Kansas Keeps Rolling, Set for Jayhawk Invitational
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Racking up experience early, the Kansas volleyball team will continue its streak of seven matches in nine days as the Jayhawks prepare to host the Jayhawk Invitational at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center, Sept. 7-8.
AROUND THE GYM
-Friday (vs. ASU): Youth Volleyball Night – free koozies
-Saturday (vs. Wyoming): Salute to Service
FOLLOW THE HAWKS
All three matches this weekend will stream live – video and audio – on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access. The live audio stream will be available free of charge, while the audio and video combination requires a subscription fee. Kyle West will have the call.
Fans can always track the Jayhawks on GameTracker or by following JayhawkVball on Twitter.
Friday’s matches will mark Kansas’ first meeting between both opponents in the College of Charleston and the Sun Devils of Arizona State.
The Jayhawks and the Cowgirls from Wyoming will face off for the fifth time in series history, with KU holding the 3-1 all-time advantage. The pair last met during the 2008 season when Kansas held on for a tightly-contested five-set victory. Neither team won by more than the required two points and the fifth set ended in an extended 20-18 score in favor of the Jayhawks.
KANSAS (6-1, 0-0 Big 12)
On Tuesday, the Jayhawks welcomed UMKC to the HFAC for the first midweek match of the season, something Kansas didn’t encounter until the start of Big 12 play a year ago. The Tuesday-night showdown extended the Jayhawks’ current stretch to seven matches in just over a week’s time. Head coach Ray Bechard isn’t concerned about his team’s stamina, but mentioned his full roster hasn’t been at his disposal as a result of the high-volume schedule.
Nevertheless, the Jayhawks rolled past the UMKC `Roos in their most recent action, taking three quick sets on Tuesday night.
Redshirt junior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc shined as the team’s beacon of consistency, tying a career-high 16 kills for the third time in four matches. The Preseason All-Big 12 selection was named the Tournament MVP last weekend at the Kansas Volleyball Invitational and leads the team with 3.96 kills per set on a .443 attack percentage. What’s more, the Calgary, Alberta, Canada native is blocking at a 1.54 per set rate – all three stats land Jarmoc in the top-three among her Big 12 counterparts.
Jarmoc, however, is one of many league leaders on the Kansas roster. Junior Erin McNorton has taken the starting setter role and sprinted with it, averaging a Big 12-best 12.50 assists per set. Fellow junior Brianne Riley broke onto the Jayhawks’ top-10 career digs list on Tuesday and her 5.58 average currently leads the conference by nearly a dig per set.
With a pair of key players unavailable on Tuesday, the Jayhawks received a career-best performance from freshman outside hitter Tiana Dockery. The Richmond, Texas native pounded out her first double-digit kill effort (13) and her seven digs points to the progress she’s making toward becoming a six-rotation player.
Three weeks in, the Jayhawks are all over the Big 12 leaderboard. With their collective .278 hitting percentage, the Jayhawks trail only No. 4 Texas (.310). KU leads the Big 12 in kills per set (15.04), assists per set (14.12) and digs (16.54).
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (3-2, 0-0 Southern Conference) | Friday | 11:30 am
Led by sixth-year head coach Jason Kepner, the Cougars head to Lawrence after winning the 2012 Courtyard Charleston North Classic last weekend. For the fourth time in the last five seasons, CoC was picked to win the Southern Conference South Division. Last year, CofC won the division with a league-best 14-2 record, advancing to the SoCon Tournament title match.
College of Charleston has won either the regular season division title or conference tournament championship each of the last 11 seasons. Over that stretch, the Cougars have amassed 297 wins which ranks eighth among all NCAA Division I volleyball programs.
Sophomore middle blocker, and the 2011 SoCon Freshman of the Year, Sloane White earned Tournament MVP honors after she hit .462 and notched 14 kills and two blocks against Memphis in the weekend’s title match. On the season, White leads the team with a .338 hitting percentage, while redshirt junior outside hitter Darcy Dorton sets the standard with an impressive 4.00 kills per set. Both have played in all 22 sets this season.
ARIZONA STATE (6-0, 0-0 PAC-12 Conference) | Friday | 7:30 pm
Led by fifth-year head coach Jason Watson, the Sun Devils enter the weekend undefeated after winning back-to-back tournaments on the road. The first hosted by UTEP and the second by UC Irvine, Arizona State will play in Lawrence before heading home for its home tournament next weekend. Arizona State volleyball’s 2012 four-member incoming class was named by PrepVolleyball.com as the 21st-best recruiting class in the country.
Fittingly, freshman outside hitter Macey Gardner leads the offense with 4.67 kills per set, already surpassing the 100-kill mark on the season with 112 entering the weekend. Fellow outside hitter, senior Erica Wilson, has also clipped the 100-kill plateau and averages 4.33 kills per set.
As a team, ASU averages 14.54 kills per set, 2.17 blocks per set and swings for a collective .246 attack percentage.
WYOMING (8-0, 0-0 Mountain West Conference) | Saturday | 6:30 pm
Led by fifth-year head coach Carrie Yerty, Wyoming was voted to finish third in the Mountain West, its highest selection since joining the league. Wyoming posted a 21-11 overall record in 2011 and a 9-5 mark in MWC action. This year, the undefeated Cowgirls most recently knocked off UMKC in their home tournament.
An AVCA All-America honorable mention honoree last season, senior outside hitter Jodi Purdy was selected by the conference coaches as the Preseason MW Co-Player of the Year. She currently leads the Cowgirls with 78 kills, good for a 3.00 kills per set average. A versatile player, Purdy’s 2.31 digs per set are second only to the team’s libero, Becky Stewart.
As a team, Wyoming averages 12.81 kills per set with a .281 hitting percentage and come the closest to KU’s blocking numbers with 2.83 blocks per set.
Head coach Ray Bechard
On getting off to a good start this weekend:
“We open up with College of Charleston, who won over 20 matches last year and historically has been extremely competitive. That won’t change this year, I think they’ll have one of their better teams. They’re very well coached, so our opening match will obviously require our full attention. They only way we will get off to a good start this weekend is if we can play very well in that match.”
On the team enduring seven matches in nine days:
“You have to be careful (during a stretch like this). There are so many things you have to pay attention to, but one of the most important details is recovery. We’ll need to walk a little bit of a fine line and continue to evaluate things. We have to be sure our kids are rested because one of the keys to success this weekend will be fresh minds and fresh legs. With that being said, we’ve had some individuals that have been able to step up and get experience because of that, which will help us in situations down the road.”
On the excitement involved in watching the younger, or less experienced, players succeed:
“Our staff is most excited about the depth you develop during this process. We’d love to have our full roster available but that hasn’t been the case so far this year. That means people get extended time and experience that is hard to replicate in practice. So now (Tiana) Dockery has now gotten quite a bit of experience at both pin positions, obviously Erin (McNorton) has obviously been involved quite a bit in the setting position, while our littles, collectively, are gathering a lot of experience, too.”
Kansas snaps its home streak and will travel to South Bend, Ind., for the Notre Dame Invitational, Sept. 14-16. The Jayhawks will take on Loyola-Marymount, Xavier and the Fighting Irish in its final pre-conference tournament of the season.
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