Crimson and Blue Match to Debut 2012 Jayhawk Volleyball Team
Aug. 3, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – With the season opener three weeks away, fans will have a free opportunity to see the 2012 edition of the Kansas volleyball team in action at the annual Crimson and Blue match, Sat., Aug. 18 at 1 p.m. in the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
Fans are invited to attend free of charge. Entering his 15th season as the leader of the Jayhawks, KU’s winningest coach Ray Bechard and his staff will divide the roster into two opposing squads for an intrasquad scrimmage. The season-preview match signifies an end to the team’s two-a-day preseason practice schedule.
A reception to welcome back the program’s alumni will take place following the match.
“That two-a-day period can be very stressful for them so it’s fun when we finally get to put uniforms on, get an official out there and have people in the stands,” Bechard said. “Then we get to see how everyone reacts in different situations. It will validate some things we do know and help us get some answers that we didn’t know. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do before we get there.”
The Jayhawk volleyball team returns to the court after a 15-14 season, narrowly missing an NCAA Tournament bid as KU concluded the year at No. 47 in the NCAA’s RPI. A year ago, the Jayhawks posted an 11-1 start, the best since the 2002 season. For the first time in league history, the Big 12 ranked No. 1 in conference RPI with 8-of-9 league schools listed in the top-50. In 16 conference matches, KU played 64 sets, taking at least one set from every Big 12 foe minus Iowa State, who advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight. Ultimately, Kansas won 22 sets against Big 12 foes and lost 16 by three points or less.
As a unit, KU ranked among the league’s top three teams in blocks per set all season long. The Jayhawks finished the regular season third in the conference with 2.57 blocks per set, good for 36th in the NCAA. The Jayhawks recorded nearly 100 more block assists than the previous year and for the first time since Bechard’s debut season in 1998, Kansas out-blocked its opponents (2.6 bps/2.0 bps).
With five starters and the libero back to reprise their roles, Bechard and his staff will have veterans on hand. Redshirt junior Caroline Jarmoc (1.25 bps) and senior Tayler Tolefree (1.14 bps) are back to protect at the net as both ranked in the top-five in the Big 12 in blocks per set in 2011.
Jarmoc begins 2012 sitting at second all-time at KU in career blocks per set (1.12) and tied for third all-time on KU’s single-season block assists list (115), while Tolefree also starts the year on the KU’s all-time top 10 list in single season total blocks (127, 6th), block assists (109, 7th) and blocks per set (1.14, T-8th).
Offensively, Jarmoc will also be called upon as the Jayhawks look to replace KU’s single-season kills record holder, Allison Mayfield. The redshirt junior comes in highly qualified, finishing second on the team behind Mayfield with 324 kills for 2.92 kills per set last year. Her accuracy was equally impressive as her .311 attack percentage ranked in the Big 12’s top 10 and was second all-time by a Jayhawk.
Sophomore duo Sara McClinton and Chelsea Albers return to help power the offense. A well-balanced player, Albers was third on the team in digs and played all but one set in 2011. McClinton averaged nearly 2.5 kills per set last fall.
Defensively, junior Brianne Riley will enter her third season at starting libero. Riley posted nine 20-plus dig efforts in 2011, en route to 482 digs on the season. That ranks third all-time by a Jayhawk, while her 4.34 digs per set this season were fourth in the Big 12 and is fourth-most all-time in KU history. She has help on the back row with senior Morgan Boub and junior Jaime Mathieu each bringing experience to KU’s defense.
Four newcomers will join the 13 returning letterwinners to comprise the 2012 squad. Outside hitter Tiana Dockery (5-10, Richmond, Texas) and middle blocker Janae Hall (6-2, Centennial, Colo.) joined the Jayhawks during the early signing period and are predicted to make significant impact in their rookie campaign.
On outside hitter at Foster High School, Dockery made her second-straight appearance on VYPE Magazine’s Top 25 Players in the Houston area in her senior year. A middle blocker, Hall was named No. 67 in the PrepVolleyball.com’s Top-100 Senior Aces at Regis Jesuit High School.
Maggie Anderson (Lincoln, Neb.) and Sylvia Bullock (Anchorage, Alaska) joined the team this summer. Anderson holds the career aces record at Lincoln Southwest High School (145), while Bullock comes to Lawrence after a four-year career as a starting point guard for the nationally-ranked Miami Hurricane’s women’s basketball team.
The Crimson and Blue Match will serve as the final tune-up before the Jayhawks kick off the season on Friday, Aug. 24 against Northwestern State at 4:30 p.m. in their first match of the Arkansas Tournament in Fayetteville, Ark.