No. 22 Kansas Prepares for Final Road Test at TCU
Nov. 15, 2012
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LAWRENCE, Kan. –On the verge of collecting the program’s most victories in the Big 12 era, the 22nd-ranked Kansas volleyball team will travel to Fort Worth, Texas for its final road match of the regular season at TCU, Saturday at 1 p.m.
FOLLOW THE HAWKS
KU at TCU will broadcast live on TCU FrogVision for a subscription fee, or fans can tune in for a live audio stream free of charge on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access. Kyle West will have the call. Fans can always follow the Jayhawks on GameTracker or by following JayhawkVball on Twitter.
Kansas tied the all-time series record with TCU, 1-1, when the Jayhawks defeated the Horned Frogs at home, 3-1, on Oct. 20. Prior to their inaugural Big 12 meeting, the teams had only met once previously. KU lost the match 3-2 at home on Sept. 10, 1999.
AT A GLANCE
-The Jayhawks’ sweep against Oklahoma on Wednesday tied the program’s best win total in the Big 12 era (22, 2003). A win on Saturday would break that record and mark the most Jayhawk victories since 1991, when they Jayhawks went 25-10.
-Texas clinched the Big 12 title on Wednesday by sweeping Texas Tech. With two conference matches remaining, Kansas trails Iowa State by half a match for second place in the standings. Kansas has matches at TCU and home against Texas Tech remaining, while the Cyclones have Baylor and West Virginia on the road.
-Kansas collected its 14th win at home on Wednesday, the most in program history.
-KU ranks second in the Big 12 in kills (14.25), blocks (2.64) and digs (16.02) per set and jumped from third to first in assists per set (13.35) after its commanding win over OU. TCU has the advantage from the service line as the Horned Frogs are third (1.40) in the league in aces, however, KU leads the Big 12 in aces allowed per set (0.81).
-KU improved to No. 22 on the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division I Coaches poll (Nov. 12). Four Big 12 members hold spots in the nation’s top-25: No. 3 Texas, No. 20 Kansas State, No. 21 Iowa State and No. 22 Kansas. KU has been in the top-25 for seven-straight weeks. KU is 6-3 against teams in the top-25 or receiving votes.
-The Jayhawks jumped to No. 7 on the NCAA RPI projections (Nov. 12) – a new program-best (previous was No. 8, Oct. 22, 2012) putting KU in the RPI’s top-10 five of seven weekly projections. In 2012, Kansas is 6-5 against top-50 RPI teams and 11-6 against the top-100.
-Kansas (22-6, .786) is on pace to break the program record for winning percentage. The 1986 team currently holds KU’s best (26-9, .743).
-If the season ended today, redshirt junior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc would soundly break KU’s career (.330) and single-season attack percentage (.393) records. Fellow junior Brianne Riley would break the single-season digs per set record as well (5.21).
NO. 22 KANSAS (22-6, 10-4 Big 12)
Entering Wednesday’s matchups, 15-year head coach Ray Bechardknew the midweek meetings would greatly impact the conference race. Iowa State’s win over Kansas State gave the Jayhawks a two-match lead for third place, while keeping the Cyclones within reach. ISU is in second place by only half a match. As of now, Kansas can do no worse than a tie for third place. Prior to this season, KU’s highest finish in Big 12 play was fifth in 2003.
Kansas heads into its final road test of the regular season with plenty of momentum. Following a hard-fought five-set loss to Texas for their only loss in Lawrence, the Jayhawks responded loudly with a convincing sweep over Oklahoma, taking both matches of the season series for the first time since 2005. KU racked up 25 more kills than the Sooners in the win, and Bechard and his crew know the importance of maintaining that level of play in the team’s first-ever trip to TCU’s campus.
For the seventh time this season, KU received double-digit kill efforts from four different Jayhawks, led by redshirt junior Caroline Jarmoc’s 16. KU’s decorated middle blocker hit over .600 in a match for the sixth time this season thanks to the effectiveness of the outside hitters, including sophomore Chelsea Alberswho posted a career-best 13 kills on Wednesday.
Jarmoc, who is currently in consideration for Academic All-America, is top-five in the Big 12 in hitting percentage (.393, 1st), kills per set (3.60, 4th), blocks per set (1.30, 4th) and points per set (4.59, 2nd). In conference play only, Jarmoc ranks seventh in aces per set (0.29). Junior Erin McNorton racked up 49 assists against OU, the most in a three-set match this season for a Big 12 setter, to regain the conference lead for assists per set (11.91). Fellow junior Brianne Rileyis one of two Big 12 liberos averaging more than five digs per set (5.21).
TCU (14-12, 3-10 Big 12)
TCU is led by 11th-year head coach Prentice Lewis, who guided the Horned Frogs to a 25-7 record, the second-most successful season in school history, in their final year with the Mountain West. During its first Big 12 season, TCU took both matches from Texas Tech and another from West Virginia to currently sit in seventh in the Big 12 standings, which is where the newcomer was voted to finish.
Although the Horned Frogs have competed in nearly every set, including a 24-26 loss to Kansas State and a 25-27 loss to Iowa State, TCU has fallen victim to the sweep eight times in conference play.
As a team, TCU sits right behind Kansas at fifth in the league in hitting percentage (.229), but the Jayhawks tally nearly two assists and a kill and a half more than the Horned Frogs per set. Kansas is one of two teams averaging more than 16 digs per set, but TCU is close behind as its 15.54 digs per set rank fourth in the Big 12. TCU does have the serving advantage, tying West Virginia for second with 1.40 aces per set.
TCU also sports a dominant junior middle blocker in Yvonne Igodan. She is the only member of the TCU starting lineup averaging more than three kills per set (3.31), which checks in at fifth in the league, sandwiched between KU’s Jarmoc and outside hitter Sara McClinton. Igodan is third in attack percentage (.330). Senior outside hitter Sloane Sunstrum comes in second with 2.39 kills per set, the only other Horned Frog aside from Igodan putting up more than two kills per set.
Redshirt senior setter Megan Munce sets the tone at the service line with 0.42 aces per set, good for second in the league.
HEAD COACH Ray Bechard
On the importance of playing well at TCU:
“We have a lot to play for and TCU, obviously, does too. You want to end the last portion of your Big 12 schedule strong. We’ve done some good things, but every match is a new match. They play great at home, it’s a great environment and obviously they are a very capable Big 12 team.”
On TCU being scrappy and playing teams close:
“They have quality players, very athletic middles and high IQ volleyball players that know how to play the game and know how to win. It’ll be what you expect in this league on the road, a true challenge for us. Our team is getting more comfortable in those situations and we certainly will be ready to go.”
On Kansas getting solid performances from the outsides to allow Caroline Jarmoc to hit .625 against Oklahoma:
“I think (Chelsea) Albers really created some space for her Wednesday night. So when Albers is going well, we can stretch people defensively pretty well. I don’t think Oklahoma was able to key just on Jarmoc. We had four attackers in double-digit kills so the ability for Albers to stretch behind the setter created opportunities for Jarmoc and (Tayler) Tolefree. When the right-side offense is functional for us, that creates a lot of opportunities for our middles.”
On allowing the fewest service aces in the Big 12:
“I’m proud of that stat. That’s a focus we’ve had from day one. We know that we’ll run into a very good TCU serving team; Megan Munce is up there amongst the leaders, so you’ve got to manage that – especially on the road. We’ve been pretty steady in managing that part of the game. We’re toward the bottom in aces per set, but our service ace to error ratio is pretty good. Our aces allowed per set is below one and that’s a very good number.”
No. 22 Kansas comes home for its final midweek match of the regular season when the team hosts Saint Louis in a non-conference meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 21. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.
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