this year. The Jayhawks’ win against Baylor on Oct. 9 marked their 27th-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’ wins over Colorado College and Arkansas on Sept. 13 and Sept. 17, respectively, were the first and only wins in that same 73-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. The Jayhawks are 2-29-1 in those games over the last three years, including an 0-6-0 mark in 2014 and a 2-5-0 mark this season.
RECORD BOOK WATCH
The Kansas soccer record book has already seen some movement this season 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 25, but needs just one 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 62 points in 74 appearances for the Jayhawks. That mark is 16 points behind Whitney Berry, who is second on the list and 68 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 49 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 39-7-3. Kansas was won or drawn all but seven matches in which it has scored, including a 22-4-0 record in those instances this season and last.
Kansas will kick off the three-match road stint on Friday, Oct. 16 when it visits defending Big 12 champion West Virginia. The Jayhawks and Mountaineers will kick off from Morgantown at 6 p.m. (CT).
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