Kansas Prepares to Host No. 19 Iowa State
Sept. 24, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Armed with momentum from a quick and convincing sweep to open the Big 12 Conference season, the Kansas volleyball team will welcome its first top-25 opponent of 2012 on Wednesday when the Jayhawks take on No. 19 Iowa State at 6:30 p.m. inside the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
FOLLOW THE HAWKS
For the second-straight Wednesday, the Jayhawks will be on TV as KU vs. ISU will be televised by Metro Sports (Knology, channel 37). Brenda VanLengen and former Jayhawk volleyball player, Jill (Dorsey) Hall, will be on the call.
As with all home matches, Wednesday’s 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 call the action. Fans can always track the Jayhawks on GameTracker or by following JayhawkVball on Twitter.
Iowa State leads the all-time series that dates back to 1975 with a 44-35-1 record over KU. The Jayhawks own a 17-14-1 advantage on their home court and are 7-25 against the Cyclones in Ames. Iowa State has won eight of the last 10 meetings, holding a top-25 ranking in the last six of those. Last season, Iowa State was the only team in the Big 12 to sweep Kansas in both of their meetings. Kansas last defeated then-No. 10 Iowa State on Oct. 9, 2010 (3-1), giving KU its first win against a top-10 opponent.
AT A GLANCE
-For the first time this season, Kansas is receiving votes on the AVCA Division I Coaches Poll, debuting just three away from the top-25. With 23 points, Oklahoma (54) and Oregon State (43) are the only teams ahead of Kansas before reaching the top-25 rankings. This marks the first time Kansas has received votes in the top-25 poll since Sept. 26, 2011.
-Kansas has faced – and defeated – two teams receiving votes in the AVCA Division I Coaches Poll (Tulsa, Creighton), but Iowa State marks the first top-25 ranked team KU will take on this year. Currently, three Big 12 teams are ranked (Texas, Kansas State, Iowa State) and Oklahoma is receiving votes.
-Iowa State, who climbed to a program-best No. 2 RPI ranking in 2011, was the only Big 12 team to sweep the Jayhawks in both meetings last fall. As a No. 4 seed, the Cyclones advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
-Last year, Kansas played 16 matches, or 64 sets, against Big 12 opponents. KU won 22 of those sets and lost 16 by three points or less. The Jayhawks took at least one set from every Big 12 opponent with the exception of ISU.
-In its last time out, Kansas sprinted past Texas Tech in three in the Jayhawks’ second-fastest match of the season (1:19). KU hit a season-high .371 as a team, the highest since recording a .387 mark on the second day of the 2011 season (vs. Liberty, 8/27/11).
-All-Big 12 Preseason Team selection, redshirt junior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc, led the Jayhawks with 11 kills against Texas Tech, using a .500 attack percentage. That marked the eighth time this season Jarmoc has hit .500 or better in a match.
-In the NCAA national statistics, released on Monday evening, junior setter Erin McNorton ranks third in the country in assists per set (12.34), Jarmoc checks in at 15th in attack percentage (.409), 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 continues to lead the Big 12 in the big three: kills (14.68 per set), assists (13.81 per set) and digs (16.34). KU has led the conference in kills and assists all season long. The only time the Jayhawks did not lead the league in digs was on Aug. 24 (TCU). Kansas has taken the digs lead and maintained it since Aug. 28.
RV KANSAS (13-2, 1-0)
Led by head coach Ray Bechard in his 15th season at Kansas, the Jayhawks were voted to finish sixth in the Big 12 Preseason Poll. KU enters Wednesday’s matchup sitting in second in the league standings after cruising to a conference opening sweep at Texas Tech on Saturday.
As the second week of conference play gets underway, the Jayhawks have not strayed from taking each match one at a time with a confident approach. That confidence radiated on Saturday as the Jayhawks sprinted out to leads as large as 11 points on the Red Raiders’ home court. Kansas established control early in the first set and never loosened its grip, showing an element of certainty that defines the difference in the 2011 and 2012 squads.
Five Jayhawks chip in more than two kills per set, while Jarmoc and sophomore outside hitter Sara McClinton average 3.89 and 3.45, respectively, both of which rank in the top-10 in the Big 12. Redshirt junior outside hitter Catherine Carmichael and senior middle blocker Tayler Tolefree average right above and right below the 2.5 kills per set mark, while freshman outside hitter Tiana Dockery is about to join the 2.0-plus ranks, sitting at 1.85.
Jarmoc, who has led the Jayhawks in kills 11 times in 15 matches, is putting together a season worthy of noting, collecting 33 kills and 11 blocks in the last two matches alone. Aside from leading the conference in attack percentage (.409), Jarmoc’s team-best 3.89 kills per set ranks second in the league. The Calgary, Alberta, Canada native paces KU with 1.43 blocks per set. Tolefree, the second piece of the Jayhawk blocking duo, is right behind her with 1.21 blocks per set, good for seventh in the Big 12.
Seemingly behind the scenes, junior setter Erin McNorton has much to do with the Jayhawks’ Big-12 best 14.68 kills per set. She dishes out 12.34 assists per frame, good for third in the NCAA. Holding down the back row, junior libero Brianne Riley is the Big 12 digs leader at an even 5.38 average, and stands just seven digs shy of tying Sarah Rome for fourth all-time on KU’s career digs list.
NO. 19 IOWA STATE (7-4, 1-0)
Led by seventh-year head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch, Iowa State was voted to finish second behind Texas in the 2012 Big 12 Preseason Poll following the Cyclones’ sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance last fall. ISU’s 7-4 record tends to be misleading as all of the team’s four losses came to top-20 teams with the exception of Syracuse.
The Cyclones responded to the rare loss against an unranked opponent with a 3-1 win against No. 1 Nebraska in their next time out, handing the top-ranked team its first loss of the year. Iowa State has also knocked off No. 25 Northern Iowa and No. 19 Illinois, who played in last season’s national championship match.
The loss of All-American Carly Jenson to graduation hardly fazed the Cyclones. Three more All-Americans start for ISU in 2012 in senior middle blocker Jamie Straube, senior setter Alison Landwehr and junior libero Kristen Hahn. Additionally, the Cyclones also feature a high school All-American in their starting lineup in freshman right side Mackenzie Bigbee. She leads the offensive with 3.37 kills per set, the only Cyclone registering above a 3.0 average.
As a team, ISU is hitting for a .232 attack percentage with 13.78 kills per set. Defensively, the Cyclones dig at a 15.00 per set rate, led by Hahn’s 4.78 digs per set. ISU blocks at a 1.47 average, with no one putting up more than one block per set.
HEAD COACH Ray Bechard
On having something to prove after the performances against ISU last year:
“They handled us last year twice, but it’s a new year. They’re a different team, we’re a different team so I don’t know how much relevance that has now, I just know that they’ve built a program. They are consistently in the top-10, top-15, top-20 and that’s where they are going to be. Now, what kind of response are we going to have if we truly want to get more competitive in this league, which we have the opportunity to do. It’s a different cast of characters, but over the last three to five years they have transitioned into a high-level team and that’s what we’re going to get.”
On the Cyclones’ 7-4 record being deceiving:
“They’ve got two or three of their outside attackers back, a very talented freshman (Bigbee) on the right side. Their libero (Hahn) was the best in the conference last year and their setter is great (Landwehr). They’re 7-4, but when you take on the type of schedule that they’ve taken on that’s an extremely competitive record to have. They have one loss that maybe meant they were struggling at some point for some reason, but great wins, too. No. 1 Nebraska was undefeated and Illinois was in the national championship match last year, so we will see a very competitive team come in here on Wednesday.”
On the Jayhawks’ momentum and confidence following a sweep to open conference play:
“Last year we opened up with Texas and Iowa State, but yes, we went on the road and we looked like a confident team. We felt like we could be in control if we played well and we did that. That being said, obviously that’s good, but that’s one match. I think we learned a lot more about our team from that.”
Aside from Jarmoc’s special season, which other players are stepping up:
“I was most happy with Cathy’s (Carmichael) performance on Saturday. She has been high-error in the past and to take 22 swings and not have an error, I was very pleased with that. Tiana Dockery continues to get more comfortable, she led our team in digs with 12 and six blocks were huge. Then she threw in six kills after not having a good first set from an attack standpoint, then she really settled down. We have a ton of experience in the middle with both of them (Tolefree and Jarmoc) each being in the program for four years, that if we can get the outsides to settle down and have a competitive conference from a statistical standpoint, we will be able to do something really special. That and Erin McNorton just does her thing, kind of slips in and out of the night without anyone really noticing her, but that middle hitting efficiency is a direct correlation to the ball she’s putting up there. We’re also aware of all the things we could’ve done better, too, so that’s what we’ll continue to work on.”
Kansas will travel to Morgantown, W. Va., for its first ever meeting with new Big 12 member West Virginia on Wed., Oct. 3. First serve is set for 5:30 p.m. CT.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.