Kansas Soccer Kicks Off Big Weekend at No. 21 Texas Tech Friday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas soccer team will look to tally its sixth road win of the season when it goes up against the 21st-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock on Friday, Oct. 23. The Jayhawks are winners of six of their last eight games and will look to pick up their first win over the Red Raiders since 2009. Kickoff from John Walker Soccer Complex is set for 7:15 p.m. (CT).
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Despite having to endure a 6-0 loss at third-ranked West Virginia last week, their worst loss in conference play in seven seasons, the Jayhawks still have much to play for as Kansas kicks off the final two weekends of regular-season play. KU has already clinched its spot at the Big 12 Championship to be held in Kansas City, Missouri Nov. 4-8 and still has the ability to claim the No. 2 seed in the league tournament.
The KU offense is starting to pick up steam of late, scoring 14 goals and averaging almost 18 shots in its last eight matches. On the season, Kansas is averaging almost 16.3 shots per match and is putting 39.3 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 squad’s 15 assists.
The Jayhawk defense allowed at least one goal in all but one of its first nine outings, but recently wrapped up a 307-minute opponent scoreless streak, the program’s 10th-longest ever. Jayhawk opponents have notched 13.1 shots per game with a total of 79 on target, or an average of 5.3 per match. Sophomore Maddie Dobyns has started all 16 matches in goal for the Jayhawks. She is boasting a save percentage of .770 and has a goals-against average of 1.13 with 57 saves in nearly 1,400 minutes of action.
ABOUT THE RED RAIDERS
The 21st-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders have hit a rough patch over the last two weekends, going winless in their last three outings, which followed an unbeaten streak of 12-straight matches. TTU has played six conference matches but has claimed only one victory and three ties in those six outings.
The Texas Tech offense has been solid this season, only being shut out on three occasions and scoring multiple goals seven times. The Red Raiders are averaging 1.44 goals and over 14 shots per match. TTU has also gotten 43 percent of its tries on frame. Five different players have recorded at least two goals on the season. Senior forward Janine Beckie leads her team and is second in the Big 12 with nine goals this season, while senior midfielder Ali Murphy is tops on her squad with five assists. Seven different Red Raiders have posted at least 10 shots this season, with Beckie leading the way via her 70 shots.
The TTU defense has been up and down this year, recently allowing seven goals in its last three outings but posting six shutouts in its 12 games prior. Texas Tech has allowed an average of 13.0 opponent shots in its first 16 games, in which Red Raider opponents are getting 5.3 shots on frame per match. Junior goalkeeper Lauren Watson has started in goal in all but one of TTU’s 16 outings. She has tallied 65 saves for an average of 4.1 per appearance and has collected five solo shutouts. She also is boasting a goals-against average of 0.81 and a save percentage of .833.
Tom Stone is in his ninth season as the head coach of the Texas Tech women’s soccer program. In his first eight seasons with the Red Raiders, Stone amassed a 94-54-16 record for a .622 winning percentage that is the highest for any coach in program history. Stone is the only Texas Tech coach to lead the Red Raiders to the NCAA Tournament, including the team’s first ever trip to the Sweet 16 in 2014.
LAST TIME OUT
Two goals in the opening 20 minutes as well as a brace from West Virginia senior Amanda Hill lifted the third-ranked Mountaineers to a 6-0 win over the Kansas Jayhawks Friday night inside Dick Dlesk Stadium. The loss dropped the Jayhawks to 8-6-1 in 2015 and 3-2-0 in Big 12 play. West Virginia extended its unbeaten streak to 13 games and moved to 13-1-1 in its season with a 4-0-1 clip in conference action.
In a night where seemingly nothing went the Jayhawks’ way, it was a less than ideal start for KU, who found themselves facing an early deficit against one of the most potent offenses in the nation. West Virginia got on the board less than four minutes into the match when a shot from senior forward Kailey Utley was deflected to the back of the KU net by a Jayhawk defender. The Utley goal brought the Kansas opponent scoreless streak to an end at 307 minutes, which is the 10th-longest streak in program history.
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 already this year, when they took down another pair of schools in SMU and North Texas in late August. 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, when KU journeys to take on Texas Tech this weekend. TTU has won two of the last three matches against the Jayhawks on its home turf.
LET’S GET DEFENSIVE
KU recently closed out a 307 minute opponent scoring streak, the 10th-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 197 shots KU has allowed this season, opponents are putting just 40 percent those on target and only getting 9.6 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 rattled off six wins in its next seven outings, which 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 its next seven games, the Jayhawks shot in 14 goals, which were 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, 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 to follow, allowed only four opponent goals to find the back of their net, which 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 its next 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 nine of their 15 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 16 true road games since the start of the 2014 season, amassing a record of 10-5-1, which includes a 5-3-1 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 1.09, have tallied six clean sheets and have outshot teams by an average of 14.1-12.3 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 18 goals, tallying 71 saves and amassing a save percentage of .798.
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 (78), seven of their teammates can boast adding 10 or more attempts to the team’s total of 244.
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. 58 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 14th-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-85. The conference’s high ranking also means the Jayhawks will get plenty of chances to up their national standing as two of their next three 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 75 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 75-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 75-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. The Jayhawks are 2-30-1 in those games over the last three years, including an 0-6-0 mark in 2014 and a 2-6-0 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 23, 2005 – Kansas senior Kimberly Karfonta broke a 1-1 tie with 3:16 remaining in the match to lead KU past Texas, 2-1, at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex. KU improved to 10-6-2 on the season and recorded the program’s first-ever victory over the Longhorns.
Caroline Smith set up the game-winner when she slipped a pass to Karfonta inside the box allowing the senior to shoot and score from 10 yards out. The goal was Karfonta’s third of the season, and second game-winning tally of her career. Smith recorded her second assist of the match and 22nd of her career. The Jayhawks outshot the Longhorns, 20-10, including 12-4 in the second half. Julie Hanley improved to 5-1-0 in goal for KU while recording five saves.
The Jayhawks will play in their final road match of the 2015 regular season when they meet up with the Oklahoma State Cowgirls in Stillwater on Sunday, October 25. Kickoff from the Cowgirl Soccer Complex is slated for 1 p.m.
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