Yes the KU football team is ranked 25th in the nation, but it hasn't done anything yet other than garner the votes of "experts." The women's soccer team on the other hand, has three hard-fought victories to open the season. It was rewarded this week with a No. 23 national ranking.
The Jayhawks gave given up just one goal in matches at Drake and against Pepperdine and Arizona St. at Knoxville, Tenn. Two defensive players have been the biggest reason for the start, and one of them is a cat. No, not a Wildcat, but Kat Liebetrau, a freshman goalkeeper who was named Big XII newcomer of the week. The first year player from Centennial, Col. allowed just one ball past her in 15 attempts in the past two matches, and became the school's first goalie to record shutouts in two of her first three matches according to the school's web site.
While Liebetrau, and fellow freshman Whitney Beery (who scored a goal in her first varsity match against Drake) have helped lead the team to the great start, a veteran also was awarded for her stellar play. Junior Lauren Jackson was named Big XII defensive player of the week as well as Most Outstanding Player at the Lady Vol Invite in Knoxville. Jackson and the rest of the 'Hawks defense allowed just 11 shots on goal at the tournament.
The Long Beach, Calif. native will have extra incentive to keep up her fine play Friday when KU opens its home season against Long Beach State.
It's great to see the soccer team doing well. Coach Mark Francis has done a great job in his 10-plus seasons at the helm. He has built an impressive resume that includes being the school's all-time leader in wins (117-78-15), earning 2004 Big XII Coach of the Year honors, and four NCAA tournament appearances in '01, '03, '04, and '08.
Football and basketball will remain king at KU, but it's always great to the Jayhawks succeed at the non-revenue level as well. And while NCAA tournament appearances are nice, every Jayhawk fan loves a victory against Mizzou and points in the Border Showdown as well.
Nice job 'Hawks.