Kansas wraps nonconference play with Drake Tuesday
Kansas will conclude its nonconference portion of the regular season on Tuesday against Drake inside Horejsi Family Athletics Center. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m. The contest will be available to watch live on ESPN+, powered by the Jayhawk Television Network, and to listen on the Jayhawk IMG Radio Network through KUAthletics.com/radio.
- Kansas enters the fifth week of the regular season with a 6-4 record after a pair of straight-set victories over UNC Greensboro last weekend.
- Drake (11-2) brings back five starters, plus the libero, from a 23-10 team coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history as the team’s 23 wins were the third-most in program history and most since 2010. Drake’s pair of losses this season are to Iowa and Missouri.
- The series between the Jayhawks and Bulldogs dates back to KU’s inaugural volleyball season in 1975, but Tuesday’s match will be the first meeting between the teams in 28 years. KU has won the last three matches against Drake, including the last meeting — a 3-0 KU sweep on Sept. 1, 1990 inside Allen Fieldhouse. Drake leads the all-time series, 7-6-1.
- The Jayhawks have reached double-figure blocks in seven of 10 matches this season. KU is coming of a pair of prolific blocking performances against UNCG, recording 13.0 in three sets on Friday and 10.0 in three sets on Saturday.
- Kansas has played five five-set matches with a 3-2 record. Dating back to last season, seven of KU’s last 12 matches have lasted five sets.
- In the last 10 years, Kansas is a combined 84-16 during the first 10 matches of the regular season, including a 6-4 mark in 2018.
- The Jayhawks boast a .824 winning percentage in Horejsi Family Athletics Center since 2012.
- Junior outside hitter Ashley Smith leads Kansas in total points (124.0), averaging career-bests of 2.71 kills per set and 0.45 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 four.
- 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).
- Angello leads KU with 3.36 digs per set.
- Ennis leads KU with six double-doubles in her eight matches played.
- Junior middle blocker Zoe Hill leads KU in blocks per set (1.23) and hitting percentage (.322).
- Junior outside hitter Jada Burse has reached double-figure kills in seven of the last eight matches, including a season-high 15 kills against LMU (Sept. 8).
- 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.
- 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
- In the first-ever meetings between Kansas and UNC Greensboro, the Jayhawks prevailed with a pair of three-set victories last weekend in Lawrence.
- The Jayhawks were originally scheduled to compete in the Tussle in the Triad in Greensboro, North Carolina, with High Point and Elon, but due to Hurricane Florence impacting in the Carolinas over the weekend, the event was cancelled. KU arranged for UNCG to travel to Lawrence for a two-match series.
- Jada Burse’s .526 hitting percentage (11k-1e-19ta) on Sept. 15 against UNCG is tied for the second-highest clip by a Jayhawk this season (minimum 10 kills).
- Camryn Ennis matched her season high of 14 digs in both matches against the Spartans while picking up her fifth and sixth double-doubles of the season.
- Mmachi Nwoke led the Big 12 in blocks per set (2.00) over the fourth week of the regular season.
- Kansas recorded a season-high .344 hitting percentage during Saturday’s victory.
Kansas head coach Ray Bechard
On Patricia Montero’s playing season coming to an end …
“Patricia has represented our volleyball program in exemplary fashion in every way. It is an unfortunate situation that she’ll have to miss another season due to injury. She is a model student-athlete. She has worked as hard as anyone during her time here over the past three years and I know she will work diligently to come back from this and create new opportunities for herself.”
On Drake …
“Drake has had a successful pre-conference season — this will be their last match before they go into Missouri Valley play. I think they have high hopes to take some pre-conference momentum into their conference play and compete for their league title.”
On KU’s final nonconference match …
“We want to have momentum going into conference play. I thought we built a little momentum this weekend and did some things better and this is another opportunity to improve on Tuesday. You always think you have lots of time before you get into conference play, but here we go — it all starts this Saturday.”
On KU’s defense …
“Our blocking numbers have been pretty good. We think we can get a lot better at it. We had a nice combination on Saturday when we met our dig and block goal totals. When you can do those two things, that gives you some chances to score some points when you serving.”
On Saturday, the Jayhawks begin Big 12 Conference play against TCU in Lawrence at 1 p.m. on ESPN+. KU’s Big 12 opener next week against the Horned Frogs will be the last of a seven-match home stand.
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