|Stats at a Glance
|Shot on Goal %
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas Jayhawks are set to close out its regular season slate with a trip to Norman, Oklahoma to take on the Sooners on Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. KU will look to clinch a second-place finish in the Big 12 with a win or draw in the match set to be televised on Fox Sports Southwest+ and Fox College Sports Central.
Over the Airwaves
Fans will be able to follow the Jayhawks in every match this year by listening to the free, live radio broadcast via leanStream on KUAthletics.com. To listen to Derek Johnson’s call, fans can visit the free online player located at KUAthletics.com/Radio.
About the Jayhawks
Kansas, which checked in at No. 14 in the latest NSCAA coaches’ poll, is coming off a 2-1 win over Iowa State in its regular-season home finale in Lawrence last weekend. The Jayhawks lead the Big 12 in several categories including goals allowed and shutouts and have already clinched a spot in the league tournament to be held in Kansas City’s Swope Soccer Village Nov. 5-9.
Junior Liana Salazar leads the squad with her 11 goals. The mark is second in the Big 12 as are her 26 points and 53 shots. Three other Jayhawks have tallied three or more goals. The Jayhawk offense has netted 33 goals, eight of which have come in Big 12 play. KU is averaging nearly six shots on goal per game but and managing to get almost 33 percent of those to the back of the net. Kansas attacks through several players, as 11 different Jayhawks have notched at least one goal this year and 14 different players have managed to tally five or more shots on the year.
The KU defense has been one of the best in the nation this season, allowing just 11 goals and limiting its opponents to 11 shots per match. Senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud has posted a 0.58 goals against average in 17 games between the posts with the help of a league-leading .875 save percentage. Kansas has allowed more than one opponent goal in only one match this year, to No. 10 West Virginia on Oct. 19.
About the Sooners
Oklahoma began its season with only one loss in its first eight outings, highlighted by a 2-1 win over then-No. 6 Florida, however OU is currently riding a five-game winless streak, with losses in each of its last four Big 12 outings. The Sooners have played in seven overtime games this season, going 3-1-3 in those extra time matches.
Oklahoma has scored 22 goals this year which includes 13 goals scored in games played in Norman. The Sooners are notching nearly 11 shots per game and putting over 41 percent of those on frame. Junior forward Devin Barrett leads the squad with five goals this year while sophomore midfielder Shiloh Price and junior defender Laura Rayfield are tied for the team lead in assists with four each.
The Oklahoma defense has allowed 18 opponent goals in 2014, which includes nine in Big 12 play. OU has tallied six shutouts in 2014 and has held opponents to one goal in seven additional outings. Sooner opponents have posted just over 11 shots per match, including nearly five shots on goal per game. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Kaitlyn Fahrner has played the majority of the season between the posts for OU, amassing 58 saves, stopping 77 percent of the shots put on goal and tallying four shutouts. Fahrner’s 3.4 saves per game ranks sixth among Big 12 keepers.
Matt Potter is in his third season as the head coach at OU. Potter has guided the Sooners to a 19-29-8 record in his two-plus seasons in Norman. Prior to his arrival at Oklahoma, Potter established Washington State’s program into one of the Pac-12’s elite with a school record 88 wins (88-69-26 overall) at the helm.
So Long, Seniors
Friday’s match will mark the final regular-season game for Jayhawk seniors Jamie Fletcher, Ali Kimura, Kelsey Lyden, Kaitlyn Stroud, Caroline Van Slambrouck and Haley Yearout. These six have seen 43 KU victories in their four seasons in Lawrence and have helped their team to its fourth-straight Big 12 tournament berth. Combined, these six accumulated 238 starts and have played over 22,000 minutes in the Crimson and Blue. This senior class is also just the second in program history to have three players who have each tallied 5,000 minutes or more.
Just One Will Do It
The 2014 Jayhawks have carried on an impressive trend that has developed over the last two years when it comes to scoring. Since the start of the 2012 season the Kansas soccer team has scored at least one goal in 38 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 32-3-3. Kansas was won or drawn all but three matches in which they have scored, which includes a perfect 15-0-0 record this season.
The one goal trend has obviously proven fruitful for Kansas this season as, until KU’s most recent loss to West Virginia, the Jayhawks held their opponents to one goal or less in each of their first 16 matches of the year. That 16-match streak is the second-longest in program history and is only topped by the 2003 and 2004 squads, which combined to hold 29-straight opponents to one goal or fewer from Oct. 19, 2003- Nov. 3, 2004.
This year’s Kansas squad is bearing a striking resemblance to another notable KU team, perhaps the most successful in the program’s history. The 2004 Jayhawks won a program record 18 games and claimed the school’s first and only Big 12 regular-season title. That team is one which several of the Kansas squads that have followed it have tried to replicate but this year’s team is doing the best job.
A quick comparison of both teams’ stat sheets at the same point in their respective seasons show some remarkable similarities. Each team featured a potent offense scoring almost two goals per match and featured a star goal scorer. Future All-American Caroline Smith led the team with 11 goals in 2004 while Liana Salazar has already put in 11 goals this year. While the offenses for each squad were good, the two teams’ defenses were even better. The 2004 Jayhawks allowed a mere six goals through 18 games with the 2014 squad conceding just 11 goals. Both figures led the conference at that point in the year. Both the 2004 and 2014 Jayhawks also touted impressive goal differential of +21 or better following their first 17 outings.
Each team also had more than 10 different goal scorers at the 15-match mark, hadn’t allowed more than one goal in a match and tallied two opponent scoreless streaks of 290 minutes or longer. The squads had a gritty and aggressive make-up, with both teams committing around 11 fouls per game and already having earned 10 or more yellow cards.
Both groups also were able to string a good number of wins together in the first halves of their seasons. The 2004 squad began its season with six-straight wins. The feat has only been topped one other time in school history, when the 2014 Jayhawks rattled off eight-in-a-row to begin this year.
Save It, Stroud!
Kansas’ senior goalkeeper, Kaitlyn Stroud, is quickly putting together one of the greatest seasons a Jayhawk keeper has ever seen. The Fayetteville, Georgia native is boasting a career-low goals against average of 0.58, which leads the Big 12 and is only topped by 16 other keepers in the NCAA who have logged more than 1,000 minutes. She has saved 88 percent of the shots KU opponents have put on frame, which is also the best in the conference and ranks 15th in the nation.
Stroud is on pace to set all sorts of school records. If her stellar defense continues at this pace, she’ll set a new single-season best in goals-against average and tally the second-most wins by a KU keeper in a single season. Megan Miller (2001-04) currently holds the record in each of the goalkeeping categories with a GAA of 0.57, a save percentage of .881 and 11 shutouts, all of which came in 2004.
On the career goalkeeping charts, Stroud has continued to move up this year. She currently sits third on the all-time saves chart with 269 stops. Her 1.19 career goals-against average is the second-lowest by a Jayhawk and her .794 save percentage is No. 3 on the KU charts. Stroud’s 13 career shutouts rank third all-time and are just three shy of tying Julie Hanley for second on the all-time shutouts list.
Turning Things Around
Still with one regular season game and the postseason to play, the 2014 Jayhawks have already achieved one of the best turnarounds in program history. Last season, Kansas won seven games and tied twice, while this year’s team has already picked up eight more victories and still has one regular-season game to go. This mark ties program’s best turnaround which belongs to the 2003 squad that also won seven more games than the year prior.
Head coach Mark Francis is no stranger to monumental turnarounds. After a 2-17 season during first season at South Alabama, Francis led the Jaguars to an 18-3-1 mark during the 1997 season. The 16-win turnaround is still the biggest in NCAA Division I soccer history.
First to Score, Wins Galore
Over its past 58 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 58-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 32-1-2 in those games, which includes a 15-0-0 mark this year.
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 game in that same 58-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. The Jayhawks are 0-21-1 in those games over the last two years, including an 0-3-0 mark this year.
Let’s Get Defensive
While the Jayhawk offense has been as potent as the program has seen in some time, the defense has been just as impressive. With eight shutouts this season, Kansas is currently boasting a goals-against average of 0.61, the lowest in the Big 12 and the 19th-best mark in the nation. The Jayhawks have allowed just 11 goals on the year and no more than one opponent goal in all but one match. KU went 298 minutes without conceding a goal from Sept. 5-19, the 11th-longest streak in school history, and also wrapped up a 360-minute long streak, which ranks fifth in school history.
Kansas opponents’ lack of goal scoring may be attributed to the Jayhawks’ ability to keep the opposing team’s shot percentage low. Of the 199 shots KU has allowed this season, opponents are putting just over 40 percent of those on target and only getting 13 percent of those shots on frame past goalkeeper, Kaitlyn Stroud, and into the back of the net.
With the release of the latest Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) report by the NCAA this week, several good signs stick out for the Jayhawks. Kansas checked in at No. 17 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 third-straight week the Jayhawks sat inside the top-20.
This week’s report shows that the Big 12 is among the nation’s toughest conferences after the first three weeks of league play. The conference tallied the second-highest ranking in the week’s RPI and boasts seven of its nine teams inside the top-50. The Big 12’s high ranking also means the Jayhawks will get plenty of chances to up their national standing with No. 58 Oklahoma on tap for KU’s final regular-season game as well as the Big 12 Championship which could pit the Jayhawks against several more highly-ranked squads.
Through 18 games this season, Kansas has proven itself to be an aggressive squad in terms of fouls and cautions. The Jayhawks have been whistled for 179 fouls in 2014, which equates to around 10 fouls per match. That mark is the third-most among Big 12 teams this year and is the highest average by a Kansas team in four seasons.
KU has also become quite familiar with the referee’s yellow card this season as the Jayhawks have been already been cautioned on 12 different occasions. This total is a stark contrast from recent Kansas squads. During the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Kansas was shown yellow just 16 times, which included KU earning only one yellow throughout the entire 2012 campaign.
While this aggressive style of play may worry some, it has boded well for past Kansas squads. Four of the five Kansas teams that have advanced to the NCAA Tournament averaged 10.5 or more fouls per match and were each carded at least 12 times during their seasons.
Spreading the Wealth
The Kansas offense has shown that it could be a tough assignment for opposing defenses this year after a host of Jayhawks have made their presence known on the stat sheet. Fourteen different Jayhawks have had their hand in at least one of the Jayhawks’ 33 goals thus far in 2014, either scoring or assisting. Five additional players have managed to tally at least one shot. While Liana Salazar has notched over 20 percent of the team’s total shots (53), no other Jayhawk has taken more than 12 percent of the team’s total shots (243) thus far. Eighteen players have combined for the remaining 190 shots.
A year ago, the KU offense was slightly more one sided as only three different players had combined for nearly 60 percent of the team’s shots during the entire year.
This Day in Kansas Soccer History
OCTOBER 31, 2003 – The Jayhawks claimed a Halloween victory on the final day of the 2003 regular season when they defeated Oklahoma State, 2-0, in Lawrence. Jessica Kilpatrick shot in her third goal of the year in the 15 minute of play to give her team the early advantage. Kansas player with a one-goal lead until the 63rd minute when Rachel Gilfillan netted her third goal of 2003 with the help of Kilpatrick on the assist. The win marked the ninth shutout of the year for goalkeeper Meghan Miller and the KU defense and earned the Jayhawks the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Championship, the program’s highest up to the point.
With a win or tie against Oklahoma Friday evening, the Jayhawks will clinch the No. 2 seed for the Big 12 Tournament to be hosted in Kansas City’s Swope Soccer Village, Nov. 5-9. If Kansas claims the No. 2 seed, its first match of the tournament will be at 5:30 p.m. against the No. 7 seeded team. If the Jayhawks are the No. 3 seed they will play the No. 6 seed at 8 p.m., Nov. 5. Each game of the tournament will be available to watch via a free live stream through Big12Sports.com, with the championship match to be televised on Fox Sports1.
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