Courtesy: Atlantic 10 Conference

Billikens to Face Kansas in Opening Round of NCAA Tournament

By Atlantic 10 Conference

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ST. LOUIS -- Saint Louis women’s soccer will take on Kansas in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship Friday, Nov. 9. Kickoff at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, Kansas, is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CST).

This will be Saint Louis’ third NCAA Championship appearance. The Billikens qualified in 2005 and 2006, their first two seasons in the Atlantic 10 Conference, and won a first-round game in both tournaments.

The Billikens (18-3-1) and Jayhawks (11-5-3) will meet for a third time in 14 months. The teams battled to a 1-1 draw at SLU’s Robert R. Hermann Stadium in September 2017. This season, Kansas posted a 3-2 victory Sept. 14 in Lawrence.

The Saint Louis-Kansas winner advances to play 22-time national champion North Carolina, the 16-team quadrant’s top seed, or Howard on Friday, Nov. 16.

Saint Louis’ school-record 18 wins are the most in NCAA Division I women’s soccer this season. Also, the Billikens’ school-record 14-game winning streak is the longest active streak among Division I women’s soccer teams.

Led by conference Coach of the Year Katie Shields, SLU captured the A-10 regular-season title with a 10-0-0 record before claiming the league’s automatic NCAA bid with three convincing victories in the A-10 Championship. Tournament Most Outstanding Player Maddie Pokorny turned in a hat trick to power the Billikens to a 5-1 triumph over VCU in the title match.

Freshman midfielder Hannah Friedrich (11G, 8A) leads Saint Louis with a school-record 30 points. Pokorny, a senior forward, has a team-high 12 goals to go with two assists for 26 points. Both were second-team All-Conference picks.

Junior defender Alli Klug was named A-10 Defensive Player of the Year for a second consecutive season as the Billikens tied the school record by recording 13 shutouts. Klug was joined on the All-Conference first team by junior goalkeeper Olivia Silverman (0.52 GAA, 11 shutouts) and junior midfielder Courtney Reimer (3G, 5A).

Kansas finished sixth in the 10-team Big 12 Conference with a 5-4 league record, but the Jayhawks were just one point away from a third-place tie. KU tied 17th-ranked Texas 0-0 in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals Oct. 28, with the Longhorns advancing on penalty kicks.

In their final regular-season contest Oct. 25, the Jayhawks upset 13th-ranked West Virginia 1-0 on the road. Kansas was 3-4-1 vs. ranked opponents this season.

Senior Grace Hagan (7G, 3A) and junior Katie McClure (8G, 3A) lead the KU attack. Hagan earned All-Big 12 first-team accolades for a second straight year, while McClure was selected to the All-Conference second team. Freshman goalkeeper Sarah Peters (0.89 GAA) was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman team.

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