Kansas to Open Big 12 Championship with Oklahoma Rematch
Match Notes // Tickets // Tournament Central
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas soccer team is set to take part in the Big 12 Soccer Championship beginning Wednesday in Kansas City, Missouri. The third-seeded Jayhawks will meet the sixth-seeded Oklahoma Sooners in the quarterfinal match set for 8 p.m. at Swope Soccer Village. The two squads will meet just five days removed from their regular-season finale match, a 1-0 Oklahoma win.
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 and Nick Dodson’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 1-0 loss to the Sooners in its regular-season finale in Norman last weekend. The Jayhawks led the Big 12 in several categories during the regular season, including total victories, goals allowed and goals-against average.
Junior Liana Salazar leads the squad with her 11 goals. The mark is second in the Big 12, as are her 26 points and 54 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 and is managing to get almost 32 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 12 goals and limiting its opponents to 11 shots per match. Senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud has posted a 0.61 goals against average in 18 games between the posts with the help of a league-leading .867 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 ended its regular season by going winless in five of its last six matches, with the lone win coming against Kansas on Oct. 31. The Sooners have played in seven overtime games this season, going 3-1-3 in those extra time matches.
Oklahoma has scored 23 goals this year which includes 14 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 seven 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 62 saves, stopping over 78 percent of the shots put on goal and tallying five 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 20-29-8 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.
In the 18 years of the Big 12 Championship, Kansas has amassed a record of 3-10-3 in its 13 appearances. The Jayhawks have been a No. 3 seed twice before, defeating No. 6-seed Oklahoma before falling to eventual champion Oklahoma State in the semifinals of the 2003 tournament and losing to No. 6 seed Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals of the 2007 Big 12 Championship. Kansas is 3-8-2 all-time in Big 12 quarterfinal games.
In four of the Jayhawks’ last seven league championship appearances, they have played to a draw and gone to penalty kicks. However, they have failed to advance in all but one of those matches, with the lone win coming against Texas Tech in 2009.
For the first time in a decade, Kansas soccer saw three Jayhawks named to the All-Big 12 First Team as the postseason awards were released by the conference office Monday. In all, five Jayhawk student-athletes were recognized on the league’s postseason awards lists after the team finished 15-4 overall and earned the No. 3 seed in this week’s Big 12 Championship.
Liana Salazar, a native of Bogota, Colombia, found herself on the Big 12’s first team for the second-consecutive season after she was named to the All-Newcomer team three seasons ago as a freshman. The midfielder started all of KU’s 19 matches this season, scoring a team-leading 11 goals which ranked second in the Big 12. She also dished out four assists and scored four game-winning goals. Salazar’s selection marked the first time a Jayhawk has been unanimously selected to the league’s first team.
Caroline Van Slambrouck saw her name on the Big 12 First Team list for the first time in her successful KU career. The Kingwood, Texas native has played in 76 of 78 games as a Jayhawk, including 18 of 19 matches this season as one of the Jayhawks’ central defenders. With Van Slambrouck’s help, the KU defense allowed the fewest goals (12) in the Big 12 this season and tallied the second-lowest goals-against average in school history at 0.63 opponent goals per game.
Ashley Williams earned a spot on the first team for the first time after she was named to the All-Newcomer team as a freshman in 2012. The Albuquerque, New Mexico product was second on the team and fourth in the Big 12 with seven goals, six of which came in Kansas’ final 13 games. Williams’ four game-winning goals also ranked second in the Big 12.
Jamie Fletcher was selected to the All-Big 12 second team for the second time in her career. The senior out of Albuquerque drilled in two goals this season and added 32 shots after missing the first seven games of the year due to injury.
Rounding out the Kansas selections was freshman Kayla Morrison, who became the sixth KU freshman in the last six seasons to claim a spot on the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team. The Corona, California native started as an outside defender in all 19 of Kansas’ games this season, averaging 75 minutes per outing. Like Van Slambrouck, Morrison was a key instrument in the Jayhawks’ lockdown defense throughout the year, helping the squad to eight shutouts, which were the most by a Jayhawk team since 2006. The freshman also added a goal and an assist in her debut season in Lawrence.
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 it has 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.
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 0.61, which leads the Big 12 and is only topped by 18 other keepers in the NCAA who have logged more than 1,000 minutes. She has saved almost 87 percent of the shots KU opponents have put on frame, which is also the best in the conference and ranks 19th in the nation.
Stroud is on pace to tally one of the best seasons statistically ever seen by a KU keeper. If her stellar defense continues at this pace, she’ll record the second lowest single-season 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 276 stops. Her 1.18 career goals-against average is the second-lowest by a Jayhawk and her .793 save percentage is No. 2 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 the postseason on tap, 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 59 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 59-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 59-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. The Jayhawks are 0-22-1 in those games over the last two years, including a 0-4-0 mark this year.
With the release of the latest Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) report by the NCAA last week, several good signs stick out for the Jayhawks. Kansas checked in at No. 19 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 Big 12 Championship which could pit the Jayhawks against several more highly-ranked squads.
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 14 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.
This Day in Kansas Soccer History
NOVEMBER 5, 1995 – Kansas concluded its first season of existence with a 1-0 win over Arkansas Little Rock in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The two squads played even for the first 90 minutes, resulting in the Jayhawks heading to their second overtime period of the season. In the 111th minute, Amy Dyksterhuis slotted in her fifth of the year to put Kansas ahead. The Jayhawks held on over the remaining nine minutes to claim the win in the season finale and earn their sixth victory of the year. The match proved to be a physical one as the two squads combined for 30 fouls in the extra-period match.
If the Jayhawks win their quarterfinal matchup, they will take on the winner of the Oklahoma State-Baylor game on Friday, Nov. 7 in the semifinal slated for 8 p.m. The match will be available to watch via a free live stream through Big12Sports.com, with the championship match on Sunday, Nov. 9 to be televised on Fox Sports1.
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