#38 Kansas Women's Soccer 2012 Preview

Kansas Jayhawks

2012 Overall Rank: #38
Conference Rank: #4 Big 12
Kansas Women's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
Kansas Team Page


Kansas reached the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and returns a large majority of their impact players. However, this is a team that needs to retool their defense if they hope to make it back to the tournament and maybe even win a game or two instead of heading home early like they did in 2011. The Jayhawks can score a ton of points, but when they run into a decent defense, it is just a matter of time before they allow a goal and that is what happened against Georgia last November.

2011 Record: 11-9-1, 3-5-0
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mark Francis

But there is a lot of potential for this already potent offense that ranked 29th in the nation with 2.19 goals per game in 2011. Ingrid Vidal was just a freshman last season and she scored 11 goals and dished out six assists. Jamie Fletcher was also a freshman and posted seven goals and four assists. Fellow freshman Liana Salazar scored five goals. Sophomore Caroline Kastor netted six goals and added seven assists. That is a lot of production from a lot of young players. Those players are getting better with experience and this is a Kansas offense that could explode at any time. Those good defenses that gave them trouble in 2011 may not give them any trouble in 2012. While all of the youngsters are growing up, Whitney Berry will be the senior leader. She scored eight goals and led the Jayhawks with an impressive 13 assists. The 5-5 forward and midfielder from Wichita, Kansas can make things happen and she did a lot of playmaking in 2011. Look for more of the same in 2012.

Unfortunately for Kansas, while the offense was scoring goals, the defense was giving them up in droves. The Jayhawks ranked 290th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing a bountiful 2.13 goals per game. Perhaps more disturbing is that they ranked dead last in the entire nation in shutout percentage. In 21 games, KU managed just one shutout. And that shutout was orchestrated by Kat Liebetrau, who soon after lost her starting gig to freshman Kaitlyn Stroud. Stroud did show great signs of improvement after redshirting in 2010 and being thrown into the fire in 2011, but the fact is she still allowed 1.81 goals per game and failed to record a shutout. The year of experience that may turn the offense into one of the nation’s best could also work wonders for Stroud should she beat out Liebetrau for the starting gig. At 5-11 she certainly has the potential. Stroud’s inevitable improvement will be greatly aided by the addition of Cassie Dickerson. Back in 2010 the 5-6 back was an All-American while at Ohio State. Adding a player with so much experience and talent should do wonders for the defense. The rest of the defenders are a little more experienced and Dickerson will be a great leader in the back. The defense has nowhere to go but up as it is, but this group could be a very pleasant surprise.

Final Projection:
While the level of improvement of the defense will go a long way in determining Kansas’ fate this season, it is important to note that the Jayhawks scorers are still a relatively young group. They will need to keep up their level of play if Kansas is going to make a serious run in Big 12 play. This is not a Kansas team that is going to sneak up on anybody this year and that could make a big difference in conference play.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Ingrid Vidal, Sophomore, F, 11
Assists: Whitney Berry, Senior, F/M, 13
Shots: Whitney Berry, Senior, F/M, 85
Saves: Kaitlyn Stroud, Sophomore, GK, 73