No. 20 Kansas Hosts UAB, Travels To SMU This Week
Sept. 3, 2008
LAWRENCE, Kan. -
Following the team’s first 2-0 start in four years, the 20th-ranked Kansas soccer team will face a pair of non-conference foes this weekend. The Jayhawks will host UAB at 5 p.m. Friday at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex before traveling to Dallas, Texas to battle SMU Sunday at 1 p.m.
Friday evening’s contest features reduced tickets ($3) for youth soccer players who wear their uniform to the match. The promotion is in recognition of Youth Soccer Month, which promotes the joys, rewards and benefits of playing and getting involved in youth soccer.
Live statistical updates for both matches will be available on gametracker. Fans can find the link for gametracker on the Kansas Athletic department’s official website: www.kuathletics.com.
Last Time Out
Emily Cressy’s timing was impeccable on Aug. 31. The freshman forward found the back of the net on a long clear by Lauren Jackson in the 86th minute to lift the 25th-ranked Jayhawks to a 2-1 triumph over visiting Auburn at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex. Cressy’s heroics capped a wild 10-minute stretch that saw five cards issued, and a Tiger goal disallowed.
Scouting The Blazers
UAB has dropped its first three matches of the 2008 season – all by 1-0 scores. The Blazers fell at Clemson and at Auburn during the first weekend of action, and then dropped its home opener to USF on Aug. 29.
The Blazers, which return seven starters from last year’s squad, are led offensively by freshman Carolyn Polcari, who has racked up 12 shots in three contests. Despite being held scoreless in three straight matches, UAB has been competitive, having been outshot by a narrow 39-31 margin. Sophomore goalkeeper Kate Blankenship has started all three matches in net and has made 22 saves in 25 chances.
Head Coach Paul Harbin is in his 13th year at UAB and has a record of 119-109-15 with the Tigers, and 156-135-17 in 16-plus seasons as a head coach.
• Kansas defender/midfielder Alex Winchester and UAB Carolyn Polcari both grew up in the Dallas area. Winchester attended John Paul II High School in Plano, Texas and Polcari attended East Plano High School. They also played for rival club teams, Winchester for the D’Feeters and Polcari for Texas Spirit Red West.
Scouting The Mustangs
SMU will also be looking for its first victory of the season this weekend. The Mustangs will host Prairie View A&M Friday before the Jayhawks visit Westcott Field Sunday at 1 p.m. The Mustangs fell to Oklahoma State, 3-0 in their opener, before playing to a 2-2 tie with Mississippi on Aug. 29.
SMU returns seven starters from last year’s squad. Freshman Devon Herrman and sophomore Kristin Medeiros scored the two SMU goals in the tie with Ole Miss last Friday. In goal, senior Ashley Gunter has played all 200 minutes, making 11 saves in 16 chances.
Head Coach Brent Erwin is in his second year at SMU and posted a 9-7-1 record last season, including a 2-0 triumph over the Jayhawks in Lawrence.
• Kansas head coach Mark Francis graduated from SMU in 1988, and played four years for the Mustangs. Francis – a two-time All-American – was named SMU’s Male Athlete of the Year in 1987 and is a member of the school’s athletic hall of fame.
• SMU assistant coach Kyle Mittendorf graduated from the University of Kansas in 2001, and played professionally with the Kansas City Brass.
• Kansas defender/midfielder Alex Winchester has several connections with players from SMU. Winchester attended the same high school – John Paul II – as Mustang midfielder Courtney Messina. Other SMU players who grew up in Plano are senior Carley Phillips, freshman Melissa Cowle and freshman Jordynn Prado.
• Kansas defender Jenny Murtaugh and SMU defender Kristin Medeiros both played club soccer for Real Colorado, however they were never teammates.
Jayhawks Move into Top 20
Following the Jayhawks’ 2-1 triumph over Auburn on Aug. 31, Kansas found itself in the national top 20 for the first time since the 2006 season. The Jayhawks are ranked No. 20 in both the Soccer Buzz and Soccer America polls, and are 25th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll.
KU has been ranked in at least one of the national polls one time in each of the last three years, but never in consecutive weeks since the end of the 2004 season.
Freshman forward Emily Cressy proved she could find the back of the net when it matters most in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Auburn. The 5-foot-5 forward scored the game-winning goal in the 86th minute of play to break a one-all tie and lift the Jayhawks to their second victory of the season.
In just two collegiate matches, Cressy has scored a pair of goals and also has an assist to lead the Jayhawks and rank fourth in the Big 12 in points (five). The freshman’s five points in two matches are the best start by a KU freshman through two matches.
Despite surrendering her first goal of the season, junior goalkeeper Julie Hanley’s play between the pipes was likely the biggest reason for KU’s 2-1 win over Auburn. Hanley made five saves in the contest, including a few of the spectacular variety.
Hanley came off her line to intercept corner kicks and balls crossed through the crease on several occasions, and withstood 18 shots.
The junior goalkeeper, who missed nearly the entire 2007 season with an injury, ranks second in the conference with a 0.50 goals against average, and is sixth in the league with seven saves.
Welcome to the Jungle
Kansas sophomore transfers Caitlin Noble and Sarah Salazar both played in their first match in a Jayhawk uniform Sunday against Auburn. Salazar played 41 minutes off the bench, while Noble entered the game in the second half and played 10 minutes. Another first-year Jayhawk, Jordyn Perdue, made her first start in a KU uniform, and recorded a shot in 82 minutes of action.
• Kansas faces UAB for the first time in team history. However, the Jayhawks did play in a tournament on the Blazers’ home field in 2006.
• The Jayhawks meet SMU for the second time in as many seasons, having played the Mustangs on Sept. 9, 2007.
• KU is 5-4 all-time against current members of Conference USA. The Jayhawks will also face another league member, UCF, later this season.
• The Jayhawks earned their fifth-straight home victory with the 2-1 triumph over Auburn on Aug. 31. The winning streak is the longest at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex since KU won six straight matches during the 2005-06 seasons.
• Junior Monica Dolinsky scored her first goal at home since the first match of her freshman season (2006). Dolinsky had scored her last seven goals in road contests.
• Sophomore defender Lauren Jackson collected her first assist of the season, and second of her career. Ironically, Jackson’s other assist also came against Auburn, nearly one year to the date, Sept. 1, 2007.
• The Aug. 31 match against Auburn marked the first time KU has failed to register a corner kick in a match since an Oct. 5, 1997 meeting with Nebraska. The Jayhawks have been held without a corner in four other matches in their history – all KU defeats.
Johnson, Cressy Earn Big 12 Weekly Honors
Johnson, a junior defender from Fort Collins, Colo., played all 90 minutes of KU’s 3-0 victory over No. 20 Purdue and helped the Jayhawks shut out the Boilermakers on just six shots.