Kansas to Host
Oct. 6, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. –For the sixth-straight season, the University of Kansas volleyball team will share its focus on winning with a special cause as the team will host its annual “Jayhawks for a Cure” match, Saturday against Texas A&M at 6:30 p.m.
In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, teams around the nation have been collecting pledges and donations for digs to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. On Saturday, the Jayhawks’ pink warm-up shirts and accessories will add to the Crimson and Blue that’s always found in the Horejsi Family Athletics Center. Fans wearing pink will receive $3 admission into the match.
Not only does Kansas have a history of solid contributions to the foundation, the Jayhawks are also traditionally hard to beat when hosting the fundraiser match. After falling in the first one held in 2006, Kansas has won four-straight “Jayhawks for a Cure” matches. Last year’s upset over the top-10 Iowa State Cyclones occurred during the annual fundraiser.
In addition to the worthy cause, both teams have a lot at stake on Saturday. The Aggies are sitting at fourth place in the Big 12 standings, directly behind a Texas squad who swept Texas A&M on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks are looking for their first conference victory after uncharacteristically starting the Big 12 slate at 0-3, something Kansas hasn’t done since the 1997 season.
FOLLOW THE HAWKS
The match will be webcast live on Jayhawk All-Access (kuathletics.com/AllAccess) free of charge with Kyle West calling the action. Fans can also track the Jayhawks on GameTracker or by following JayhawkVball on Twitter.
KANSAS (12-4 Overall, 0-3 Big 12)
When Monday’s weekly AVCA Division I Top 25 Coaches poll was released, six of the nine league schools are on the poll or receiving votes. Additionally, all nine schools in the elite volleyball conference are carrying a .680 winning percentage or higher.
KU caught a large chunk of that in the early portion of its Big 12 slate, opening conference play with losses to nationally ranked Texas and Iowa State. The Jayhawks then traveled to Baylor and posted a league-best 96 digs in four sets, including a career-high performance from sophomore libero Brianne Riley, but fell to the Bears, 3-1. Her 34 digs are also the most for a Big 12 player in a four-set match this season.
The Jayhawks took a break from conference action in their midweek match when KU swept the visiting Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks on Tuesday. Kansas snapped its only three-match losing skid of the year with the victory, using a total team effort to make it happen. Senior setter Nicole Tate came in during the final set to dish out a season-high 10 assists, while senior outside hitter Allison Mayfieldcollected her fifth double-double of the season with a team-high 14 kills and 16 digs. Riley continued her warpath in the digs column, as she led the team with 20. In the last two matches, the sophomore has racked up 54 digs.
Mayfield continues her tear through her senior season. She put up a solid 17-kill effort at Baylor and followed that with 14 more against UNO to hold down her No. 2 ranking in the Big 12 in kills and points per set, averaging 4.26 kps and 4.71 pps.
Middle blockers Tayler Tolefree (1.21) and Caroline Jarmoc(1.19) rank third and fifth, respectively, in the Big 12 in blocks per set, while Riley also ranks in the top-five in the league. Her 4.39 digs per set rank fourth among her Big 12 counterparts. Additionally, Jarmoc’s 0.32 service aces per set ranks fourth in the league.
TEXAS A&M (13-4 Overall, 2-2 Big 12)
The Aggies have been receiving votes in the AVCA Division I Top 25 Coaches poll for the majority of the season and have yet to lose a match at home. Texas A&M opened the Big 12 season with a loss at Missouri before bouncing back to win back-to-back matches against Baylor and Kansas State. On Wednesday, the Aggies fell to the preseason favorite Texas Longhorns in Austin.
Senior outside hitter Kelsey Black leads the team with 3.66 kills per set, and in conference-only matches Black also leads the squad with 3.93 digs per set. Junior middle blocker Lindsey Miller paces the defense with 1.05 blocks per set.
Against Texas on Wednesday, Black, Miller and junior Alisia Kastmo led the Aggies with nine kills apiece. Junior libero Tori Mellinger had a team-high seven digs, and Miller led with three blocks and 11 points. Sophomore setter Allie Sawatzky dished out 26 assists.
Last Saturday, Texas A&M snapped Kansas State’s nine-match winning streak and handed the Wildcats their first Big 12 Conference loss.
Against the Wildcats, Miller took charge defending at the net, when she posted a career-high nine blocks to help A&M not only shut down the hottest team in the league, but also help the Aggies contain the league’s top kills and points leader, Kaitlynn Pelger, who came in hitting .355 with 4.77 kills and 5.85 points per set. The Aggies held the Wildcats’ standout middle was held to only eight kills and 10 points while hitting .038.
Kansas hits the road again for the next two matches. The Jayhawks will travel to Columbia, Mo., to face rival Missouri on Wednesday, Oct. 12. Next Saturday, KU heads to Norman, Okla., for its first meeting of the season with nationally ranked Oklahoma.