Junior midfiedler Jackie Georgoulis
|Stats at a Glance
|Shot on Goal %
GAME NOTES // WATCH
LAWRENCE, Kan. – With the Kansas soccer team coming off a pair of Big 12 home victories last weekend, the Jayhawks will now go up against their stiffest test of the season when they journey to Morgantown, West Virginia to face the third-ranked Mountaineers on Friday, Oct. 16. The Jayhawks are winners of six of their last seven games and will meet West Virginia, which is unbeaten in its last 12 outings, at Dick Dlesk Stadium for a 6 p.m. (CT) kickoff.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
After beginning the season with two wins in its first seven contests, Kansas has rebounded with six victories in its last seven outings, including a pair of dramatic, last-second victories over Baylor and Oklahoma last weekend in Lawrence. Since its loss to Wyoming on Sept. 11, Kansas has outscored its next seven opponents 14-4 and tallied four shutouts. KU has seen six different players net at least two goals this season.
The KU offense is starting to pick up steam of late, scoring 14 goals and averaging 18 shots in its last seven matches. On the season, Kansas is averaging almost 16.7 shots per match and is putting 40.6 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 almost a third of the team’s total shots this season as well as seven of the squads’ 15 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 528 minutes of action. Jayhawk opponents have notched 12.4 shots per game with a total of 68 on target, or an average of 4.9 per match. Sophomore Maddie Dobyns has started all 14 matches in goal for the Jayhawks. She is boasting a save percentage of .812 and has a goals-against average of 0.84 with 52 saves in nearly 1,300 minutes of action.
ABOUT THE MOUNTAINEERS
West Virginia is in the midst of one of its best seasons in program history, recently reaching a program-best ranking of No. 3 in the latest NSCAA Coaches’ poll. The Mountaineers have not lost a match since Aug. 23 and have gone 11-0-1 in their 12 matches since. The defending Big 12 champion has already built a goal differential of +30 this season, having only allowed four opponent goals in 2015.
The West Virginia offense has been among the best in the NCAA this season, leading the nation in shots per game (24.9) and is ranked in the top-20 in goals per game (2.43), points per game (7.1) and shots-on-goal per game (10.0). The Mountaineers have been shutout just once this year and have scored eight goals in their last four outings. WVU has gotten 40.1 percent of its tries on frame. Seven different players have recorded at least two goals on the season. Sophomore forward Michaela Abam leads her team and the Big 12 with nine goals this season, while senior forward Kailey Utley is tops on her squad with six assists. Eight different Mountaineers have posted at least 15 shots this season, with Abam leading the way via her 77 shots.
The WVU defense has been tough to crack this year, posting an NCAA-leading 11 shutouts and allowing only four opponent goals. West Virginia has allowed an average of 4.9 opponent shots in its first 14 games and has given up no more than nine opponent shots in a single game this season. Senior goalkeeper Hannah Steadman has started in goal in each of WVU’s 14 outings. She has tallied 21 saves for an average of 1.7 per appearance and has collected eight solo shutouts. She also is boasting a goals-against average of 0.31 and a save percentage of .840.
Izzo-Brown is in her 20th season as the head coach of the West Virginia women’s soccer program. In her previous 19 seasons, Izzo-Brown has coached 18 All-Americans, 16 Academic All-Americans and 16 conference players of the year. The Mountaineers entered the program’s 20th season having made an appearance in each of the last 15 NCAA Tournaments, the country’s eighth-longest streak.
LAST TIME OUT
For the second time in as many games, the Kansas soccer team netted a game-winning goal in the waning minutes of the match as the Jayhawks topped the Oklahoma Sooners, 1-0, Oct. 11 inside Rock Chalk Park. Senior Ashley Williams sent in her third goal of the season with 80 seconds remaining in regulation to give Kansas its sixth win in its last seven games.
In a match that was nearly identical to KU’s double overtime defeat of Baylor two nights prior, Kansas again found itself locked in a scoreless draw with seconds left in regulation. However, unlike Friday, KU was intent on ending Sunday’s match in regulation.
With 90 seconds remaining, the Jayhawks used a goal kick to spark an attack. Freshman Grace Hagan flicked the ball downfield where Williams was able to run on to the pass. The Albuquerque, New Mexico product then evaded the last defender as she entered the Oklahoma penalty area. From 10 yards away she let loose a strike that the Oklahoma keeper was unable to stop as the ball found the inside of the far post. The goal came with 80 seconds remaining in regulation and marked the eighth goal this season Kansas has scored within the final 15 minutes of regulation or overtime.
LET’S GET DEFENSIVE
While the Jayhawk offense has been potent over the last three weekends, the defense has been just as impressive. With four shutouts coming in its last five outings, Kansas has lowered its goals-against average to 0.88 overall and 0.47 in conference play, the third-lowest in the Big 12. The Jayhawks have allowed just 13 goals on the year and only two over their last five games. KU is currently riding a 303 minute opponent scoring streak, the 11th-longest streak in school history, and the third streak longer than 290 minutes since the start of the 2014 season.
Kansas opponents’ lack of goal scoring may be attributed to the Jayhawks’ ability to keep the opposing team’s shot on goal percentage low. Of the 174 shots KU has allowed this season, opponents are putting just under 40 percent those on target and only getting 7.5 percent of those shots past goalkeeper, Maddie Dobyns.
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 six wins in its seven most recent outings, which has helped KU turn around the season. 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 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 seven games since, the Jayhawks have shot in 14 goals, which have been scored by seven different players. KU has also averaged 18 shots in those seven outings and has put nearly 43 percent of them on target.
It wasn’t just the Kansas offense that has seen marked improvement in the last four 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 seven games since, allowed only four opponent goals to find the back of their net, which has included four 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 seven matches, that number has dropped to a minuscule 31.7 percent.
KU has seen numerous instances of late-game heroics already this year. Of the 19 goals Kansas has scored this season, 10 of them have come within the final 25 minutes of regulation or in overtime. Six KU game-winning goals have also come within the final 25 minutes of action, including Ashley Williams’ goal in the 89th minute versus Oklahoma (10/11).
Speaking of game-winners, a total of four different Jayhawks have posted at least one game-winning goal this season.
The Jayhawks have become well acclimated to life away from the friendly confines of Rock Chalk Park this season with eight of their 14 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 19 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 almost a third of the team’s total shots (76), seven of their teammates can boast adding 10 or more attempts to the team’s total of 234.
This is a trend that 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. 57 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 13th-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-90. The conference’s high ranking also means the Jayhawks will get plenty of chances to up their national standing as three of their next four contests will be against teams currently ranked inside the top-90 of the RPI.
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.
OUTSTANDING IN OVERTIME
Kansas’ win over Baylor on Oct. 9 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 74 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 74-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 38-1-2 in those games, which already includes a 6-0-0 mark this year. The Jayhawks’ win against Oklahoma on Oct. 11 marked their 28th-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 74-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.
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 50 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 40-7-3. Kansas was won or drawn all but seven matches in which it has scored, including a 23-4-0 record in those instances this season and last.
THIS DAY IN KU SOCCER HISTORY:
OCTOBER 16, 2009 – Sophomore Emily Cressy’s goal in the 73rd minute broke a one-all tie and powered Kansas to a 2-1 triumph over Oklahoma Friday night at John Crain Soccer Field. The Jayhawks’ first conference win on the road improved the team to 10-5-1 overall and 2-4 in Big 12 play, while the Sooners fell to 7-8-1 overall and 2-5 in the conference.
KU dominated the pace of play for most of the evening, but it took a second half goal by Cressy to give the Jayhawks the win. In the 73rd minute, freshman Shelby Williamson sent a through ball from the middle of the field to the top of the box, where Cressy gathered, took two steps and fired a shot into the near side of the net. It was Cressy’s seventh goal, and fourth game-deciding tally this season. Williamson recorded two assists in Friday’s match.
The Jayhawks will once again hit the road next weekend for their final away matches of the Big 12 slate. KU will kick off the weekend with a match against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m., in Lubbock. Two days later the Jayhawks will meet up with the Oklahoma State Cowgirls in Stillwater. Kickoff from the Cowgirl Soccer Complex is slated for 1 p.m.
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