Volleyball Opens Season Friday At VCU

Aug. 27, 2008


VCU Invite Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

For the third-straight year Kansas volleyball will open its season on the road traveling to Richmond, Va., to kick off its 2008 campaign in the VCU Invitational, Aug. 29-30, with Virginia Commonwealth and North Carolina State.

Tournament Central

Fans get view live stats, results and more at http://vcuathletics.tv/vb/08results/Tourney-Central.php.

Quick Hits
» Kansas returns five starters plus its libero from 2007.

» KU has never lost a season opener under head coach Ray Bechard (10-0).

» The Jayhawks are a combined 3-0 against VCU and NC State under Bechard.

» KU went 7-3 last season in non-Big 12 matches.

» Kansas is 16-10 all-time in matches played in August, and 12-4 under Bechard.

Scouting the Opponents

VCU returns five starters and its libero to a squad which went 12-21 in 2007, including a 6-8 (8th) Colonial Athletic Association record. Sophomore Ariel Newman is back after leading the Rams with 3.09 kpg a year ago, along with sophomore Jessica Ojukwu who was third in the CAA with a .289 hitting efficiency. Senior Laryssa Goncalves also returns to the court as the team’s libero after ranking third in the conference last season with 5.18 dpg. The Rams are coached by James Finley, who owns a 50-51 overall record at the school as he enters his fourth season.

After winning just three games in 2007, NC State enters the 2008 season with a young squad of six upperclassmen and 11 freshmen and sophomores. Of the Wolfpack’s nine letterwinners, five were starters a year ago. Junior Chrissy Zirpolo is the team’s top returning offensive threat having averaged 2.23 kpg in 2007. Sophomore Lindsay Benac will most likely receive the starting nod at libero once again after digging up 2.89 balls per game. Charita Stubbs owns a 5-58 overall record in three years as head coach of the Pack.

Important Rule Changes For 2008

Terminology – The term “game” will be changed to “set”. A match still consists of the best three out of five sets.

Points Required to Win a Set – Instead of 30 points, the number of points needed to win sets one through four is now 25 (and a two-point lead). Fifteen points (and a two-point lead) is still the requirement to win the fifth (deciding) set.

Substitutions – Each team is now allowed a maximum of 12 substitutions per set.

Points of Emphasis

Ball Handling Decisions – In recent years, referee training has emphasized focusing on the player’s contact point with the ball, and not allowing outside influences, such as spin after release, to influence ball handling decisions. A 2008 point of emphasis regarding the second team contact now instructs referees to only call multiple contacts that are obvious enough to be readily seen, and to be less severe when judging extremely athletic plays.

Uhart Named To Preseason All-Big 12 Team

Kansas volleyball senior middle blocker Natalie Uhart was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team as voted on by the league’s coaches. Uhart, one of just 17 players named to the team, led the Jayhawks with 1.17 bpg and a .271 attack percentage last year, while adding 2.49 kpg in 20 starts. The 6-foot-1 front row power also had eight games of 10 kills or more and blocked over four balls 11 times throughout the season.

Big 12 Gets National Attention In Preseason Poll

On Aug. 19 it was revealed that five of KU’s 19 opponents are ranked in the CBS College Sports Network/AVCA Preaseason Poll and three more are receiving votes. Of those teams, only one is a non-Big 12 member.

Game Tickets

Fans can purchase season and single-game tickets to KU home matches by phone at 800-34-HAWKS, online at KUAthletics.com or at the doors of the Horejsi Center prior to match time.

Up Next

Kansas hosts the Jayhawk Invitational next weekend, Sept. 5-6, at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center. KU takes on Utah Valley Friday at noon in its home opener, and then faces 2007 Sweet 16 participant Oregon later that night at 7 p.m. The following day Kansas will conclude the tournament in a 1 p.m. match up with UCF.