Kansas Heads to Missouri for First Border Showdown Match of the Season
Oct. 10, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. –After falling to Texas A&M in heartbreaking fashion in its last time out, the University of Kansas volleyball team is only interested in what can be learned from the experience as the Jayhawks prepare to open their season series rivalry at Missouri, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
Kansas (12-5, 0-4) has built a long list of aspects that have gone right in the first four matches of the conference season. Against their latest conference foe, the Jayhawks bested the Aggies in kills (63/62), attack percentage (.209/.155), digs (85/74), aces (5/4) and total blocks (12/6). In the Big 12 match prior to that, Kansas posted the most digs of any team in the league in a four-set contest (96) at Baylor. In the previous week, the Jayhawks put up more blocks than the nationally ranked Iowa State Cyclones.
“But it’s the result that we get graded on,” head coach Ray Bechardsaid. “It would be different if we just got outmatched in every category, but we’re not. We’re matching up. We just have to make some plays at key times. Let’s give Texas A&M some credit, they made some great plays at key times. It was high-level volleyball, so we’ll continue to build on that, get better and hope for better results.”
For the fifth-straight week, six of the nine Big 12 teams are on the AVCA Division I Top 25 Coaches poll or receiving votes. Additionally, only one school in the elite volleyball conference holds winning percentage lower than .700.
With no breaks to be found up and down the conference schedule, the Jayhawks will look to get their first Big 12 victory in enemy territory. The year’s first edition of the Border Showdown will take place at Missouri’s Hearnes Center, where the Tigers are planning their annual “Bust the House” promotion on Wednesday. Last season, the rivalry provided plenty of drama as each team won at home. The Jayhawks’ 25-20 victory in the second set at home was the largest margin of victory that either team managed against each other last season.
FOLLOW THE HAWKS
Wednesday’s match is scheduled to air on FSN Kansas City. Fans can also watch a live video stream by accessing Mizzou All-Access. Additionally, Jayhawk All-Access will provide free audio play-by-play with Kyle West calling the action. Scoring updates are always available by following JayhawkVball on Twitter.
KANSAS (12-5, 0-4 Big 12)
The Jayhawks head into Wednesday’s contest after a 1-1 week, winning five of their last eight sets. A sweep over Nebraska-Omaha last Tuesday snapped the Jayhawks’ three-match losing streak before a loss to the Aggies on Saturday handed Kansas just its second 0-4 conference start in Big 12 history (0-7, 1997).
KU displayed its tenacious resolve when the visiting UNO Mavericks pushed the Jayhawks to match point in the final set last Tuesday. Armed with a two-set lead late in the third set, the Jayhawks found themselves behind, 20-24. Senior outside hitter Allison Mayfield threw down three kills, while middle blockers Caroline Jarmoc and Tayler Tolefreetallied one kill a piece for the Jayhawks’ final five points of the match. What once was a 20-24 third-set deficit resulted in a 28-26 victory to complete the sweep.
In the team’s last time out, Kansas redshirt sophomore middle blocker Caroline Jarmocled the Jayhawks with a near perfect performance against Texas A&M. Her 16 kills tied her career-high as she swung for a .556 attack percentage – the best on the floor. Her four aces marked a season high, just one shy of her all-time best. Mayfield led the team with 19 kills while racking up a season-best 18 digs, good for her sixth double-double of the year.
Jarmoc and Mayfield represent the consistent effort that KU’s lineup continues to produce, as both are maintaining top-five numbers amongst their Big 12 counterparts. Mayfield still holds the second-place spot in both kills per set (4.23) and points per set (4.65), while Jarmoc ranks fourth in blocks per set (1.19) and third in service aces per set (0.35). Junior middle blocker Tayler Tolefreeholds tight to third place in the Big 12 with 1.21 blocks per set.
As a team, Kansas posted 85 digs against Texas A&M on Saturday, 11 more than the Aggies, using a double-digit effort by four different Jayhawks. Per the usual, sophomore Brianne Rileyled with 22, her sixth 20-dig performance of the year. Riley has hit her stride as the intense competition has picked up with Big 12 play. Her 5.13 digs per set is the third-most among her Big 12 counterparts in conference-only matches.
“We feel like we’ve played progressively better in every Big 12 match,” Bechard said. “We know what our goals are, and we know what kind of team we have. Obviously, this isn’t the start we wanted but there is a lot of volleyball to play and a lot of opportunity out there. This is a great opportunity for us this week. It makes it more difficult because it’s on the road, but it would show great character if we could if we could break through on the road and come back with some good results.”
RV MISSOURI (14-7 Overall, 1-4 Big 12)
Mizzou has ran into some bad luck of its own as the team lost its third-straight five-set match last Saturday at Baylor despite a career-best effort from sophomore outside hitter Lisa Henning, who had 27 kills on .365 hitting. Henning’s 27 kills are the most by any Big 12 player in a league match this season and are third overall in the conference.
Senior Brittney Brimmage tallied 12 kills on .320 hitting while sophomore setter Molly Kreklow tallied a double-double with 52 assists and 14 digs. Entering Wednesday’s matchup, Brimmage leads the team – and the Big 12 – with a .390 attack percentage, while Kreklow is third in the conference with 10.51 assists per set.
As Kansas was building a 2-0 lead against Texas A&M, Mizzou did the same at Baylor before the Bears rallied on its home floor to pull off the comeback. After taking down Texas A&M on Sept. 24, the Tigers, who are receiving votes on the AVCA Division I Top 25 Coaches poll, have lost three-straight league matches.
Kansas will stay on the road on Saturday when KU heads to Norman, Okla., for its first meeting of the season with nationally ranked Oklahoma. Match time has been changed from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m.