Preseason Camp Breaks with Crimson and Blue Match
Aug. 17, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – An intense stretch of two-a-day practices, preseason conditioning and preparation for the 2012 season will finally come to a close when the Kansas volleyball team welcomes fans to the Crimson and Blue match, Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
Fans are invited to attend free of charge. Entering his 15th season head coach, Ray Bechard and his staff will divide the roster into two opposing squads for a live-action intrasquad scrimmage.
A reception to welcome back the program’s alumni will take place following the match.
“We’ve been at it for eight days and we’ll have a chance on Saturday to get organized with the Crimson and Blue match,” Bechard said at the team’s media day on Aug. 16. “They’ve done everything we’ve thrown at them, and we’ve thrown a lot at them over these last eight days. We’re excited about where we’re at, but we know we’ve got a long way to go. We are motivated by our finish last fall and coming up a little bit short. We know, as a program, we were probably only one good win away from an NCAA Tournament bid.”
Kansas was selected to finish sixth in the Big 12 Preseason Poll, its highest preseason mark since the 2005 season. Redshirt junior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc was named to the All-Big 12 Preseason Team after earning All-Big 12 honorable mention accolades at the conclusion of the 2011 season.
The Jayhawks return to the court after a 15-14 season in 2011, narrowly missing an NCAA Tournament bid as KU concluded the year at No. 47 in the NCAA’s final RPI. Last season, the Big 12 ranked No. 1 in conference RPI for the first time in league history, 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 throughout the 2011 season. 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.
With five starters and the libero back to reprise their roles, Bechard and his staff will have veterans on hand. Middle blockers 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 No. 2 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 last season were fourth in the Big 12 and were fourth-most all-time in KU history. She has knowledgeable assistance 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.
Kansas officially kicks off the season on Friday, Aug. 24 against Northwestern State at 4:30 p.m. in its first match of the Arkansas Tournament in Fayetteville, Ark. The Jayhawks will also take on Tennessee-Martin and tournament-host Arkansas in their opening weekend.