No. 11 Kansas volleyball hosts No. 18 Iowa State Wednesday
Beginning in August 2017, fans will be allowed to bring only one clear plastic bag no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches or a one-gallon, clear, resealable plastic storage bag per person inside Kansas athletics events.
Fans will also be allowed a small clutch purse not to exceed 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches.
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Eleventh-ranked Kansas volleyball plays host to its fourth top-25 opponent when No. 18 Iowa State visits Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. The Jayhawks’ Big 12 Conference home opener will be televised on the Jayhawk TV Network / ESPN3.
• Wednesday marks the annual Jayhawks for a Cure match, which honors past and present cancer patients, and supports cancer treatment and research at Lawrence Memorial Hospital and KU Cancer Center.
• KU has won five-straight in its series with Iowa State, including the last meeting when the Jayhawks’ five-set victory on Nov. 19, 2016 in Lawrence clinched at least a share of the program’s first-ever Big 12 Conference title.
• Kansas leads the league in kills per set (14.83), while the Cyclones rank first in opponent hitting percentage (.139) and digs per set (17.41).
• Under head coach Ray Bechard, since 1998, the Jayhawks are 13-6 in Big 12 home openers, including a 2-1 mark against Iowa State.
• Since the start of the 2015 season, Kansas has the highest winning percentage in the country (.896). The Jayhawks are 69-8 in the last three seasons.
• Last time out, Kansas won its sixth-straight Dillons Sunflower Showdown with a gritty five-set triumph at Kansas State on Sunday, Sept. 24 on ESPN2.
• The University of Kansas and Kansas Athletics announced Friday, Sept. 22, plans to construct a new 3,000-seat arena thanks to the generosity of the Stewart Horejsi Family. Construction of the Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena will begin immediately following the 2017 season. Visit RaiseTheChant.com for more information.
Iowa State leads the all-time series with Kansas, 47-42-1. The series dates back to 1975 and the long-time conference foes have met every year since. Wednesday will be the third matchup in the series when both teams are ranked in the top-25 of the AVCA Coaches Poll.
The 11th-ranked Jayhawks and 18th-ranked Cyclones previously met as ranked opponents in 2012 and 2013 — both in Ames. Iowa State won in four sets in 2012 and Kansas won in four sets in 2013.
Kansas has won five-straight in the series with Iowa State, including the last meeting when the Jayhawks’ five-set victory on Nov. 19, 2016 in Lawrence clinched at least a share of the program’s first-ever Big 12 Conference title. KU, without two-time first-team All-American Kelsie Payne, was led by 16 kills from Jada Burse and Ainise Havili’s double-double of 50 assists and 20 digs.
Led by 13th-year head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch, Iowa State enters Wednesday with a 10-1 record after opening Big 12 play with a four-set win over Oklahoma.
Wednesday’s tilt will feature one of the Big 12’s top offenses against one of the Big 12’s top defenses as Kansas leads the league in kills per set (14.83), while the Cyclones rank first in opponent hitting percentage (.139) and digs per set (17.41). ISU middle blockers Alexis Conaway (1.38) and Grace Lazard (1.10) both rank top-five in the Big 12 in blocks per set.
Wednesday’s Big 12 home opener will be televised on the Jayhawk Television Network, powered by Spectrum Sports. Former Kansas outside hitter Nancy (Bell) Dorsey will be a first-time analyst on the telecast with Leif Lisec calling play-by-play. Dorsey played at KU from 1997-2000, averaging 2.38 kills per set and just over two digs per set during her Jayhawk career. She was also a three-time Academic All-Big 12 selection.
Live audio of the match will be available on KUAthletics.com/radio or KU’s student radio station, KJHK-FM 90.7, with Nick Lewis calling play-by-play.
BIG 12 HOME OPENER
Wednesday is the Big 12 home opener for Kansas. Under head coach Ray Bechard, since 1998, the Jayhawks are 13-6 in Big 12 home openers, including a 2-1 mark against Iowa State. The last time KU faced ISU in a Big 12 home opener, Kansas defeated the 19th-ranked Cyclones in five sets in 2012. Wednesday is the fourth time in the last 10 season KU plays Iowa State in its Big 12 home opener. Kansas has won four of its last five Big 12 home openers, including two straight.
LAST TIME OUT
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.
JAYHAWKS FOR A CURE
Wednesday marks the annual Jayhawks for a Cure match, which honors past and present cancer patients and supports cancer treatment and research at Lawrence Memorial Hospital and KU Cancer Center.
Kansas moved up one spot to No. 11 in the AVCA Coaches Poll on Monday, Sept. 25. The reigning Big 12 champion Jayhawks have been ranked 37-straight times in the AVCA poll. KU’s season-high No. 7 ranking came on Sept. 4.
Rankings breakdown on page 4 of match notes.
BIG 12 LEADERS
Kansas leads the Big 12 in kills per set (14.83) and assists per set (13.87), while ranking second in digs per set (15.85) and third hitting percentage (.270). Ainise Havili leads the Big 12 and ranks eighth in the nation in assists per set (11.91). Kelsie Payne ranks second in the league both kills per set (4.47) and points per set (4.95). Madison Rigdon ranks second in the Big 12 in aces per set (0.39) and fourth in both kills per set (3.59) and points per set (4.28).
Havili has the most assists by a Big 12 player in a match this season (63 at NC State, Aug. 26). Sophomore libero Allie Nelson has the most digs by a Big 12 player in a four-set match (28 vs. Missouri State, Aug. 26).
COUNTRY’S TOP WINNING PERCENTAGE SINCE 2015
Since the start of the 2015 season, Kansas has the highest winning percentage in the country (.896). The Jayhawks are 69-8 in the last three seasons.
NCAA DIVISION I WINNING PERCENTAGE
(Start of 2015 – Sept. 25, 2017)
1. Kansas .896
2. WKU .895
3. Washington .889
4. BYU .886
5. Nebraska .878
6. Texas .875
7. Minnesota .866
Senior setter Ainise Havili has recorded an assist-dig double-double in 12 of KU’s 14 matches this season. The Jayhawks combine for eight kill-dig double-doubles this season as senior outside hitter Madison Rigdon has six and senior right-side hitter Kelsie Payne has two.
Senior All-Americans Kelsie Payne, Ainise Havili and Madison Rigdon are on pace to rewrite KU’s record books this season.
Havili stands second in career assists (4,556) and ninth in career digs (1,130). She passed the 4,000-assist mark with 43 assists against Missouri State (Aug. 26). Andi Rozum (2002-05) currently holds KU’s career assists record with 4,772. Havili became the 14th all-time Jayhawk to reach 1,000 career digs with 14 against NC State (Aug. 26).
Payne ranks first in career hitting percentage (.352), third in career kills (1,314) and 12th in career blocks (308). She now needs 169 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. On Sept. 15 against San Jose State, she became the 13th Jayhawk to reach 300 blocks.
Rigdon ranks 14th in career kills (1,074) and is third in career aces (128). Rigdon became the 16th Jayhawk to reach the century mark in career kills with 15 against Purdue (Sept. 8).
Career records listed on page 5 of match notes.
BECHARD IN 20th SEASON
Ray Bechard is in his 20th season as head coach of Kansas volleyball this season. During his tenure as the leader of the program, Bechard has become the winningest coach in program history while charting an unprecedented era of success. The western Kansas native has recruited and coached all nine of KU’s AVCA All-Americans and has more than 1,000 career victories in his 33-year head coaching career at Barton County Community College (1985-97) and KU (1998-present).
Kansas plays host to TCU on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Horejsi Family Athletics Center (12 p.m., FOX Sports Network).
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