Kansas to Meet Big 12 Elite in West Virginia, Baylor this Weekend
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas soccer team will see a pair of tests this weekend when it goes up against the reigning Big 12 regular season champion, No. 6 West Virginia, Friday night in Morgantown. The Jayhawks and Mountaineers are slated to kick off at 7 p.m. (ET). Two days later Kansas will play host to the defending Big 12 tournament champion Baylor Bears in Lawrence. The teams will hit the pitch at 1 p.m. for match that will be televised on Time Warner Cable Sports and ESPN3.
Jayhawks on the Air
Fans will be able to watch the Jayhawks take on the Mountaineers in Morgantown by logging on to West Virginia’s free web stream at wvusports.com. Live stats will also be available by clicking on the live stats link under the multimedia tab.
Sunday’s match marks the third of four televised matches for the Jayhawks in 2013. Nearly 86 million homes will be able to tune in and watch Kansas take on Baylor as Kansas City’s local channel Time Warner Sports and ESPN3 team up to bring the action to fans. Dave Stewart and Huw Williams will call the action, which can be accessed anywhere outside the state of Kansas by logging on to ESPN3.com or the WatchESPN app. Fans inside Kansas and the Kansas City Metro area can catch the match by tuning in to Time Warner Sports (formerly Metro Sports). Don’t forget to follow on Twitter at @KUWSoccer for another great way to stay connected to KU Soccer.
Kansas will meet its relatively new conference foe, West Virginia, for just the second time in program history and the first time in Morgantown. Last season, in the teams’ first meeting, the Mountaineers pulled out a 1-0 win in Lawrence despite KU outshooting WVU 23-14. Kansas and Baylor will meet for 18th time with the Bears leading the all-time series 9-6-2, however, all six of the Jayhawks’ wins over BU came in Lawrence.
About the Jayhawks
Kansas (5-7-2) is currently enduring a four-match winless streak after falling to TCU in Lawrence last weekend. KU currently sits at 128 in the most recent NCAA PRI rankings, but will see four teams ranked in the top-60 of the national list in its five remaining matches, giving the Jayhawks plenty of opportunities to bump up that rank before postseason play hits.
The Kansas offense has been somewhat stale of late, going scoreless in its first three conference games after putting in six goals in its previous three matches. The Jayhawks are still averaging the fourth most shots per game in the Big 12, tallying 15.7 per game, but have had issues with accuracy as they have only managed to get 6.8 percent of their shots to the back of the net. Senior Caroline Kastor leads the squad in both goals and assists, notching four and three, respectively. Junior Jamie Fletcher has put in the fourth-most shots among Big 12 players this season with 43.
The Kansas defense has been strong this season, allowing just over one opponent goal per game. The Jayhawk defense has stepped it up when playing at home though, giving up .86 goals per match in Lawrence. Goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud has played in goal for every minute of KU’s season thus far and has tallied four shutouts on the year. She leads Big 12 goalkeepers in saves per match, amassing 4.9 per match, just five off her career best in a season. The junior is boasting a 1.11 goals against average as well as a .810 save percentage.
Scouting the Mountaineers
West Virginia (11-2-2) is currently in the middle of a seven-game winning streak which has vaulted the Mountaineers to first in the Big 12 standings with a 5-0-0 conference record. Both of the Mountaineers’ losses and one of their ties this season came to teams currently ranked in the top-25.
The WVU offense is one of the best in the nation having scored 38 goals already this year, the eighth most in the NCAA. The Mountaineers have tallied the most shots in the Big 12 this season at 262 but have managed to put only 38 percent of those on frame. Kate Schwindel and Frances Silva lead their team, and the conference, with 10 goals apiece with Frances third in the NCAA with her 11 assists already in 2013.
West Virginia has allowed seven goals through five games of league play and is giving up 9.6 opponent shots per match. Senior goalkeeper Sara Keene has started all 15 of her team’s matches and is giving up 1.30 opponent goals per 90 minutes. Her .677 save percentage is ninth among the nine full-time Big 12 keepers.
Nikki Izzo-Brown is in her 18th year as the head coach of the West Virginia women’s soccer program. She ranks in the top-20 among active NCAA DI coaches with her 259 wins and a .702 winning percentage. Izzo-Brown has never had a losing season as a head coach and has led WVU to 13-straight 10-plus win seasons.
Scouting the Bears
Baylor (8-3-3), like Kansas, is currently in the middle of a four-match winless streak and has managed only one win through four games of conference play after winning five league games a year ago. Prior to its loss to West Virginia on Sept. 29, the Bears had not lost a game in 31-straight matches.
The BU offense managed to put in 21 goals during its nine non-conference matches but its goals per game average has dipped to 1.4 in Big 12 play. The Bears are amassing 17.1 shots per match and have been fairly accurate with their attempts, putting 51 percent of them on frame. Sophomore forward Bri Campos leads her team with five goals in 2013 and is tied for the team lead in assists with Justine Hovden, each boasting three helpers.
Marci Jobson is in her sixth season as the head coach of the Baylor squad. During her time in Waco she has amassed a record of 66-32-21, which includes 42 wins in her team’s last 61 outings.
Shots on Frame Ain’t Lame
Through 14 matches this season Kansas is putting just 39.5 percent of its shots on goal and is averging just 4.3 shots on target in its first three conference matches. Combined, the goalkeepers for the Jayhawks’ five remaining opponents have been able to make a save only 75 percent of the time when faced with a shot on frame, meaning on average, if KU can put eight shots on goal over each of their final five regular-season contests, it should post at least two goals in each. Scoring two goals per game in the last three weeks of the season could easily translate into victories for the Jayhawks, as they have held 11 of their 14 opponents to one goal or fewer this year.
All collegiate squads which are putting 48 percent or more of their shots on goal and have had a minimum of 200 shots this year are boasting an average winning percentage of 63 percent. KU just needs to see 7.5 shots on goal in conjunction with its current 15.7 shot per game average to attain that magic 48 percent plateau. If that average plays out for the Jayhawks, they should see at least three more victories in their last five games.
Kansas is currently seeing one of its most prolific scoring defense stretches in program history as the Jayhawks have allowed just 36 goals over their last 30 matches. The mark is KU’s lowest in a 30-game span since the Sept. 11, 2005-Oct. 22, 2006 streak when the team let in 32 goals in 30 games. Kansas’ best defensive run came between Oct. 26, 2003-Nov. 14, 2004 when those squads only gave up 17 opponent goals in its previous 30 matches.
Odds and Ends
- Over its last 37 games, Kansas is 17-3-4 when scoring at least one goal, including a 5-1-1 mark this season.
- Caroline Kastor is currently the active Big 12 leader in career points (62) and assists (14).
- Over the last two seasons (34 games), 11 of KU’s 15 loses have come by just one goal.
- Friday Kansas will try to avoid becoming just the second team in the Mark Francis era to be shutout in four-straight matches. The only other occurrence came in when the 2007 Jayhawks were blanked in four-consecutive matches. No Francis team has been held scoreless in five-straight games.
- KU has already amassed seven yellows in 14 games this season after earning just one caution in 20 games last year.
- Senior Caroline Kastor needs just three more goals to pass Rachel Gilfillan (2001-04) to sit alone at No. 2 on Kansas’ all-time goal scoring charts.
- Head coach Mark Francis needs just six more victories to hit 200 for his collegiate coaching career.
- KU is currently enduring a scoreless stretch of 307:49, its second goalless streak over 300 minutes this season.
Stroud Seeing Career Year
KU’s junior goalkeeper is seeing the most efficient year of her career this season and is on career-high pace in nearly every statistical category including goals allowed average, wins, shutouts and saves. She has already moved to fifth on KU’s all-time saves chart with her 68 stops on the year and needs only two more wins to move into fourth all-time among KU goalkeepers. Her 68 saves so far this season are the second-most by a KU keeper after 14 games since 2000, giving her a good chance to move high up on the single-season saves list come year’s end.
First to Score, Wins Galore
Over its past 34 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 34-game span, the Jayhawks have been on the losing end only once in the games which they have put in the match’s first score. Kansas has amassed a record of 15-1-2 in those games. On the flip side, KU hasn’t been quite as fortunate when its opponents have gotten on the board first. Kansas has not won a match in that same 34-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. The Jayhawks are 0-15-1 in those games over the last two seasons, including a 0-7-0 mark this year.
Kansas’ difficult October schedule continues next weekend when the Jayhawks journey south for a pair of road contests. KU will kick off the weekend when it visits the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock for a 7 p.m., kickoff on Oct. 25. Kansas will then travel to Stillwater, Okla., for a 12 p.m. matchup with the Oklahoma State Cowgirls two days later.