No. 11 Kansas volleyball hosts Dillons Sunflower Showdown Wednesday

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 11 Kansas volleyball returns to Lawrence for a two-match home stand at Horejsi Family Athletics Center beginning with the Dillons Sunflower Showdown on Wednesday night (6:30 p.m., JTV/ESPN3).

• In the last 11 volleyball editions of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown, Kansas holds a 10-1 record against K-State, including six-straight victories.
• Kansas is fresh off reaching 20 wins for the sixth-straight season after defeating TCU on Saturday, Nov. 4.
• KU is 28-3 in its last 31 Big 12 contests.
• The Jayhawks’ .267 hitting percentage this season is the second-highest clip in program history.
• Kansas has won 11-straight matches in the month of November.
• The 11th-ranked Jayhawks have held a No. 11 or No. 12 ranking for seven of the last eight AVCA Coaches Polls.
• Ainise Havili holds KU’s career assists record (5,014), while fellow senior All-American Kelsie Payne’s 1,437 career kills is 46 away from tying KU’s career kills record.
• Senior All-American Madison Rigdon, who leads Kansas in kills per set during Big 12 play (3.59), did not play at TCU on Saturday due to injury. Rigdon had played in every KU match since 2015, including 59-straight starts prior to Saturday.
• Since the start of the 2015 season, Kansas has the highest winning percentage among Power Five conference members (.885). The Jayhawks are 77-10 in the last three seasons.
• Four different Jayhawks have earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week awards.
• Head coach Ray Bechard is in his 20th season at Kansas. The four-time Big 12 Coach of the Year is the winningest coach in Kansas volleyball history.

Kansas State leads the all-time series with Kansas, 61-45, but the Jayhawks have had the upper-hand of late. In the last 11 matches Kansas holds a 10-1 record against the Wildcats, including six-straight wins.

Led by 17th-year head coach Suzie Fritz, K-State enters Wednesday on a six-match losing streak, despite taking No. 3 Texas to the limit on Nov. 1 in Manhattan. The Wildcats won the first two sets against the Longhorns before losing in five sets. Three of KSU’s last four losses have been in five sets.

The Wildcats rank sixth in the Big 12 in hitting percentage (.216) and third in aces per set (1.10). Middle blocker Peyton Williams ranks fifth in the league in hitting percentage (.352).

Wednesday’s match will be televised on Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN3, powered by Spectrum Sports, with Jill Dorsey-Hall providing analysis and Leif Lisec calling play-by-play.

Live audio of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown will be available on and KU’s student radio station, KJHK-FM 90.7.

Kansas won its sixth-straight Dillons Sunflower Showdown with a gritty five-set triumph at Kansas State on Sunday, Sept. 24 in front of a national television audience on ESPN2. Kansas made its way to a Big 12 Conference-opening win by recording a .342 hitting percentage to clinch a 15th-straight victory over a Big 12 team. Madison Rigdon led the Jayhawks with a match-high 18 kills, while Ainise Havili and Kelsie Payne contributed double-doubles. Payne finished with 14 kills and 12 digs and Havili contributed 55 assists and 10 digs to guide Kansas to its third-best team hitting percentage of the season. Allie Nelson served up three aces and a match-high 17 digs. KU fell behind in the match, two sets to one, and rallied to win the fourth and fifth sets to improve to 10-1 in the last 11 matches against its in-state rival.

Kansas reached its 20th win of the season with a four-set victory over TCU on Saturday, Nov. 4.  With the absence of senior All-American outside hitter Madison Rigdon, who missed a start for the first time in 60 matches due to injury, sophomore Ashley Smith stepped up with a career-high 14 kills. Smith co-led the team in kills along with senior right-side hitter Kelsie Payne’s 14 kills on a .385 hitting percentage. Senior middle blocker Kayla Cheadle took to the service line for the first time since 2014 to record a career-high two aces and serve a 6-0 KU run in the match-deciding fourth set. Coming off a road loss at No. 22 Iowa State last week, Kansas bounced back with a win against TCU. KU has won the last 14 matches after a loss. Since 2014, KU is 17-2 after a loss.

Kansas has won 11-straight matches in the month of November — the final stretch of the regular season before the NCAA Tournament begins. Since 2012, the Jayhawks are 30-7 in November, having reached at least five November wins in the last five seasons.

Kansas reached 20 wins with a victory at TCU on Nov. 4. It marks the sixth-straight and 16th time overall in program history the Jayhawks have reached 20 wins in a season.

Since KU’s streak of 20-win seasons began in 2012, the Jayhawks have a 150-34 record, good for a .815 winning percentage. From 2012 to 2016, KU averaged 26 wins per season. KU’s last five 20-win seasons have also included at least 10 Big 12 Conference wins.

The last two seasons have been the fastest Kansas has ever reached 20 wins, doing so in 21 matches in 2015 and 22 matches in 2016. In 2015, KU reached 20 wins with a four-set win at Iowa State (Oct. 28, 2015). Last season, Kansas reached 20 wins with a five-set victory over No. 2 Texas (Oct. 29, 2016).

The Big 12 Conference has approved a time change for KU’s home match against Baylor on Saturday, Nov. 11. First serve between the Jayhawks and Bears will be at noon to accommodate Baylor’s travel plans. The change is an hour earlier than the originally-scheduled first serve.

Kansas has a program-record four wins against teams ranked in the top 25 of the AVCA Coaches Poll this season. KU is 4-3 against ranked teams with wins over No. 13 Kentucky, No. 17 Purdue, No. 18 Iowa State and No. 24 Baylor. KU’s previous record of three top-25 wins was achieved in 2003 and 2012.

Since 2012, Kansas is 14-19 against top-25 opponents. Before 2012, KU was 14-101 against top-25 opponents.

Kansas is also 6-3 against teams currently ranked in the top-50 of the NCAA RPI. The six wins includes one top-10 victory and four top-25 victories.

Kansas has eight scoring runs of 7-0 or greater and 35 runs of 5-0 or greater this season. Senior defensive specialist Tori Miller has been the primary server during six of KU’s eight runs of seven points or more. The Jayhawks have a 5-1 record in matches featuring a KU scoring run of 7-0 or longer.

KU’s longest run of the season (10-0) occurred when Miller was at the service line. KU went on a 10-0 run at the end of a 25-16 fourth-set win over then-No. 18 Iowa State (Sept. 27); the Jayhawks won the match in five sets.

KU’s .267 hitting percentage this season is the second-highest clip in program history, only ranking behind KU’s 2015 Final Four team (.299). This season, Kansas ranks third in the Big 12 and 24th nationally in hitting percentage. 

Since arriving in Lawrence in 2014, senior All-American outside hitter Madison Rigdon has been the picture of consistency for the Jayhawks. A two-time Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week this season, Rigdon has improved in nearly every statistical category since her freshman season. During the 2017 season, she features career highs in kills per set, digs per set and blocks per set.

Due to injury, Rigdon did not play against TCU on Nov. 4. Rigdon had started the previous 59-straight matches for KU prior to her injury.

Senior All-American setter Ainise Havili holds KU’s record for career assists with 5,014 entering Wednesday’s match.

Havili passed Andi Rozum’s record of 4,772 in the second set against No. 5 Texas (Oct. 11) and finished the night with 50 assists. The Fort Worth, Texas, native broke the record as KU was facing a UT set point in the second set, 24-23. She guided her 4,773rd career assist to Jada Burse, who registered a kill to tie the set at 24.

Havili has started in all of KU’s 118 matches since her freshman season in 2014.

Havili ranks seventh on the Big 12’s career assists list. She is the only player on the Big 12’s top-10 list who has played her entire career in the 25-point set scoring era, which began in 2008.

In addition to Ainise Havili holding KU’s career assists record, fellow senior All-Americans Kelsie Payne and Madison Rigdon are on pace to rewrite KU’s record books this season.

Payne ranks first in career hitting percentage (.342), second in career kills (1,437) and 12th in career blocks (330). She now needs 46 more kills to tie the current record of 1,483 held by Josi Lima (2002-05). Last season Payne became the 15th Jayhawk to reach 1,000 kills — she is the only pin hitter in KU history with 1,000 kills and a hitting percentage of .300 or higher. On Sept. 15 against San Jose State, she became the 13th Jayhawk to reach 300 blocks.

Rigdon ranks ninth in career kills (1,203), third in career aces (132) and fifth in career attack attempts (3,503). Rigdon became the 16th Jayhawk to reach 1,000 career kills with 15 against Purdue (Sept. 8).

Havili is KU’s all-time leader in assists with 5,014 and counting. She also ranks sixth in career digs (1,245) and 18th in service aces (100). Havili became the 18th Jayhawk to reach 100 career aces against Texas (Oct. 11), which is also the night she broke the career assists record. She passed the 4,000-assist mark with 43 assists against Missouri State (Aug. 26) and became the first Jayhawk to pass the 5,000-assist mark with 51 assists at TCU (Nov. 4). The Fort Worth, Texas, native became the 14th Jayhawk to reach 1,000 career digs with 14 against NC State (Aug. 26).

Ainise Havili leads the Big 12 and ranks 10th in the nation in assists per set (11.71). Kelsie Payne ranks third in the league in both kills per set (3.82) and points per set (4.23). Madison Rigdon ranks second in the Big 12 in aces per set (0.28) and is right next to Payne at fourth kills per set (3.59) and fourth in points per set (4.18). Rounding out Jayhawks in the Big 12 stats rankings, Allie Nelson ranks second in total digs (402) and Zoe Hill ranks third in hitting percentage (.388).

Havili has the most assists by a Big 12 player in a match this season (63 at NC State, Aug. 26). Nelson has the most digs by a Big 12 player in a four-set match (28 vs. Missouri State, Aug. 26).

During conference play, sophomore middle blockers Hill (.471) and Mmachi Nwoke (.423) rank first and second, respectively, in the Big 12 in hitting percentage.

Kansas volleyball is ranked No. 11 in the AVCA Coaches Poll released on Monday, making it the seventh time in the last eight weeks the Jayhawks have held a No. 11 or No. 12 ranking in the poll.

Kansas has been ranked for 42-straight AVCA polls, including 40-straight with at least a top-15 ranking.

The Jayhawks have played seven matches against current top-25 teams this season with wins over No. 7 Kentucky, No. 21 Purdue, No. 23 Baylor and No. 24 Iowa State.

Four of the Big 12’s nine teams are ranked in the top-25 this week — No. 12 Kansas, No. 3 Texas and No. 23 Baylor and No. 24 Iowa State.

Kansas has earned six of the 11 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week awards so far this season.

In the first three weeks of the regular season, Kansas took home the honor with Ainise Havili (Aug. 28), Kelsie Payne (Sept. 4) and Madison Rigdon (Sept. 11) honored by the league. Havili won the honor a second time on Oct. 2, followed by Zoe Hill’s first-career Big 12 weekly honor on Oct. 9. Rigdon’s second honor of the season was on Oct. 23.

KU’s six Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week nods are the second-most in program history, behind 2015’s seven honors.

Since the Big 12 began awarding offensive players of the week in 2007, there have been only three times when a team has earned three-straight Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors from three different players. Kansas has done it the last two times in 2013 and 2017.

Senior setter Ainise Havili has recorded an assist-dig double-double in 19 of KU’s 24 matches this season. The Jayhawks combine for 15 kill-dig double-doubles this season as senior outside hitter Madison Rigdon has 10 and senior right-side hitter Kelsie Payne has five.

Havili, Rigdon and Payne have all recorded a double-double in the same match three times this season — against Missouri State (Aug. 26), Iowa State (Sept. 27) and Texas (Oct. 11).

Kansas totals 136 career double-doubles on its current roster.

Since the start of the 2015 season, Kansas has the highest winning percentage among Power Five conference members and the third-highest winning percentage in all of NCAA Division I (.885). The Jayhawks are 77-10 in the last three seasons.

Kansas is 28-3 in the last 31 Big 12 contests.

KU’s road loss at No. 22 Iowa State (Oct.28) broke a 42-match Big 12 Conference winning streak against teams other than the perennial top-5 Texas Longhorns. The previous non-UT loss was a five-set road loss at TCU on Nov. 1, 2014. Kansas and Texas account for the last six Big 12 titles.

KU’s 19-match winning streak against Big 12 opponents ended with a five-set loss to No. 5 Texas (Oct. 11). It goes down in the record books as the longest conference winning streak in program history for the Jayhawks. The winning streak took place over a full calendar year, starting with a win over Baylor on Oct. 1, 2016, and ending on Oct. 11, 2017.

All eight of KU’s Big 12 winning streaks of four matches or longer have ended with losses to top-25 teams.

For the second-consecutive season, KU’s home court, Horejsi Family Athletics Center (1,300), has sold out its allotment of season tickets. Horejsi Family Athletics Center has sold out for 18-straight home matches.

Kansas has played six five-set matches this season (4-2), including four during Big 12 play (3-1). The Jayhawks opened conference play with back-to-back five-set victories at K-State (Sept. 24) and against No. 18 Iowa State (Sept. 27). Kansas earned the pair of victories after rallying from a 1-2 deficit at K-State and a 0-2 deficit against Iowa State. KU’s five-set loss to No. 5 Texas (Oct. 11) was the third-straight time Kansas and Texas had gone five sets in Lawrence.

Kansas has won eight of the last nine five-set conference matches.

Kansas plays its eighth top-25 matchup of the season against No. 23 Baylor on Saturday (Noon, ESPN3).




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