Jayhawks to Host Creighton on Metro Sports
Sept. 17, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sandwiched between the last pre-conference tournament of the year and the Big 12 Conference opener, the Kansas volleyball team will play host to the red-hot Creighton Bluejays at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
AROUND THE GYM
-Social Media Day: Fans who show proof of friendship with KU Athletics on Facebook or Twitter will be admitted for just $3.
-Wish List Wednesday: Kansas Athletics will grant one fan’s wish in attendance during the third set. Fans can sign-up at the promotions table.
FOLLOW THE HAWKS
Wednesday marks the first of five matches that will be televised by Metro Sports this season (Knology, channel 37). Brenda VanLengen and former Jayhawk volleyball player, Jill (Dorsey) Hall, will be on the call.
As with all home matches, KU vs. Creighton 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.
Kansas is 5-0 all-time against Creighton in a series that dates back to 1979. In their last meeting, the Jayhawks took a 3-1 victory in Omaha, Neb., on Aug. 28, 2010.
AT A GLANCE
-Head coach Ray Bechard is sitting at 949 career victories. Bechard is 949-264 in 27 seasons as a head coach and 233-204 in 15 seasons at Kansas.
-Kansas claimed its third-straight tournament title in their last time out, going 2-1 at the Golden Dome Invitational hosted by Notre Dame.
-The loss to Notre Dame in the weekend final ended Kansas’ win streak at nine, which tied the fourth-longest in school history, and was the longest since the 2004 season.
-Redshirt junior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc was named the Golden Dome Invitational Tournament MVP, her third-straight week of claiming MVP honors.
-In the NCAA national statistics, released on Monday evening, junior setter Erin McNorton ranks third in the country in assists per set (12.36), Jarmoc checks in at 15th in attack percentage (.434), while junior libero Brianne Riley was 24th in the NCAA in digs per set (5.38) – all three lead the Big 12 in their respective categories.
-As a unit, Kansas leads the Big 12 in three major categories: kills (14.64 per set), assists (13.76 per set) and digs (15.98) – and comes in second nearly everywhere else, including hitting percentage (.266) and opponent hitting percentage (.141).
-Creighton is receiving votes in the AVCA Top-25 Poll. The last time KU faced a team receiving votes, the Jayhawks defeated Tulsa in four sets (Aug. 31).
KANSAS (11-2, 0-0 Big 12 Conference)
The Jayhawks wrapped up their non-conference tournament schedule with its third title in four weekends, claiming the tiebreaker with a 2-1 record at the Golden Dome Invitational hosted by Notre Dame. Kansas knocked off Loyola-Marymount in four sets and picked up the seventh sweep of the season in its win against Xavier on Saturday. The back-to-back wins pushed KU’s win streak to nine-straight, tying the fourth-longest in school history. In its only loss of the weekend, KU won the first set against Notre Dame before falling in the next three sets by the slimmest of margins – all by two points, including two extended sets.
Falling to the Irish may have snapped the Jayhawks’ win streak, but it displayed the team’s increased improvement in closing matches. KU forced set point twice in the second frame and came back from a 17-12 deficit in the fourth set to tie the match at 18-18. The Jayhawks would go on to knot the score seven more times in the final moments, most notably at 25-25, 26-26 and 27-27. Bechard noted that he was pleased with the Jayhawks’ fight, but the Irish came up with the key plays when it mattered most.
In the last match prior to Big 12 action, KU and Creighton will feature a battle of great defenses. Kansas averages a Big-12 best 15.98 digs per set compared to Creighton’s 16.12 average, while the Jayhawks’ check in at third in the conference with 2.93 blocks per set next to the Jays’ MVC-best 3.03.
Jarmoc, who has appeared on eight-consecutive All-Tournament Teams, sets the tone for a powerful Jayhawk offense. Aside from leading the conference in attack percentage, Jarmoc’s team-best 3.84 kills per set ranks second in the league. The Calgary, Alberta, Canada native broke her career-high with 17 kills in three sets against Xavier, and she paces KU with 1.44 blocks per set.
She’s not the only hot hitter in Crimson and Blue. Five Jayhawks average more than two kills per set to help Kansas lead the Big 12 in kills per set. Sophomore outside hitter Sara McClinton led the Jayhawks in kills twice this weekend and is second on the team with 3.49 kills per set.
CREIGHTON (10-1, 2-0 Missouri Valley Conference)
Led by 10th year head coach Kristen Bernthal Booth, Creighton was voted to finish fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2012. In the first two meetings of league play, the Jays proved the polls wrong as they defeated Missouri State and Wichita State, voted to finish second and third, respectively. Creighton’s only loss of the season came at the hands of then-No. 21 Kansas State and the team heads to Lawrence on a six-match winning streak.Offensively, the Bluejays are led by sophomore outside hitter, and MVC All-Freshman Team member, Leah McNary’s 3.00 kills per set, while 6-foot-4 sophomore middle blocker Kelli Browning is hitting for a .415 efficiency and leads the team with 1.75 blocks per set.
Seeing her first career MVC action, Michelle Jereb was named the MVC Freshman of the Week after she averaged 3.22 kills, 2.44 digs and 0.89 blocks per set while hitting .338 in wins vs. Missouri State (3-2) and Wichita State (3-1). She also handled 46 serve receptions without an error, 24 of which the Jays converted directly into a kill.
As a unit, CU is hitting for a collective .258 attack percentage and averages 13.27 kills per set.
HEAD COACH Ray Bechard
On Creighton being more than a mid-major conference volleyball team at 10-1 overall:“The fact that they got off to a 2-0 conference start with Missouri State and Wichita State (confirms how good Creighton is). Plus, knocking off and giving Wisconsin their only loss, plus (wins over) Northern Colorado, plus Tulsa. They are probably a team that deserves to be considered a top-20 team right now and playing every bit of that right now. Obviously, we’ll have to respond extremely well after a pretty emotional weekend.”
On the Bluejays’ team:
“(They are) Very veteran with a great setter who has turned into an outstanding setter over the years. They are a very physical, mature team that had some success last year but I think obviously, it’s all come together for them this year. They feel like they probably have a great shot at winning their conference, which has been strong, especially the top three or four teams having been really legitimate teams over the last few years. It’ll be a great challenge for us.”
On the Jayhawks’ improvement closing out matches:
“We had good responses a couple times this weekend. And yes, we were happy with that–putting ourselves in the situation to extend the match yesterday (vs. Notre Dame). Now, when you put yourself in that opportunity, obviously, you’d like to step forward. But Notre Dame a ton of plays yesterday and you’ve got to give them some credit. They, I’m sure, played one of their better matches. That was a good environment for us to be in. Obviously, it would have been a huge breakthrough for us to have come back from that. But having been through that, I think will better prepare us for some things that will happen in the future.”
Kansas opens Big 12 Conference play at Texas Tech on Sat., Sept. 22 at 6 p.m.
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