Jayhawks Begin Second Round of Big 12 Play In Waco

Oct. 20, 2005


Kansas volleyball opens its second half of Big 12 Conference play and looks to stop a four-match skid Saturday at Baylor (11-10, 3-7 Big 12). The Jayhawks, 12-7 overall and 4-6 in league action, are currently sixth in the conference standings.

First serve is set for 7 p.m. at the Ferrell Center. Gametracker and post-match results will be available on Kansas Athletics’ official website, kuathletics.com.

The Jayhawks return nine letterwinners including four starters in 2005. KU is led by senior middle blocker Josi Lima, a three-time All-Big 12 First Team selection who was named Sports Imports/AVCA National and Big 12 Player of the Week on Sept. 19. Postseason award candidates Paula Caten (senior) and Emily Brown (sophomore) are also in the starting six.

Lima averages a team-best 3.62 kills and 0.97 blocks per game. Freshman Savannah Noyes, at 6-3, adds 1.69 kills per game at a team-best .252 hitting efficiency in the other middle blocker spot.

Caten, a 6-3 outside hitter, adds 3.24 kills per game and Brown, a 6-2 right side hitter, chips in 2.75 kills and 2.35 digs per game. Junior Megan Hill has started three matches this season at outside hitter and adds 1.03 kills per game.

Junior libero Jamie Mathewson paces the defense and ranks ninth in the league with 3.31 digs per game.

The Jayhawks are without junior outside hitter Jana Correa, who suffered a season-ending injury against #20 Kansas State on Oct. 5. Before the injury, Correa averaged a team-high 3.60 kills and 2.29 digs per game in 16 starts this season.

Kansas is trying to halt a four-match losing streak that included three ranked teams — #7 Missouri (Oct. 15), #1 Nebraska (Oct. 8) and #20 Kansas State (Oct. 5).

Baylor leads the all-times series against Kansas, 13-9. The Jayhawks have won the last two meetings, with their last loss to the Bears in Waco on Oct. 2, 2004. KU swept Baylor in the first half of Big 12 play on Sept. 24 in Lawrence.

Baylor has won two of its last three matches after halting a six-match skid in Big 12 play that lasted from Sept. 21 to Oct. 12. Despite some early-season injuries, the Bears rebounded in its last three outings to defeat Oklahoma and Texas A&M in four games and fell to #20 Kansas State in five games.

Junior outside hitter Nicole LeBlanc (3.71 kpg) and junior middle blocker Desiree Guilliard-Young (2.26 kpg) each had 14 kills in BU’s 3-1 road victory at Texas A&M Wednesday night. The win was Baylor’s first in College Station since 1992.

LeBlanc recorded her ninth double-double of the season and third straight with a match-high 18 digs, while Guilliard-Young added eight blocks for the Bears (11-10, 3-7 Big 12). Senior middle blocker Stella Odion (3.35 kpg) hit .579 with 13 kills and seven blocks, while senior outside hitter Kelly Spriggs (2.77 kpg) had 10 kills and five blocks.

Baylor hit .272 for the match while holding Texas A&M to .182. The Bears also outdug the Aggies, 65-51, and outblocked them 16.5-11.0. BU thrives on its defense, ranking fourth in the league in blocking (2.99 bpg) and fifth in digs (15.00 dpg) and opponent hitting percentage (.196).

No. 24 Kansas claimed its 14th straight win at home Sept. 24 with a 31-29, 30-23, 32-30 win over Baylor.

Jana Correa led KU with 13 kills and added eight digs in the win. Josi Lima, the reigning Sports Imports/AVCA National and Big 12 Player of the Week, contributed 10 kills and nine digs.

Savannah Noyes tied a career high with nine kills on a team-best .300 attack percentage and Paula Caten added eight kills in the win. Jamie Mathewson was solid on defense, leading all players and tying a career high with 19 digs. The Jayhawk defense totaled a season-high 66 digs on the night. Andi Rozum dished 43 assists for KU and had three solo blocks.

BU was led by Nicole LeBlanc, who had a match-best 14 kills and added eight digs. Three Bears added double-digit digs to the defensive effort.

Junior outside hitter Jana Correa will be out for the remainder of the season due to an injury sustained in game one of the K-State game on Oct. 5. Junior Megan Hill (1.05 kills per game) has replaced Correa in the starting lineup.

The Big 12 is celebrating its 10th anniversary of athletic competition during the 2005-06 season. In an effort to recognize this milestone, the conference and its member schools are selecting special 10th anniversary teams for all sports. In certain sports, including volleyball, the Big 12 is asking its fans to vote via the league web site for student-athletes they feel should be honored on anniversary teams as part of the celebration.

Online voting is available until Nov. 1.

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