Jayhawks to Host Missouri in First Round of NCAA Soccer Tournament

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the sixth time in program history, the University of Kansas soccer team earned a bid to the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship it was announced Monday afternoon. The Jayhawks will host the Missouri Tigers in first round play on Sunday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m., at Rock Chalk Park.
“I’m thrilled for the girls that they get this opportunity,” said head coach Mark Francis. “Getting selected to play in this tournament is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication this year. And as if the stakes weren’t already high enough, getting to play our rival Missouri will make this game that much more special. It should be a great atmosphere out here on Sunday.”

 The Jayhawks were selected to the
NCAA Tournament’s field of 64 for the sixth
time in program history Monday afternoon.Kansas is making its first appearance in the tournament since 2011 and sixth overall in the 18-year history of the program. The Jayhawks (15-5-0) recently concluded their most successful regular season in a decade, winning the third-most games in program history and finishing third in the Big 12 Conference. At the Big 12 Soccer Championship last week, KU fell to eventual tournament runner-up Oklahoma by a score of 2-1.
-Kansas played seven matches against six teams included in this season’s NCAA Tournament field, going 3-4 in those matches.
-Kansas finished the 2014 season with 15 wins, the program’s most since the 2004 squad won 16 games during its regular season.
-KU finished third in the Big 12 standings, its highest finish in the conference standings since 2007. The Jayhawks’ five league wins are their most since the conference went to an eight-game schedule.
-Kansas began its season by winning its first eight-straight matches before losing a 1-0 match to Marquette on Sept. 19. The Jayhawks then won their next six games in a row, starting their season off with a 14-1 record, the best start ever by a Kansas squad. KU ended its year by losing four of its final five matches, each of which came against a team that received an NCAA bid.
-The Jayhawks have been among the top-30 of the NCAA RPI for the entire 2014 campaign, moving as high as No. 11 this season. Kansas is 3-4 against teams inside the RPI top-50 and is 12-1 against teams outside the top-50. KU is also a member of the RPI’s second-highest rated league, the Big 12 Conference, which features six of its nine members ranked inside the RPI’s top-50.
-Kansas has been ranked inside the top-25 of the NSCAA Coaches’ poll for nine-straight weeks. Kansas broke into the top-10 of the national poll for the first time since 2004 when the Jayhawks checked in at No. 9 on Oct. 14 following a 1-0 win at Texas.
-KU was led in goals this season by junior midfielder Liana Salazar, who netted 11 goals in 2014, a career high and the second-most ever by a Jayhawk in a single season. Her 12 goals and 28 points each ranked second among Big 12 players this year.
-The Jayhawks saw five players honored on the All-Big 12 teams. Junior midfielder Liana Salazar was a unanimous selection and was joined by senior defender Caroline Van Slambrouck and junior forward Ashley Williams on the first team. Senior Jamie Fletcher earned a spot on the All-Big 12 second team, while freshman Kayla Morrison was named to the league’s All-Newcomer squad.
-The Kansas defense ranked as the toughest in the Big 12 this year. KU allowed just 14 goals in 20 games for a 0.70 goals-against average. Senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud led the Big 12 with her 0.61 goals-against average and a .867 save percentage.
The Tigers enter the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 11-6-3. MU finished fourth in the SEC standings this season with a 6-4-1 record. The squad out of Columbia, Missouri most recently fell to South Carolina in the quarterfinals of the SEC Championship on Nov 5.
Missouri is led on the offensive side by senior midfielders Kasyie Clark and Taylor Grant. Clark leads the squad with 11 assists on the year and Grant is the top goal-scorer on the team with seven netted this season. The Tiger defense has allowed 27 goals in 20 games this year. Senior goalkeeper Mackenzie Sauerwein has started each match between the posts this year for MU, picking up six shutouts and 1.29 goals-against average.
The Division I Women’s Soccer Committee selected the 64-team field from 311 NCAA Division I institutions that sponsor women’s soccer. Kansas was one of 34 teams to receive an at-large bid. The other 30 teams were automatic qualifiers. Six of nine Big 12 teams earned bids: West Virginia, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas.
First round competition of the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship will be held at 32 campus sites Nov. 14-16, including Lawrence. Winners advance to second round to be held on Friday, Nov. 21.
Second round and third competition of the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship will be held at 16 campus sites Nov. 21-23 at non-predetermined campus sites. Winners of the second-round games advance to the third round to be held two days later on Sunday, Nov. 23. Winners of the third-round matches will then advance to one of four quarterfinal games.
Regionals for the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship will be held Nov. 29-30 at four non-predetermined campus sites. Each quarterfinal winner will advance to semifinal action of the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s College Cup in Boca Raton, Florida to begin on Dec. 5.
The 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer College will be held at FAU Stadium in Baco Raton, Florida for the first time. Quarterfinal winners will compete in semifinal matches held Dec. 5 at 4 or 6 p.m. (CT). The national championship match of the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer College Cup will be played at 12 p.m. (CT), Dec. 7.
The Jayhawks are making their sixth all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, all under 15-year head coach Mark Francis. Kansas is 4-5 all-time in the postseason and making its first appearance since earning a bid in 2011.
2001 (0-1): In its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance Kansas fell to the BYU Cougars, 1-0, at Abbot Sports Complex in Lincoln, Nebraska. BYU scored the eventual game-winner in the 76th minute.
2003 (2-1): Kansas advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history and picked up a memorable win over rival Missouri in the process. Kansas dispatched of Illinois State, 3-1, in the first round match held in Columbia, Missouri, before topping the Tigers two days later, 2-0. Kansas scored twice in the final 13 minutes to advance to play top-seeded UCLA in the Sweet 16. The Bruins topped the Jayhawks in a tightly-contested match by a score of 1-0 on a goal in the 43rd minute.
2004 (1-1): In the first-round match Kansas defeated Creighton, 3-1, in the first NCAA Tournament game ever hosted by the Jayhawks. The Bluejays scored the game’s first goal in the eighth minute but Kansas went on to score three unanswered goals to advance to the second round for the second-straight season. Former Big 12-foe Nebraska then invaded Lawrence and ended Kansas’ season with a 2-1 overtime victory.
2008 (1-1): The Jayhawks made their first NCAA Tournament field in four seasons when they went up against Denver in the first round match held in Palo Alto, California. Kansas defeated the Pioneers, 2-1, with the help of two first-half goals. The Jayhawks were topped by the top-seeded team in the tournament, Stanford by a final score of 5-0.
2011: (0-1): Kansas welcomed Georgia to Lawrence for the first round match in 2011. The Bulldogs scored twice within the first 13 minutes of the second half to defeat Kansas, 2-0.
The winner of the KU-MU contest will play the winner of the No. 4-seed Washington-Rider match on Friday, Nov. 21 in Palo Alto, California in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. If the Jayhawks win each of their first two matches, they will then play in the third-round game on Sunday, Nov. 23, again in Palo Alto.
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