KU Hosts Alabama, UMKC in State Farm Classic

Aug. 25, 2005


Kansas opens its 31st season of competition this week as it hosts Alabama and UMKC in the State Farm Jayhawk Classic. The Jayhawks and Crimson Tide will face off Friday at 7 p.m. and KU will host the Kangaroos Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.

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KU Preview

KU is coming off back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament second round and two of its best seasons in program history. The Jayhawks, who finished tied for sixth in the league in 2004, return nine letterwinners and five starters in 2005. KU received 40 points in the CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll released August 8.

KU was 9-0 in non-conference matches to begin the 2004 season and is an impressive 60-7 in non-league starts under head coach Ray Bechard. Senior middle blocker Josi Lima, a three-time All-Big 12 selection, is the top KU returner, with postseason awards candidates Paula Caten (senior), Jana Correa (junior) and Emily Brown (sophomore) also back in the starting six.

KU finished the 2004 season 19-12 overall and 9-11 in league play and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks were ranked as high as 21st nationally and received votes in the USA Today/CSTV Coaches’ Poll for eight weeks in 2004.

Alabama Preview

Alabama finished 21-9 overall and 10-6 in the Southeastern Conference (West division co-champs) last season. The Crimson Tide also returns nine letterwinners, including five starters, to its lineup and is led by sophomores Brigitte Slack (5-11 setter) and Crystal Hudson (5-11 middle blocker) and senior Kelley Potter (6-0 opposite hitter).

The Crimson Tide is coached by Judy Green, who is 147-141 overall in nine seasons at Alabama.

The Kansas/Bama Series

The all-time series between KU and Bama is tied at 1-1. The Jayhawks defeated the Crimson Tide, 3-2, in their last meeting on Sept. 6, 1996, while Alabama claimed the first match, 3-0, on Oct. 20, 1978.

UMKC Preview

The Kangaroos posted a 7-21 mark last season and went 4-10 in the Mid-Continent Conference for a sixth-place finish. UMKC returns 10 letterwinners and five starters from its 2004 roster, which features seniors Angela Melka (5-10 outside hitter) and Kristy Waltemeyer (5-8 setter) and junior Vanessa Portela (6-1 outside hitter).

Head coach Steve Dallman is in his eighth season with the Kangaroos and holds an 82-135 record at UMKC.

The Kansas/UMKC Series

KU leads the all-time series against UMKC, 23-1. In the teams’ last match-up, the Jayhawks prevailed 3-0 on Sept. 14, 2004, in Kansas City, Mo. Josi Lima paced KU with a match-high 15 kills on a .344 attack percentage while Ashley Michaels added 11 kills (.391 attack percentage) and four block assists. Jill Dorsey led the defense with 17 digs while Jamie Mathewson contributed 10 for the Jayhawks.

KU hit .333 and out-blocked the Kangaroos 10.0 to 4.0. Vanessa Portela led UMKC with 14 kills in 33 attempts while Lauren Starks (13 digs) led the Kangaroo defense.

UMKC’s lone win over KU came on Oct. 19, 1982 (2-1).

KU Probable Starters

MB – #10 Josi Lima (6-0, Sr., Sao Paulo, Brazil) Three-time All-Big 12 selection … Attacks from any spot on the court and is an aggressive blocker … KU’s top returning hitter and blocker.

MB – #18 Savannah Noyes (6-3, Fr., Indianola, Neb.) True freshman who may earn an immediate starting spot … Posted 11 kills on a .562 attack percentage in the exhibition match.

S – #9 Andi Rozum (5-10, Sr., Loveland, Colo.) A four-year starter for the Jayhawks … Also an aggressive blocker … Has a powerful jump serve.

OPP – #7 Emily Brown (6-2, So., Baldwin City, Kan.) Can play anywhere in the lineup … Has improved both hitting and blocking skills … Second on the team last season in digs and fifth in kills.

OH – #8 Paula Caten (6-3, Sr., Canarana, Brazil) Powerful hitter with great energy and length … Fourth on the squad in kills last season.

OH – #4 Jana Correa (6-0, Jr., Macapa, Brazil) Powerful hitter who has recovered fully from past injuries … Second on the squad in kills last season … Also has a dangerous jump serve.

L – #3 Jamie Mathewson (5-8, Jr., Kansas City, Mo.) Athletic, quick defender who saw limited action in 2004 … Supported by junior Dani Wittman and freshman Liz Ingram.

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