There is little question Kansas University's soccer team has more talent and depth than any squad in the program's nine-year history, but it's hard to imagine a more injury-plagued season, either.
"We have one of the bigger rosters that we've had, but it still feels like we have more injuries," junior defender Stacy Leeper said. "Most of them aren't major, but they are things that affect the play."
The Jayhawks will need to be at the top of their game this weekend with games scheduled at 4:30 p.m. today against Texas and noon Sunday against once-beaten Texas A&M at SuperTarget Field.
KU sophomore Caroline Smith sat out all but the last 15 minutes of Sunday's 3-2 loss to Texas Tech, but is expected to be in the starting lineup today.
Other notable injuries are to senior defender Maggie Mason and junior midfielder Gabriela Quiggle. Both suffered ankle injuries during Friday's 1-0 victory against Baylor. Coach Mark Francis said both were questionable for this weekend.
Still, the biggest pain may be the fact that KU lost to Texas Tech, a team that hadn't won a conference game in three years.
"It makes them realize that you can't go out in any game in the conference and take it lightly," Francis said. "You've got to show up to play every game, and obviously we didn't do it and it cost us. Now we have to be that much more focused in the other games so it doesn't happen again."
Kansas (9-2, 1-1) likely won't take Texas for granted. The Longhorns were ranked No. 5 in the nation during the preseason before dropping four games to top-20 teams, as well as their conference opener last week to Oklahoma.
The Longhorns have a legitimate scoring threat in Kelly McDonald. The junior forward has six goals and two assists this season and logged 14 goals and nine assists a year ago.
Kansas never has defeated Texas in seven tries, but sophomore Kim Karfonta said beating the Longhorns would be the ideal way to get back on track.
"We're not dwelling on the loss to Tech," she said. "We're all ready to play and ready to redeem ourselves. We've got a little extra push in ourselves now, so this will be a good challenge."