RCW: Inside Volleyball 3.4
Get a quick look inside your favorite Kansas Jayhawk programs each week with Rock Chalk Weekly’s Inside Sports pages. Notable statistics, quick hits and the top social media posts get every Jayhawk fan up-to-speed and ready for another week of thrilling competition.
Number BY THE NUMBERS
Number of times the ball crossed the net during the final rally against No. 1 USC in the NCAA Championship regional final, which sent Kansas to its first-ever Final Four. The unprecedented victory was named ‘Moment of the Year’ at the 2016 Rock Chalk Choice Awards on Sunday evening.
- No. 4 Kansas (9-0) remained undefeated with wins away from home over preseason-No. 18 Creighton and Chattanooga in the Bluejay Invitational. The pair of wins in Omaha clinched KU’s eighth-straight nonconference tournament title. The Jayhawks concluded the week’s action with a three-set victory at home over Northern Iowa to extend KU’s regular-season nonconference winning streak to 24 matches.
- BACK-TO-BACK BIG 12 DEFENSIVE POW: Senior libero Cassie Wait was awarded Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors after leading the Big 12 in digs per set (6.17) for the second-straight week. The Gardner, Kansas native recorded 33 digs during KU’s five-set victory over Creighton, marking second 30-dig performance in two weeks, and posted 20 digs in just three sets against Northern Iowa.
- PAYNE TRAIN: Junior All-American right-side hitter Kelsie Payne was unstoppable during KU’s three-set victory over Northern Iowa on Saturday. The Payne Train rolled through domination station with 25 kills on a .487 hitting percentage. In the last two sets, Payne registered 17 kills on an eye-popping .727 hitting percentage – converting 17 of her last 22 swings to kills with just one attacking error.
- RIGDON BACK-TO-BACK MVP: Junior outside hitter Madison Rigdon earned her second-straight nonconference tourney MVP award after totaling 39 kills, 22 digs and six aces in only two matches during the Bluejay Invitational. Senior libero Cassie Wait and junior All-American setter Ainise Havili were listed on the All-Tournament Team. Wait’s 33 digs during KU’s five-set win over host Creighton set a Bluejay Invitational record.
- ACES WILD: Kansas leads the Big 12 in aces per set (1.66), led by junior outside hitter Madison Rigdon who ranks fifth in the nation in aces per set (0.65). Rigdon’s 20 total aces so far this season are six more than any other Big 12 player.
- ELITE DEFENSE: The Jayhawks rank third in the nation in opponent hitting percentage (.096), while leading the Big 12 in kills per set allowed (10.03), assists per set allowed (9.47) and service aces allowed (0.50). Kansas has held all of its nine opponents to a sub-.200 hitting percentage, including five opponents below .100.
- TOURNEY TITLES: Kansas won the Bluejay Invitational title with wins over host Creighton and Chattanooga. It is KU’s eighth-straight nonconference tournament title. The streak dates back to the 2014 Jayhawk Classic and includes 2015’s Arkansas Invitational, Kansas Invitational, Pistol Pete’s Showdown and Jayhawk Classic.
- BECHARD RECORDS: Kansas head coach Ray Bechard improves to 334-229 (.593) in his 19th season at KU. Since 2012, the Jayhawks are 112-27 (.806) under Bechard.
- TOP-10: For the third-straight week, Kansas remains at No. 4 in the AVCA Coaches Poll. It ties for the highest ranking in program history. The Jayhawks have been ranked in the top-25 for a program-record 18-consecutive times dating back to last season, including 14 consecutive times in the top-10. The Jayhawks debuted the season with a No. 5 preseason ranking in the AVCA Coaches Poll.