No. 11 Kansas volleyball visits No. 24 Baylor Wednesday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas volleyball travels to Waco, Texas, for its sixth top-25 matchup of the season as the 11th-ranked Jayhawks take on No. 24 Baylor on Wednesday night (8 p.m., FOX Sports regional).
• Wednesday marks the first top-25 matchup between Kansas and Baylor in the 32-year history of the series.
• Kansas is coming off a five-set loss to No. 5 Texas (Oct. 11). KU has won the last 12 matches after a loss entering Wednesday’s contest at Baylor. Since 2014, KU is 15-2 after a loss.
• Ainise Havili became KU’s all-time assists leader last week, entering Wednesday with 4,801 career assists.
• Kansas is 24-2 in the last 26 Big 12 contests.
• Wednesday is the sixth top-25 matchup of the season for Kansas.
• The Jayhawks are 3-2 against teams ranked in the AVCA Coaches Poll and 6-2 against teams currently in the top-50 of the NCAA RPI.
• KU has made 40-straight appearances in the AVCA Coaches Poll, checking in at No. 11 this week.
• Four different Jayhawks have earned five of the eight Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week nods so far this season.
• Since the start of the 2015 season, Kansas has the highest winning percentage among power-five conference members (.890). The Jayhawks are 73-9 in the last three seasons.
• 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.
• The University of Kansas and Kansas Athletics announced on Sept. 22 plans to construct a new 3,000-seat volleyball arena thanks to the generosity of the Stewart Horejsi Family. Construction of the Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena will begin immediately following the 2017 season.
Kansas and Baylor meet for the 46th time in series history, but the first time as top-25 opponents on Wednesday night. It will be the first top-25 matchup in Waco since Nov. 21, 2009, when No. 24 Baylor lost in three sets to No. 2 Texas.
Kansas has won eight-straight in the series with Baylor and hold a 23-22 all-time series lead. KU’s eight-consecutive wins over BU is KU’s longest winning streak in series history.
Last time Kansas visited Baylor, the Jayhawks clinched sole possession of its first-ever Big 12 title with a five-set victory in the 2016 regular-season finale on Nov. 26, 2016.
In the Kansas-Baylor series, KU is 6-2 when nationally ranked; BU is 1-2 when nationally ranked.
In head coach Ryan McGuyre’s third season in Waco, No. 24 Baylor features top-25 wins over then-No. 10 BYU in Hawaii and against then-No. 20 Iowa State during conference play.
Baylor leads the Big 12 in kills per set (14.57), while ranking second in both hitting percentage (.273) and defensive hitting percentage (.148).
FOX Sports Southwest Plus will televise the top-25 matchup between Kansas and Baylor. In the Kansas and greater Kansas City markets, the match will be available live on FOX Sports Kansas City. Check your local listings or visit FOXSports.com for more information.
Live audio of Wednesday’s match will be available on KUAthletics.com/radio and KLWN in Lawrence (FM 101.7, AM 1320) with Nick Lewis calling play-by-play.
LAST TIME OUT
In the fifth-straight top-10 matchup between Kansas and Texas, the Longhorns prevailed in a five-set thriller on Oct. 11 in Lawrence (21-25, 27-25, 18-25, 25-10, 18-16). Texas ended KU’s 19-match Big 12 winning streak. Ainise Havili became KU’s all-time leader in assists; Havili’s 50 assists against UT enabled her to pass Andi Rozum’s record of 4,772 in the second set and finish the night with 4,801. Madison Rigdon led the Jayhawks’ offense with 20 kills on a career-high 65 swings with 11 digs for ninth double-double of the season. Allie Nelson tied her career high of 28 digs as Texas was held to its lowest hitting percentage in Big 12 play this season (.254).
COMING OFF A LOSS
Kansas has won the last 12 matches after a loss entering Wednesday’s contest at Baylor. Since 2014, KU is 15-2 after a loss.
The Jayhawks have not lost back-to-back matches since losing three-straight to open Big 12 play during the 2014 season. Despite its 0-3 start to Big 12 play in 2014 — falling consecutively to Oklahoma, K-State and No. 2 Texas — the Jayhawks were able to recover and finish last 13 matches of the regular season with a 10-3 record and tie for second in the Big 12 standings that year.
BACK-TO-BACK TOP-25 OPPONENTS
For the second time this season, Kansas is facing top-25 opponents in back-to-back matches. Kansas faced No. 5 Texas (Oct. 11) ahead of Wednesday’s bout at No. 24 Baylor.
Earlier this season, Kansas split back-to-back meetings against top-25 opponents, defeating No. 17 Purdue (Sept. 8) and losing to No. 9 Creighton (Sept. 9).
The last back-to-back top-25 meetings before the 2017 season was during KU’s Final Four run in 2015, when the Jayhawks defeated No. 1 USC in the San Diego Regional Final before losing to eventual national champion, No. 4 Nebraska, in the National Semifinals at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.
Senior All-American setter Ainise Havili now holds KU’s record for career assists with 4,801 entering this week.
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 and 4,801 career assists.
Havili broke the record as KU was facing a UT set point in the second set, 24-23. She gently guided her 4,773rd career assist to Jada Burse who slammed it for a kill to tie the set at 24.
Havili has started in all of KU’s 113 matches since her freshman season in 2014.
To crack the top-10 of the Big 12’s career assists list, Havili needs 4,899 assists. She would become 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.
Kansas has a 6-2 record against teams currently ranked in the top-50 of the NCAA RPI. The six wins includes one top-10 victory and three top-15 victories.
The Jayhawks have already tied a program record for wins in a season (three) against teams ranked in the top-25 of the AVCA Coaches Poll at the time of the match. The Jayhawks are 3-2 against ranked teams with wins over No. 13 Kentucky, No. 17 Purdue and No. 18 Iowa State. KU previously notched three top-25 wins in 2003 and 2012.
Since 2012, Kansas is 13-18 against top-25 opponents.
BIG 12 WINNING STREAK
KU’s 19-match winning streak against Big 12 opponents ended last week with a five-set loss to No. 5 Texas. 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 a with a loss to No. 5 Texas 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.
Entering Wednesday’s road match at No. 24 Baylor, Kansas is 24-2 in the last 26 Big 12 contests.
RANKINGS UPDATE: THE BIG 40
Kansas is ranked for the 40th-straight time in the AVCA Coaches Poll after the latest poll was released on Monday with the Jayhawks placed at No. 11.
Four of the Big 12’s nine teams are ranked in the top-25 this week — No. 11 Kansas, No. 3 Texas and No. 22 Iowa State and No. 24 Baylor.
In the third release of the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), Kansas is ranked No. 12.
Eight of KU’s last 13 Big 12 regular season matches have lasted five sets. The Jayhawks opened 2017 Big 12 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.
BIG 12 LEADERBOARD
Kansas ranks second in the Big 12 in kills per set (14.49) and assists per set (13.63), while ranking third in hitting percentage (.268) and digs per set (15.79).
Ainise Havili leads the Big 12 and ranks sixth in the nation in assists per set (11.84). Kelsie Payne ranks second in the league both kills per set (4.13) and points per set (4.50). Madison Rigdon ranks second in the Big 12 in aces (23), third in attacks per set (10.36) and fourth in both kills per set (3.59) and points per set (4.22). Allie Nelson ranks fourth in digs per set (4.32).
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).
WINNING PERCENTAGE SINCE 2015
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 (.890). The Jayhawks are 73-9 in the last three seasons.
In addition to Ainise Havili setting 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 (.347), second in career kills (1,388) and 12th in career blocks (313). She now needs 95 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 13th in career kills (1,149) and is third in career aces (130). 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 4,801 and counting. She also ranks sixth in career digs (1,189) 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). The Fort Worth, Texas, native became the 14th Jayhawk to reach 1,000 career digs with 14 against NC State (Aug. 26).
Kansas returns home to face Texas Tech on Saturday, Oct. 21 at Horejsi Family Athletics Center. First serve is set for 1 p.m. on Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN3, powered by Spectrum Sports.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.