Kansas opens Big 12 play against TCU Saturday
The Kansas volleyball team opens Big 12 Conference play on Saturday against TCU to close a seven-match home stand inside Horejsi Family Athletics Center. First serve is set for 1 p.m., on ESPN+.
- Kansas enters its Big 12-opening week with a 7-4 record as winners of three-straight matches.
- TCU (9-3) opened Big 12 play with a straight-set victory over Oklahoma on Wednesday in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs lead the Big 12 in service aces per set (1.50) and aced the Sooners nine times on Wednesday. TCU’s élan McCall leads the Big 12 in kills per set (5.07).
- Kansas is 9-13 in Big 12 openers, including a 9-11 mark under head coach Ray Bechard. The Jayhawks are 5-3 when playing their first Big 12 match of the season at home.
- In the last three seasons, Kansas opened Big 12 play with victories over K-State at home (2015), Oklahoma at home (2016) and K-State on the road (2017).
- Sisters Rachel Langs, a freshman at KU, and Sarah Langs, a junior at TCU, will compete against one another for the first time of their collegiate careers on Saturday. The sisters from Fairview, Texas, both play the middle blocker position.
- KU ranks second in the Big 12 in opponent hitting percentage (.171) and blocks per set (2.74).
- The Jayhawks have used 10 different starting lineups through 11 matches this season.
- Kansas and TCU meet for the 14th time on Saturday afternoon. The Jayhawks lead the all-time series, 11-2, including six-straight wins. Since TCU joined the Big 12 in 2012, KU has an 11-1 series advantage. The series dates back to a five-set KU loss during nonconference play in 1999.
- Kansas has played five five-set matches with a 3-2 record this season. Dating back to last season, seven of KU’s last 13 matches have lasted five sets.
- The Jayhawks boast a .824 winning percentage in Horejsi Family Athletics Center since 2012.
MEET THE JAYHAWKS
- Junior outside hitter Jada Burse leads Kansas in total points (135.5), averaging 2.71 kills per set and 0.49 blocks per set this season. Coming off a career-high 18 kills against Drake on Tuesday, Burse has reached double-figure kills in eight of the last nine matches.
- Junior outside hitter Ashley Smith has nearly-identical numbers as Burse, totaling 134.0 points with career-bests of 2.71 kills per set and 0.41 blocks per set this season.
- Junior Allie Nelson and freshman Lacey Angello have split time as KU’s starting libero with Angello starting six matches with the off-color jersey and Nelson starting five. Angello leads KU in digs per set (3.22) with Nelson not far behind at 2.57 digs per set.
- Freshman Camryn Ennis has started the last eight matches as KU’s setter, averaging team-bests of 6.24 assists per set and 0.19 aces per set. The San Antonio native has reached seven assist-dig double-doubles in her nine matches played as a Jayhawk.
- Junior middle blocker Zoe Hill leads KU’s presence at the net with 1.23 blocks per set and a .345 hitting percentage — both values rank fourth in the Big 12.
- Nelson leads the Jayhawks as the server during six scoring runs of 5-0 or longer; Nelson’s longest scoring run as a server was a 7-0 run in the first set against UNCG (Sept. 14). KU’s longest scoring run of the season was 8-0, served by Camryn Ennis, to end a fifth-set victory over College of Charleston (Aug. 31).
- Junior outside hitter Patricia Montero will undergo season-ending surgery to mend an injury incurred on Aug. 31 against Dayton. Montero, a six-rotation player, led the Jayhawks in kills per set (3.62) and points per set (4.04) at the time of her injury.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
- The 2018 season is the 20th and final season of KU’s home court — Horejsi Family Athletics Center. The facility will be torn down and rebuilt as the new Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena after the season. For the third-consecutive season, season tickets for KU’s home matches at Horejsi Family Athletics Center are sold out.
- KU’s streak of 27-straight capacity crowds inside Horejsi Family Athletics Center came to an end on Friday, Sept. 14, against UNC Greensboro — a match that was added to the schedule days before competition.
- This is KU’s 43rd season of intercollegiate volleyball and 21st under head coach Ray Bechard. In his time with the Crimson and Blue, Bechard has compiled a 380-244 (.609) record and guided Kansas to all of its nine NCAA Tournament appearances. Bechard is the winningest coach in program history.
- Last season, Kansas posted a 22-8 overall record and an 11-5 record during Big 12 play to earn a sixth-straight berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks ended the 2017 season receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Poll, ending a stretch of 45-straight appearances in the top-25.
- KU has finished each of the last six seasons with at least a top-20 RPI ranking (No. 20 in 2017).
LAST TIME OUT
- Jada Burse and Zoe Hill combined for 29 kills on a .482 hitting percentage during Tuesday’s non-conference finale against Drake, 3-1 (25-15, 25-22, 22-25, 25-20), on Tuesday.
- For the second-straight match, the Jayhawks recorded a team hitting percentage above .300, notching a .320 clip behind freshman setter Camryn Ennis‘ steady hands. Ennis paced KU’s offense by reaching a new season-high 39 assists with 10 digs for her third-straight double-double.
- KU recorded a season-high 16.0 blocks, led by Rachel Langs‘ seven block-assists and one solo block. Gabby Simpson added a season-high seven blocks to help hold the Bulldogs to a .166 hitting efficiency.
Kansas head coach Ray Bechard
On the competition in the Big 12 …
“It was obvious last night watching Big 12 teams ramp-it-up a little bit when it comes to conference play. Texas and K-State played a high-level match that went five sets. Texas Tech certainly made a statement — defeating (No. 19) Baylor on the road — that they belong in the top half of the conference, at least. TCU-Oklahoma was very competitive even though it was 3-0. West Virginia and Iowa State went toe-to-toe. One thing we can be assured of: if we don’t bring it each and every night in this league, we won’t have the type of success we want to have.”
On TCU …
“Their system is different than the last few years. They have been in a two-setter system and now they have a one-setter system that is really working for them. I think they have created some good momentum in pre-conference and that appears like it’s going to continue into conference play.”
KU will play its Big 12 road opener on national television as ESPNU will carry the Jayhawks’ contest at Oklahoma on Wednesday, Sept. 26 starting at 8 p.m.
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