No. 24 KU Opens Big 12 Play Friday at No. 12 Aggies

Sept. 16, 2004

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Coming off a perfect 8-0 non-conference start, the No. 24 Kansas volleyball team will look to remain unbeaten as it battles the 12th-ranked Aggies Friday night. Texas A&M (5-2, 1-0 Big 12) defeated Iowa State 3-1 Wednesday after knocking off then-ranked No. 8 Cal on Sept. 11.

Match time is set for 6 p.m. at the G. Rollie White Coliseum in College Station. Live stats and post-match results will be available on kuathletics.com.

Texas A&M Preview
Texas A&M jumped two spots to No. 12 in this week’s USA Today/CSTV Top 25 Poll on Monday. The Aggies made the jump after going 2-1 last week, including a commanding 3-0 win at then-No. 8 California. The victory was A&M’s first over a top-10 opponent since sweeping No. 6 Wisconsin in the regional semifinals at the 2001 NCAA tournament. A&M’s No. 12 ranking is its highest since a No. 11 ranking in the 2001 final poll. The Aggies picked up their first conference win of the season Wednesday at Iowa State. Melissa Munsch led A&M with 20 kills (.386) and 19 digs against the Cyclones while Laura Jones added 18 kills and 11 digs of her own. Munsch, a First-Team All-Big 12 selection, also leads the team in blocking with 2.00 per game. Texas A&M leads the all-time series 16-1, with KU’s only win coming last season in Lawrence.

KU, Michaels Top Blockers in the Nation
When the NCAA statistics were released this week, KU and Ashley Michaels were at the top of the blocking lists. Kansas currently ranks second in the nation behind Wichita State (3.67 bpg) with 3.57 blocks per game. Michaels, a 6-1 senior middle blocker, currently ranks No.1 in the country with 2.07 stuffs per game. Texas A&M’s Melissa Munsch is just behind with 2.00. Last season, KU finished last in the Big 12 with just 1.88 blocks per game.

Off to a Good Start
The Jayhawks have had much success in early-season play during the Bechard era. In 2003, KU went 7-3 before beginning Big 12 play, including a 6-0 overall mark on neutral courts.
Season, Non-Conference Start
2004, 8-0 (+)
2003, 7-3
2002, 8-0
2001, 9-0
2000, 9-0
1999, 9-2
1998, 9-2

A Balanced Attack
One look at KU’s season stats gives you an idea of how many offensive weapons the Jayhawks have in their lineup. Five players — Josi Lima, Ashley Michaels, Jana Correa, Emily Brown and Paula Caten — average 2.19 or more kills per game. In addition, KU gets 1.19 kills per game from reserve Lindsey Morris while primary setter Andi Rozum adds 1.00 per game. On the defensive side, libero Jill Dorsey (4.56 dpg) is backed by Lima and Brown, who add 2.19 and 2.30 digs, respectively, while three other Jayhawks add at least 1.15 per game (Jamie Mathewson, Rozum and Correa).