No. 17 Kansas Welcomes West Virginia on Monday

Oct. 26, 2012

No. 17 Kansas vs. West Virginia
Redshirt junior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc is the reigning AVCA National Player of the Week.
Oct. 29, 2012
Location Lawrence, Kan.
Monday 6:30 p.m. CT
TV Metro Sports (KC)/Kansas Now 22
Live Stats GameTracker
Live Audio/Video $ AT&T Jayhawk All-Access
Game Notes Kansas
Big 12 Notes Weekly Release

LAWRENCE, Kan. – In a rare Monday night matchup, the No. 17 Kansas volleyball team will welcome the Mountaineers from West Virginia to the Horejsi Family Athletics Center for the first time since the 2000 season, Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m.

The match will be televised on Metro Sports (Knology, channel 37) and Kansas Now 22. Brenda VanLengen and former Jayhawk volleyball player, Jill (Dorsey) Hall, will provide the talent.

As with all home matches, Monday’s will stream live – video and audio – on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access with Kyle West on the call. The live audio stream will be available free of charge, while the audio and video combination requires a subscription fee. Fans can always track the Jayhawks on GameTracker or by following JayhawkVball on Twitter.

Kansas holds a 3-0 series record against the Mountaineers of West Virginia, after the Jayhawks defeated WVU, 3-1, in their first meeting of the season in Morgantown (Oct. 3). Monday’s meeting marks the Mountaineers’ first trip to Lawrence since 2000. The Jayhawks are 1-0 at home and 2-0 on the road against the new members of the Big 12.

-Kansas has not played on a Monday in more than nine years. In the last Monday meeting, KU swept UMKC at home on Sept. 22, 2003.

-Last Wednesday’s match at No. 22 Iowa State was only the third time this season both KU and its opponent hit less than .200 (at Arkansas, at Oklahoma).

-At 12-0, Kansas is the only team in the Big 12 undefeated at home in 2012. A win on Monday would tie the program record for most home wins in a season (1978, 1991).

-Redshirt junior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc became the third player in Jayhawk volleyball history to earn AVCA National Player of the Week honors (Oct. 23). One day prior, she became the first Jayhawk to receive her fourth-career Big 12 Player of the Week honor (three defensive, one offensive).

-Sophomore outside hitter Sara McClinton earned her first Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week award in the same week, bringing KU’s weekly award total to six – doubling the team’s previous season high of three, set in 2011. She also earned recognition as one of three Players of the Week (Oct. 23).

-KU jumped to No. 17 on the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division I Coaches Poll on Oct. 22, 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 – also a program best. In 2012, Kansas is 5-4 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), at Texas (No. 4) and at Iowa State (No. 37).

-After the loss at Iowa State on Oct. 24, Kansas (19-4, .826), is still keeping pace with the 1986 team that currently holds the program record for season winning percentage (26-9, .743).

-Against ISU, junior libero Brianne Riley moved into second all-time in career digs at Kansas (1,340), and now needs just 118 more digs to break the record as a junior. Additionally, if the season ended today, Jarmoc would break KU’s career (.323) and single-season attack percentage (.388) records.

-This week, Jarmoc (.388, 18th NCAA) reclaimed her lead atop the Big 12 in attack percentage. She’s led all but four days this season. All year long, junior setter Erin McNorton has topped the league in assists per set (11.94, 6th NCAA), while Riley keeps her season-long reign as the leader in digs per set (5.23, 32nd NCAA).

NO. 17 KANSAS (19-4, 7-2 Big 12)
Led by 15-year Kansas coaching veteran, Ray Bechard, the Jayhawks are taking the positives from a hard-fought loss at No. 22 Iowa State and moving their focus to the Mountaineers. West Virginia is one of only five teams this season to take the first set against Kansas in their initial meeting on Oct. 3. Although KU recovered and convincingly took the next three sets for the win, Bechard and his team realize that losing focus, even momentarily, comes at a cost.

Following a week where Kansas earned its highest top-25 and RPI rankings in history, as well as two Big 12 Players of the Week and its first AVCA National Player of the Week since 2008, the Jayhawks have been constantly surrounded by hype not associated with the game plan. Bechard explained, however, that individual awards are viewed as a testament to the team’s success as a whole. Now, two matches out of first place with a one game lead for second in the Big 12 standings, Kansas’ focus is squarely on taking the next eight matches one at a time.

In their last outing, neither the Jayhawks or the Cyclones could find an offensive rhythm as the two combined for 60 attack errors – tying the Creighton match for the most this year. The loss didn’t come without benefit as KU showed fight all night long, rallying against a 24-21 deficit in the third set to fight off match point six times to win the frame, 29-27. Reigning Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, sophomore outside hitter Sara McClinton, led the team with 14 kills while Jarmoc, the National Player of the Week, collected nine blocks and 13 kills. Junior setter Erin McNorton also became the first Jayhawk since 2009 to pass the 1,000-assist plateau since 2009.

Jarmoc (3.60) and McClinton (3.37) both contribute more than three kills per set as the duo ranks in the Big 12’s top-10 in both kills and points per set. KU averages two kills per set more than its opponents and nearly a full block per frame more than its counterparts.

As a team, Kansas retook its lead atop the conference in the big three: kills per set (14.30, 16th NCAA), digs per set (16.00, 85th NCAA) and assists per set (13.40, 17th NCAA).

Jarmoc leads the offense with 3.61 kills per set, the defense with 1.34 blocks per set and the conference in attack percentage (.388). Behind her, Riley’s 455 digs this season rank fifth all-time in a single-season at Kansas. With eight regular-season matches remaining she needs just 118 digs to break KU’s all-time digs record (1,457) as a junior and 95 more to clip the single season record (549).

In conference play, McClinton (3.22), Jarmoc (3.19) and redshirt junior outside hitter Catherine Carmichael (3.08) rank fifth, sixth and eighth in the Big 12, respectively, in kills per set. No other league school has three players in the top-10.

WEST VIRGINIA (8-15, 0-9 Big 12)
Led by third-year head coach Jill Kramer, league newcomer West Virginia was voted to finish ninth in the 2012 Big 12 Preseason Poll. Still looking for their first Big 12 win, the Mountaineers suffered back-to-back sweeps at Baylor and against No. 16 Kansas State last week to cap a nine-match losing skid. WVU plays at Texas Tech on Saturday prior to heading to Lawrence.

The Mountaineers’ inaugural Big 12 season landed in a youthful year. For the majority of the season, WVU has started four freshmen as well as a rookie libero. Freshman outside hitter Hannah Sackett leads the team with 2.67 kills per set, while fellow freshman outside Nikki Atea accounts for the only other player averaging more than two kills per set (2.35). Rookie middle blocker Calleah Wells sets the team’s tone in hitting efficiency at .238.

Setter Brittany Sample is also a freshman and averages 9.38 assists in each of the team’s 86 sets. In the back row, yet another freshman, libero Anna Panagiotakopolous, leads the team with 3.40 digs per set.

Overall, WVU is hitting for a .161 attack percentage with 11.56 kills per set. In conference play, the Mountaineers have been held to a .094 hitting efficiency with 10.00 kills per set. Defensively, the Mountaineers dig at a 13.49 per set rate and average 1.732 blocks per set, with no one putting up a full block per set.

HEAD COACH Ray Bechard
On West Virginia still getting acclimated to the Big 12:
“She (head coach Jill Kramer) had to come in and make a lot of changes. They’re very young. They’ve got good players, but they’re young. The travel schedule that they’re subjected to is harsh. It’s a whole new region and a whole new environment for them. I just know they seem to be getting better all the time, they’re very competitive in matches and they are a Big 12-worthy opponent that deserves our full attention and best effort. We need to get back on a winning track since last time out we came up a little bit short against a good Iowa State team. That will be our goal and our focus for sure.”

On building character as a team even in a loss:
“After the first two sets, you could have mailed it in – and after building a big lead in the third set and losing that, it would’ve been easy for some teams to let go but our girls didn’t. It’s unfortunate that there’s a couple phases of the game we needed to play better in, but a lot of that has to do with your opponent. Iowa State played well and made the plays they needed to make to get the win.”

On Caroline Jarmoc handling a major week of accolades without losing focus:
“We deal with those in our own way. We look at them as more of a team honor, but I think Jar, every night, out should play at a high level. When the team has success and a few individual awards come your way, we think that’s great but we need to get better. To sustain that level is tough, because now people are a little more focused on taking away what you do best. What good players do is find alternative ways to still be successful.”

On the last time KU played on a Monday:
“I can’t remember the last time we played on a Monday, we’re probably all-time 0-0 on Monday. I bet there’s one out there somewhere. They asked when they saw we had that Saturday off, to combine that trip here with Texas Tech to make one less trip out here for them. It actually works well for us, too. The Wednesday-Monday-Saturday is kind of a good break for us to work on some things and get rested up.”

No. 17 Kansas gets back on the road, traveling to Waco, Texas for a meeting with the Baylor Bears on Saturday, Nov. 3. First serve has been set for 7 p.m. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.