Jayhawks to See Pair of Road Tests in No. 18 Texas Tech, Oklahoma State
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas soccer will be put to the test once again this weekend when it goes on the road for two games against teams in the top-50 of the NCAA RPI and neither of which have lost a match in October. The Jayhawks will first meet up with the No. 18-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders on Friday, Oct. 25 in Lubbock for a 7 p.m., kickoff. KU will then head north two days later to take on the Oklahoma State Cowgirls in Stillwater. KU and OSU are scheduled to hit the pitch at 12 p.m., Sunday.
Follow the Jayhawks
Fans will be able to watch the Jayhawks take on both the Red Raiders and Cowgirls this weekend by logging on to each school’s respective web streams. Texas Tech will host its stream via subscription at TexassTech.tv., while the match against Oklahoma State can be seen at OKState.tv, also with a subscription. Live stats will also be available for both games by clicking on the live stats link under the multimedia tab on each school’s website. Don’t forget to follow through Twitter for live in-game updates at @KUWSoccer.
Kansas will meet Texas Tech for the 20th time Friday night, boasting an advantage in the all-time series of 12-6-1. The Red Raiders came out on top in both meetings a year ago, with the second a 2-0 win in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament. Prior to last season’s losses, KU had won seven of the previous nine meetings. The Jayhawks and Cowgirls have played each other even in their first 19 matchups, playing to a 8-8-3 series record. Kansas knocked off then-No. 7 Oklahoma State last season in Lawrence after failing to beat the Cowgirls in its previous seven tries.
About the Jayhawks
Kansas (6-8-2) broke a five-match winless streak last weekend and picked up its first Big 12 win after shutting out Baylor 2-0 in Lawrence. KU, who currently sits at 110 in the most recent NCAA PRI rankings, will meet two teams this weekend who see themselves in the top-50 of the national standings, giving the Jayhawks a prime opportunity to bump up their rank before postseason play hits.
The Kansas offense saw some success last weekend with two goals against Baylor after going scoreless in its previous 408 minutes. Senior Caroline Kastor leads the squad in both goals and assists, notching five and three, respectively. Junior Jamie Fletcher has put in the fourth-most shots among Big 12 players this season with 50 and is tied for the team lead with three assists.
The Kansas defense has been strong this season, allowing just over one opponent goal per game and only four goals through five league matches. Goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud has played in goal for every minute of KU’s season thus far and has tallied five shutouts on the year. She leads Big 12 goalkeepers in saves per game, amassing five per match, and has already posted a career high with her 80 saves on the year. The junior is boasting a 1.09 goals against average as well as a .816 save percentage, the second highest in the Big 12.
Scouting the Red Raiders
Texas Tech (13-1-2) is currently in the middle of a 12-game unbeaten streak which has vaulted the Red Raiders in to the top-25 in the latest NSCAA Coaches poll. With three games remaining in league play, TTU is unbeaten in the Big 12 and sits in third in the overall standings. The Red Raiders lone loss of the season came at the hands of Long Beach State seven weeks ago.
The TTU offense is outscoring its opponents by two goals this season but that goal differential has decreased to +0.8 in Big 12 play. The Red Raiders are second in the Big 12 in shots, tallying over 17 per game and have been relatively accurate with their chances, getting just over 46 percent of those on frame. The reigning Big 12 player of the year, sophomore Janine Beckie leads her squad with six goals on the year. Beckie’s 57 shots also lead her team, as do her four assists.
The Texas Tech defense is among the best in the NCAA, allowing only 0.36 goals per 90 minutes, the third fewest in NCAA Division I. The Red Raider back line is giving up just 7.5 opponent shots per game. Goalkeeper Victoria Esson has started all 16 of her team’s matches and has allowed only six goals in that span. Her .867 save percentage is the best among Big 12 keepers.
Tom Stone is in his seventh year as the head coach of the Red Raiders. He has amassed a record of 73-49-13 during his time in Lubbock and took the team to the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2012.
Scouting the Cowgirls
Oklahoma State (6-3-6), like Texas Tech, hasn’t lost a game in the month of October. The Cowgirls have played to a school record six draws, including three in five conference contests. OSU’s last loss came in its first Big 12 game of the year to first-place West Virginia in Stillwater on Sept. 27.
The OSU offense is scoring 1.53 goals per match on the shoulders of 12 shots per game. Freshman Courtney Dike is leading the Big 12 with her 11 goals on just 44 shots. Dike and teammate Allie Stephenson have combined for 38 of the team’s 62 points on the year.
The Cowgirls have been stout defensively of late, allowing only three goals in their last five contests. Opponents are managing to get nearly 16 shots off per game but OSU is letting 37.7 percent of those on target. OSU has had a pair of keepers tally almost equal time this season in Madina Rosa and Michela Ongara. Ongaro has played all five conference contests, posting a 0.68 goals against average and a .833 saves percentage.
Colin Carmichael is in his ninth season as the head coach of the Oklahoma State squad. During his time in Stillwater he has amassed a record of 132-39-28, which includes six-straight trips to the NCAA Tournament from 2006-11.
No Thanks to the Ranks
When the Jayhawks go up against No. 18 Texas Tech Friday night, it will be the third-straight game in which Kansas has played a nationally-ranked opponent. This trying stretch has happened to the Jayhawks only once before when, in 2008, KU had to play at #18 Missouri, #8 Texas A&M and #18 Missouri again, all in succession. In its last eight meetings with top-25 squads, Kansas has seen some success with a record of 3-3-2. All-time, the Jayhawks have amassed a record of 19-52-7 against top-25 teams, which includes last Sunday’s win over #23 Baylor.
Stroud’s Stretch Something to Celebrate
Junior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud is currently seeing one of the best stretches by a goalie in school history. Over the past seven games, Stroud has tallied 43 saves (6.1/game), posted a goals-against-average of .097 and seen a save percentage of .860. Under current head coach Mark Francis (since 1999), no keeper has ever turned in 6+ saves/game, a GAA of 1.0 or below and a save percentage of .850 or higher in a seven-game stretch.
The only Jayhawk keeper to achieve those stats was Jen Fecke in 1998. Fecke tallied 44 saves (6.2/game), a GAA of 1.00 and a save percentage of .863 in the seven matches between Sept. 18-Oct. 11.
With her two goals versus Baylor last week Caroline Kastor made school history. The senior out of Wichita put in her 25th and 26th career goals to help Kansas earn its first Big 12 victory but also moved herself up to No. 2 on Kansas’ all-time goal scoring chart. She also tallied the seventh game-winning goal of her career. Her 26 career goals ties her with Rachael Gilfillan for second all-time, which ranks second behind Caroline Smith’s program record 51 goals.
Odds and Ends
- Over its last 38 games, Kansas is 18-3-4 when scoring at least one goal, including a 6-1-1 mark this season.
- Last weekend, Kansas ended a 406:18 scoring drought versus Baylor, the third-longest scoreless streak in school history behind the 536:07 drought in 2007 and the 484:34 streak in 1998.
- Caroline Kastor is currently the active Big 12 leader in career points (66), goals (26) and assists (14).
- Over the last two seasons (34 games), 11 of KU’s 16 loses have come by one goal.
- Last Sunday, Caroline Kastor became the fourth Jayhawk in school history to tally three or more multi-goal games. (Caroline Smith – 11, Jessica Smith – 3, Natalie Hoogveld – 3)
- Head coach Mark Francis needs only five more victories to hit 200 for his collegiate coaching career.
In the first 13 games of this season, the Jayhawks were one of the most-often penalized teams in the nation in regards to offside calls, as the Jayhawks were called off almost three times per game (36 times in 13 games). Since then, KU hasn’t had an offside flag raised on it in its three most recent matches. Kansas’ three consecutive offside-free contests is its longest streak since 2007. The KU record for consecutive offside-less matches is five, set in 2000.
First to Score, Wins Galore
Over its past 36 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 36-game span, the Jayhawks have been on the losing end only once in the contests which they have put in the match’s first score. Kansas has amassed a record of 16-1-2 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 36-game stretch when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. The Jayhawks are 0-16-1 in those games over the last two seasons, including a 0-8-0 mark this year.
The Jayhawks will close out the regular season when they play host to the Oklahoma Sooners on Friday, Nov. 1. The game, which will mark the final home match for seniors Caroline Kastor, Madi Hillis and Shannon Renner, will also likely be the last game played at KU’s 18-year home field, the Jayhawk Soccer Complex, as KU’s new facility, Rock Chalk Park, is set to open next spring. Kansas and Oklahoma will hit the pitch for a 3 p.m., kickoff that will be televised on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel and ESPN3.