Seventh top-25 matchup awaits No. 11 Kansas volleyball at No. 22 Iowa State

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 11th-ranked Kansas volleyball team treks to Ames, Iowa, on Saturday for the seventh top-25 matchup of the season against No. 22 Iowa State. First serve from Hilton Coliseum is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Central.

• No. 11 Kansas (19-3, 8-1 Big 12) is one win away from its sixth-straight 20-win season.
• No. 22 Iowa State (15-4, 6-3) ranks 13th nationally in defensive hitting percentage (.151).
• Kansas has won six-straight over Iowa State entering the 92nd meeting between the schools. The Cyclones lead the series, 43-47-1.
• Saturday marks the seventh top-25 matchup for the Jayhawks; KU is 4-2 against teams ranked in the AVCA Coaches Poll this season.
• KU’s .268 hitting percentage this season is the second-highest clip in program history
• Ainise Havili holds KU’s career assists record (4,921), while fellow senior All-American Kelsie Payne is 71 kills away from tying KU’s record for career kills (1,412).
• Madison Rigdon leads KU in kills per set during conference play (3.76).
• Kansas is 27-2 in the last 29 Big 12 contests.
• Since the start of the 2015 season, Kansas has the highest winning percentage among Power Five conference members (.894). The Jayhawks are 76-9 in the last three seasons.
• Four different Jayhawks have earned six of the nine Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week awards, including Madison Rigdon’s second honor of the season on Monday.
• 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.

Iowa State leads the all-time series with Kansas, 47-43-1. Entering the 92nd meeting between the long-time conference foes, Kansas has won the last six matches. KU and ISU have played every season since the series began in 1975 .

Saturday will be the fourth top-25 matchup in the series and the second of the season. Kansas is 2-1 in top-25 matchups against Iowa State, including a five-set win in Lawrence on Sept. 27.

The last two matches in the KU-ISU series have gone to five sets with Kansas winning both. During the Big 12 era, the Jayhawks have a 7-4 advantage when matches have gone to five sets against Iowa State.

Led by 13th-year head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch, Iowa State enters Saturday with a 15-4 record and 6-3 mark during conference play. The Cyclones rank second in the Big 12 and 13th nationally in defensive hitting percentage, holding opponents to a .151 attacking efficiency. ISU libero Hali Hillegas leads the Big 12 in digs per set (5.64) during conference play.

Live audio of the match will be available on with Nick Lewis calling play-by-play.

Cyclones.TV, a paid subscription-based service, will provide live video streaming of the match.

Kansas passed a five-set test from Oklahoma on Wednesday in Lawrence, 3-2. The Jayhawks used momentum from a 9-0 run at the end of the fourth set to edge the Sooners in the fifth, 15-13. The late fourth-set run included 10 OU set points while Tori Miller was serving. Madison Rigdon registered 14 kills on a career-high 66 swings. Rigdon added 13 digs for her 10th double-double of the season. Zoe Hill notched a career-high 10 blocks with eight kills. Kansas out-blocked OU 13.0 to 5.0. OU’s Alyssa Enneking, who ranks second in the Big 12 in kills per set, registered 22 kills and 16 digs.

Saturday’s road match at No. 22 Iowa State marks the seventh top-25 opponent No. 11 Kansas will face this season. Against teams ranked in the top 25 of the AVCA Coaches Poll, the Jayhawks already have a program-record four wins.

KU is 4-2 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 14-18 against top-25 opponents. Before 2012, KU was 14-101 against top-25 opponents.

Kansas is also 7-2 against teams currently ranked in the top-50 of the NCAA RPI. The seven wins includes one top-10 victory and four top-25 victories.

Kansas is one win away from reaching 20 wins for the sixth-straight season and 16th time in program history.

Since KU’s streak of 20-win seasons began in 2012, the Jayhawks have a 149-33 record, good for a .819 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).

In the last three matches, Kansas has held opponents to a .108 hitting percentage and 11.09 kills per set. During conference play, Kansas ranks fourth in the Big 12 in defensive hitting percentage (.188). 

KU’s .268 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 22nd nationally in hitting percentage. 

During conference play sophomore middle blockers Zoe Hill (.459) and Mmachi Nwoke (.446) rank first and second, respectively, in the Big 12 in hitting percentage. Nwoke has started the last five matches after her first start as a Jayhawk at Oklahoma (Oct. 7). Hill has started all but two matches this season and also leads KU in blocks per set (1.05) this season.

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.

Kansas has earned six of the nine Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week awards so far this season, including the second honor of the season for Madison Rigdon on Monday.

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.

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 All-American setter Ainise Havili holds KU’s record for career assists with 4,921 entering this weekend.

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 116 matches since her freshman season in 2014.

Havili ranks 10th 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.

Ainise Havili leads the Big 12 and ranks eighth in the nation in assists per set (11.72). Kelsie Payne ranks third in the league in both kills per set (3.88) and points per set (4.30). Madison Rigdon ranks third in aces per set (0.29) and is right next to Payne at fourth kills per set (3.66) and fourth in points per set (4.28). Rounding out Jayhawks in the Big 12 stats rankings, Allie Nelson ranks third in digs per set (4.29) and Zoe Hill ranks fourth in hitting percentage (.373).

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).

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 (.343), second in career kills (1,412) and 12th in career blocks (325). She now needs 71 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 (1,195), third in career aces (132) and fifth in career attack attempts (3,394). 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 4,921 and counting. She also ranks sixth in career digs (1,220) 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 is ranked No. 11 in the AVCA Coaches Poll released on Monday. 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.

The AVCA’s top-25 poll remained exactly the same in consecutive weeks for the first time since October 1983.

In the fourth release of the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), Kansas is ranked No. 11.

Senior setter Ainise Havili has recorded an assist-dig double-double in 18 of KU’s 22 matches this season. The Jayhawks combine for 14 kill-dig double-doubles this season as senior outside hitter Madison Rigdon has 10 and senior right-side hitter Kelsie Payne has four.

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).

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 (.894). The Jayhawks are 76-9 in the last three seasons.

KU’s 19-match winning streak against Big 12 opponents ended 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 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.

Kansas is 27-2 in the last 29 Big 12 contests.

Kansas returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 28 against TCU. First serve from Fort Worth, Texas, is scheduled for 2 p.m.




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