Archive for Sunday, October 20, 2002

Suspensions mar Senior Day

October 20, 2002

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Kansas University soccer player Brianna Valento was supposed to walk off SuperTarget field for the last time side-by-side with four senior teammates and some smiles.

Instead Valento will be joined by just Brooke Jones during the Jayhawks' home finale at 1 p.m. today against Iowa State.

Two seniors starting co-captains Lindsay Hunting and Nikki Wahle will not play today because of violating unspecified team rules last week.

The two already missed Friday's 5-0 victory against Central Missouri State.

KU's fifth senior, Pardis Brown, was forced to retire before the season because of multiple concussions.

"It's very disappointing for me," Valento said. "I'm not going to be able to celebrate my Senior Day the way I thought I'd be able to."

In addition to the seniors, junior forward Carmel Kaplinger will be on the bench because of the same rules violation.

Freshman Caroline Smith, who's leading the Big 12 Conference in scoring, will not play because of a torn right medial collateral ligament,.

KU coach Mark Francis, whose team is 10-3-2 overall and 3-2-1 in the Big 12, said the incident was finished and the team was moving forward.

"I think the team's just happy that when somebody breaks a rule, obviously you want to make sure they get punished for it," he said.

Kansas' fourth-year coach said he was disappointed that two of the three seniors from his first recruiting class wouldn't be a part of the annual senior ceremonies.

But Francis said no exceptions would be made.

"They made the decision, not me," he said.

Francis said after today's game, the three players would be back on the team.

But Jones, who transferred to KU from Nebraska after her sophomore season, said that won't make today's ceremony any easier to swallow.

"People make mistakes, but that was supposed to be their last game," Jones said. "I don't know. ... it's kind of heartbreaking."

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