Jayhawks Set for Southbound Trip to Baylor
Sept. 30, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. –One week into the Big 12 Conference season, the University of Kansas volleyball team will look to bounce back from its first consecutive losses of the season when the Jayhawks travel to Waco, Texas, to face Baylor, Saturday at 7 p.m.
Kansas (11-3, 0-2) opened league play against preseason favorite, No. 8 Texas a week ago in Austin. Four days later, KU took on the Big 12’s preseason second-place team, No. 16 Iowa State. With both matches resulting in losses, the Jayhawks head to Waco eager to break out of unfamiliar back-to-back loss territory.
Baylor (11-6, 0-3) enters the weekend in a similar situation. The Bears opened their Big 12 season against nationally-ranked Oklahoma. Kansas State then handed the Bears their only sweep of the conference season. In its last time out, Baylor built a 2-1 lead at Texas A&M before falling to the Aggies in five sets.
Kansas has split the season series with Baylor in each of the last three years. Last season, it was the road team who fared better as Kansas took a 3-1 victory in Waco and Baylor won 3-1 in Lawrence.
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KANSAS (11-3 Overall, 0-2 Big 12)
Kansas received 61 votes in the AVCA Division I Coaches poll that was released on Monday – up from 60 votes in last week’s poll. The only other team receiving votes ahead of Kansas without breaking into the top 25 is Long Beach State, who leads by just two votes (63).
All three of the Jayhawks’ losses have came at the hands of teams ranked higher than No. 20 in the AVCA Division I Coaches Poll. After suffering the first loss of the season to then-No. 15 Northern Iowa, Kansas opened Big 12 play against No. 8 Texas and No. 16 Iowa State – the preseason first and second-place selections. Those back-to-back matches resulted in Kansas’ first sweeps of the season.
Despite losses to No. 8 Texas and No. 16 Iowa State, the Jayhawks won the war at the net – totaling more team blocks than their opponents in both matches. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc ranks third in the Big 12 (1.30 bps) and is tied with teammate Tayler Tolefreefor fourth in conference-only matches (1.17 bps).
The two Jayhawk middle blockers rank in the NCAA’s top 50 in the latest stat rankings, as well. Jarmoc ranks 26th in the NCAA in blocks per set, while Tolefree is tied for 44th. In the most recent NCAA stats rankings (9/26), Kansas checked in at No. 16 in the country in blocks per set as a team. That ranks third in the Big 12 behind Texas Tech and Texas.
Offensively, senior outside hitter Allison Mayfieldcontinues to be on point for the Jayhawks. She put up a solid effort at Texas to get out to a strong conference start. She ranks second in the Big 12 in kills, averaging 4.24 kills per set heading into the weekend – good for 23rd in the NCAA.
BAYLOR (11-6 Overall, 0-3 Big 12)
The Bears enter Saturday’s matchup as one of just three Big 12 teams without a victory in conference play – joining Kansas and Texas Tech. After falling to a nationally-ranked Purdue team in the season opener, Baylor rattled off seven-straight victories to bolster a strong pre-conference record.
Four Baylor starters average more than two kills per set, led by freshman Adri Nora’s 2.88 kps. Senior Briana Tolbert leads the team with a .326 attack percentage, which ranks fifth in the league. Junior middle blocker Torri Campbell leads the team with 1.09 blocks per set, helping her team to 2.31 bps.
In their last time out, Tolbert and junior Alyssa Dibbern carried the load offensively for the Bears in a five-set loss at Texas A&M. The duo racked up 12 and 10 kills, respectively. Tolbert had a .321 hitting percentage to lead the Bears.
Junior setter Kate Harris made her first start of the season against the Aggies and responded with career-highs of 39 assists and 22 digs for her first double-double. Senior Allison King added 16 digs, while Tolbert and Dibbern each had three blocks.
The Jayhawks will take a brief break from conference action when they welcome Nebraska-Omaha to the Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Tuesday. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.