No. 17 Kansas to Start Second Half at No. 22 Iowa State
Oct. 22, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – One match out of first place and holding a two-match lead for second in the Big 12 standings, the 17th-ranked Kansas volleyball team has provided itself solid footing to begin the second half of conference play, beginning at No. 22 Iowa State inside the Hilton Coliseum, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
FOLLOW THE HAWKS
KLWN (1320 AM) will broadcast its third-straight Wednesday match with Kyle West on the call. KU at ISU will broadcast live on Cyclones.TV for a subscription fee, or fans can tune in for a live audio stream free of charge on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access. Fans can always track the Jayhawks on GameTracker or by following JayhawkVball on Twitter.
Iowa State leads the all-time record 44-36-1 in a series that dates back to 1975. The Jayhawks own an 18-14-1 advantage on their home court and are 7-25 against the Cyclones in Ames. Kansas knocked off then-No. 19 in the teams’ first meeting of 2012 (Sept. 26), with the Jayhawks taking the hotly-contested match, 3-2, to collect their first win over a top-25 foe this season. Iowa State has won seven of the last 10 meetings, holding a top-25 ranking in six of those.
AT A GLANCE
-KU jumped to No. 17 on the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division I Coaches Poll, marking the highest ranking in program history. Four Big 12 members hold spots in the nation’s top-25: No. 8 Texas, No. 16 Kansas State, No. 17 Kansas and No. 22 Iowa State.
-The Jayhawks checked in at No. 8 on the NCAA RPI projections this week – the highest RPI mark in program history. In 2012, Kansas is 5-3 against top-50 RPI teams and 12-3 against the top-100 with the Jayhawks’ only losses coming at Arkansas (No. 25), at Notre Dame (No. 40) and at Texas (No. 4).
-At 19-3 (.864, 15th NCAA), Kansas is keeping pace with the 1986 team that currently holds the program record for season winning percentage (26-9, .743). During the record-setting season, those Jayhawks were also 19-3 through the first 22 matches.
-The Jayhawks are 7-1 heading into the second half of Big 12 play for the first time in school history. Before Nebraska and Colorado left the league at the conclusion of the 2010 season, every Big 12 slate consisted of 20 matches, making the midway mark after 10. In 2003, KU went 6-4 in the first half of Big 12 action – marking the only other time KU was above .500 at the turn.
-KU will look to sweep the season series against the Cyclones for the first time since the 2004 season, which capped off five-straight seasons that Kansas swept Iowa State (2000-04).
-Sophomore outside hitter Sara McClinton and redshirt junior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc were named the Big 12 Offense and Defense Players of the Week, respectively, on Oct. 22. KU received multiple weekly honors for the second time this season – a feat never before achieved until 2012.
-If the season ended today, Jarmoc would break KU’s career (.325) and single-season attack percentage (.396) records. Junior libero Brianne Riley would do the same, only breaking the single-season record (5.28) in digs per set.
-This week, Jarmoc (.396, 18th NCAA) reclaimed her lead atop the Big 12 in attack percentage. Junior setter Erin McNorton continues to lead the league in assists per set (11.99, 6th NCAA), while Riley keeps her season-long reign as the leader in digs per set (5.28, 32nd NCAA).
NO. 17 KANSAS (19-3, 7-1 Big 12)
As they have several times this season, the Jayhawks find themselves in a new scenario. As KU prepares to start the second half of the conference season at 7-1 for the first time in program history, the Jayhawks are also equipped with their highest ranking and highest RPI in the team’s existence. Although Kansas has uncovered multiple firsts in 2012, none of them have the second-place Jayhawks feeling unready to compete for the top spot in the conference.
Wednesday’s match against the Cyclones provides another opportunity against a top-25 team for a Jayhawk squad that has been relentless against ranked squads this season. After knocking off Kansas State last Wednesday, KU is 5-1 this season against teams either ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA Division I Coaches Poll at the time of the match (Wins: RV Tulsa, RV Creighton, No. 19 Iowa State, RV Oklahoma, No. 14 Kansas State; Loss: No. 9 Texas).
In their last outing, the Jayhawks came out flat against TCU, hitting a mere .095 as a unit in the opening frame, including four kills and four errors from Jarmoc. The slow start was replaced by three-straight sets of .300-plus efficiency, highlighted by 19 kills and no errors for Jarmoc for the remainder of the match. She finished with a career-high 23 kills and a .613 attack percentage, the 10th time this season Jarmoc has hit over .500.
Ironically, Jarmoc was named the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, her second weekly honor of the season, for her explosive 12 blocks against Kansas State last Wednesday. Sophomore outside hitter Sara McClinton joined her on the honoree list as the league’s Offensive Player of the Week. In two matches, she drilled 36 kills and only four errors. The duo ranks in the Big 12’s top-10 in both kills and points per set.
As a team, Kansas leads the league in digs per set (16.02, 85th NCAA) and kills per set (14.36, 16th NCAA) and is second in assists (13.45, 17th NCAA), paced by McNorton’s Big 12-best 11.99 assists per set mark.
Jarmoc leads the offense with 3.61 kills per set, the defense with 1.34 blocks per set and the conference in attack percentage (.396). Behind her, Riley’s 438 digs this season ranks sixth all-time in a single-season at Kansas. With nine regular-season matches remaining she needs just 134 digs to break KU’s all-time digs leader as a junior.
In conference play, McClinton (3.19) and redshirt junior outside hitter Catherine Carmichael (3.18) rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in kills per set.
Additionally, Jarmoc and senior middle blocker Tayler Tolefree are the only duo in the league to land in the conference’s top-10 in both attack percentage (.396, .289) and blocks per set (1.34, 1.04).
NO. 22 IOWA STATE (11-7, 5-3 Big 12)
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. KU used its win over the Cyclones on Sept. 26 to springboard into the top-25 and has since continued to climb. Since falling to the Jayhawks, ISU has gone on to go 4-2 with losses on the road to top-15 Kansas State and Texas.
The Cyclones are 3-5 against top-25 foes this season, including a four-set victory over No. 1 Nebraska on Sept. 15 and a five-set win at No. 19 Illinois, who played in last season’s national championship match. Last Wednesday, the Cyclones became the first Big 12 squad to take a set from Texas as they built a 2-0 lead in Austin, before falling in five to the Longhorns.
Most recently, the Cyclones quickly dismantled Oklahoma as All-American senior middle blocker Jamie Straube, freshman right side Mackenzie Bigbee and sophomore outside hitter Victoria Hurtt each attacked at .500 or better to sweep the Sooners. Fellow All-Americans senior setter Alison Landwehr and junior libero Kristen Hahn lead the team with 11.15 assists per set and 5.03 digs per set, respectively. Hurtt is currently the only Cyclone averaging more than three kills per set (3.01).
As a team, ISU is hitting for a .235 overall and an even better .252 in conference play. Their 14.43 kills per set leads the league in conference-only matches. Defensively, the Cyclones dig at a 15.74 per set rate, led by Hahn’s 5.03 digs per set, second only to Riley’s 5.28. Unlike the Jayhawks, ISU blocks at a 1.52 average, the lowest in the Big 12.
HEAD COACH Ray Bechard
On starting the second half of the season on the road against a tough Iowa State team:
“You play everybody the first round then you’ve got to play everybody the second round. I think Iowa State is playing closer to what they hoped they’d play like when the season started. You look at their record and they’ve had a few bumps in the road, but that is not indicative to the type of team that I know they are. Nobody had taken a set off of Texas, and (ISU) had them down, 2-0. Then they go and handle a pretty good Oklahoma team very decisively so they obviously have it going at a high level so we’ll have to go in there at a high level.
On Iowa State gunning for Kansas after their last meeting:
“I know they have goals on what they want their conference season to look like and we’re only halfway there so there’s a lot of volleyball left to play. It’s a favorable home schedule for them, but it comes down to people following game plan and play at a level that they want to be playing at. It’ll be a fun second half of the schedule.”
On who stands out on the Iowa State roster:
“They’ve got great balance. They’ve got capable players, some who were All-Americans last year like (Jaime) Straube in the middle, and then a freshman player in (Mackenzie) Bigbee who I’m sure is a lot more comfortable now. Plus, any time you’re hitting over .250 in league games, you’re doing plenty to win.”
On starting the second half 7-1:
“It’s exciting. Yeah, we did a good job the first half, but that’s what it was – the first half. We’ll put that away and this is the time of year you have to do something to get better everyday. There’s a number of things we have to get better at and improve on, but we’re looking forward to the second half.”
No. 17 Kansas comes home to host a rare Monday night meeting against West Virginia on Oct. 29. The match will be televised by Metro Sports and is set to start at 6:30 p.m. at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
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