Jayhawks Open Big 12 Play Wednesday With #15 Aggies

Sept. 12, 2005


Kansas opens Big 12 Conference play and continues a six-match home stand Wednesday when it hosts #15 Texas A&M (7-2) at 7 p.m. in the Horejsi Family Athletics Center. The Jayhawks (8-1) will look to extend their four-match win streak and pick up their first victory over a ranked opponent while the Aggies try to rebound from a 3-1 loss to #8 USC.

The first 500 fans through the doors will receive a free KU T-shirt. Gametracker, live video streaming and post-match results will be available on kuathletics.com.

The Jayhawks, 8-1 overall, return nine letterwinners and five starters in 2005. KU won its first four matches of the season before falling at BYU, 3-1, on Sept. 2, and is riding a four-match win streak.

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.

Lima leads the KU hitters with 3.87 kills and adds 2.50 digs and 1.20 blocks per game. Correa, a 6-0 outside hitter, is close behind with 3.77 kills per game on a .317 attack percentage while freshman Savannah Noyes, a 6-3 middle blocker, adds 2.03 kills per game at a .317 clip.

Caten, a 6-3 outside hitter, adds 3.43 kills per game and Brown, a 6-2 right side hitter, chips in 2.60 kills and 2.67 digs per game. Junior Jamie Mathewson paces the defense with 3.07 digs per game.

The Jayhawks wrapped up non-conference action last week in Lawrence with sweeps of Saint Louis, Virginia Commonwealth, Michigan State and Temple. KU is an impressive 65-8 in regular-season non-league matches since 1998 under head coach Ray Bechard.

The Jayhawks have won 11 straight matches at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center, dating back to a 3-2 loss to Missouri on Oct. 16, 2004. In fact, KU has lost just one (vs. Colorado on Nov. 27, 2004) of its 34 games played in the 11-match stretch.

KU has had much success on its home court recently. The Jayhawks are 63-31 overall at Horejsi since its opening on Sept. 1, 1999.

Texas A&M (7-2), ranked 15th in this week’s CSTV/AVCA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll, was picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 this season. Four Aggies reached double figures in kills, but came up short in a 30-26, 30-23, 28-30, 30-25 loss to No. 8 Southern California Sunday in San Antonio. TAMU returns five starters and five other letterwinners from the 2004 squad that went 19-9 after advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

A&M went 2-2 on the week including a 3-1 win against Sam Houston State on Tuesday. The Aggies are led by reigning Big 12 Player of the Week Laura Jones, an All-American and two-time All-Big 12 First Team selection. The 2002 Big 12 Freshman of the Year recorded 25 kills on a .281 hitting clip, 18 digs, and four blocks in the four-game loss to USC. Jones, a 6-2 outside hitter, averaged a .262 hitting percentage, 5.94 kills and 3.35 digs per game last week.

The Aggies hold a 17-2 advantage in the all-time series against the Jayhawks, but have not won at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center since Nov. 13, 2002 (3-2). Both of KU’s wins have come in Lawrence over the past two seasons — Nov. 20, 2003 (3-0) and Nov. 22, 2004 (3-0). Texas A&M was ranked in the Top 25 in both its losses at KU.

Four Jayhawks notched double-digit kills as KU swept No. 13 Texas A&M on Nov. 20, 2004, at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center. The Jayhawks defeated the Aggies, 30-28, 32-30 and 31-29.

Josi Lima led KU with 16 kills (.378) and added 10 digs in the win. Outside hitters Jana Correa and Paula Caten added 11 kills apiece. Correa had zero errors for a .478 hitting percentage and added three digs and a solo block.

Ashley Michaels, who had 10 kills on a .400 hitting percentage and two blocks, became just the eighth player in school history to record 1,000 career kills. Michaels joined Lima as the second Jayhawk season to reach the 1,000 career kill milestone in 2004.

After sitting out the last match with an injury, libero Jill Dorsey had a match-high 16 digs on the night. Emily Brown added six kills and six digs while Andi Rozum had a match-best 49 assists to go with five kills (.444), four digs and three block solos.

The Jayhawks outhit the Aggies .348 to .259 and outblocked them 8.0 to 4.0. Both teams recorded 60 kills on the night, but KU had just 12 hitting errors to TAMU’s 22. Laura Jones led the Aggies with 17 kills.

Josi Lima will leave KU as one of the most prolific players in the program’s history — regardless of what records she takes with her. A four-year starter and Big 12 standout, Lima ranks third on the all-time kills list with 1,234 kills and is just 72 away from the career record (1,306) set by Sarah Rome (2000-03). In addition, Lima could finish her career on top of many blocking charts and in the top five for attack percentage, kills per game and digs.

Senior Andi Rozum has been running the Jayhawks’ offense for the past four seasons and as a result, will leave KU as one of the most successful setters in program history. The 5-10 native of Loveland, Colo., has 3,917 career assists and is just 292 away from the all-time mark set by Julie Woodruff (1988-91). Despite missing 11 matches to start the 2003 season, Rozum could become just the third Jayhawk ever to eclipse the 4,000-assist mark.

In addition, Rozum is averaging just under 12.00 assists per game, which currently tops the all-time career chart.

Kansas head coach Ray Bechard is in his eighth season with the Jayhawks. Bechard has led KU to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances (2003, 2004) and its best-ever conference finish in 2003. In 2003, Bechard earned his 800th career victory as a head coach as well as his 100th win at Kansas.

After 13 years at Barton County Community College and seven at KU, Bechard entered the 2005 season with a remarkable all-time coaching record of 839-153 (.846) including a 123-93 (.569) mark with the Jayhawks.

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