Volleyball Opens Conference Play at Kansas State Wednesday
Sept. 14, 2010
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Not only is Wednesday Kansas volleyball’s Big 12 Conference opener, but it could mark an important milestone for KU head coach Ray Bechard. The Jayhawks’ 13th-year coach, who is already the program’s all-time winningest coach, is one win shy of reaching 200 victories at Kansas. Match time in Manhattan versus Kansas State (5-5) is 7 p.m. The match will be televised on Metro Sports (channel 37 in Lawrence).
The circumstances are ironic since around this time last season Bechard marked another important milestone when his team swept K-State in Manhattan to record his 900th career victory. Bechard owns a 915-236 career record in his 26th year of coaching, including a 716-60 record in 13 years at Barton County Community College and a 199-176 mark at KU.
KU’s defense has been consistent throughout the non-conference season helping the Jayhawks take a 9-2 mark into league play, its best pre-conference winning percentage since 2005. Kansas ranks second in the Big 12 Conference limiting opponents to an average attack percentage of .136. Freshman libero Brianne Riley anchors the Jayhawks’ back row with a team-best 3.55 digs per set, which ranks 10th in the league, while the team is in the top half of the conference ranking fourth with 15.00 dps.
Offensively, senior Karina Garlington continues to pace the squad with the Big 12’s seventh-best average of 3.49 kills per set. She tallied 27 kills versus Winthrop last Friday for the most kills by a Big 12 player so far this season. Garlington led KU with 4.50 kps during last weekend’s Kansas Invitational to earn all-tournament team honors along with sophomore Tayler Tolefree.
Last season, Kansas swept both meetings with the Wildcats for the first time in series history to snap a five-match skid versus KSU. KU trails the all-time series with Kansas State 57-36.
Following a quick trip on the road, Kansas volleyball is back at home on Saturday, Sept. 18 to host Texas A&M at 6:30 p.m.