No. 11 Kansas opens second half of Big 12 play against Oklahoma Wednesday

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – The second half of Big 12 Conference play is set to begin as No. 11 Kansas volleyball hosts Oklahoma at Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Wednesday night (6:30 p.m., JTV/ESPN3).

Fans attending the match are encouraged to dress up in a Halloween costume for the annual VolleyBOO night. Fans who post a KU volleyball- and Halloween-themed picture on social media during the match using the hashtag #KUFanPix will have a chance to win a volleyball autographed by the team.

• Wednesday marks the start of the second half of Big 12 Conference play; the Jayhawks have gone 7-1 in the first half of conference play for three-straight seasons.  
• Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas leads the all-time series with Oklahoma, 29-14, including six-straight victories. KU won the first meeting of the season, 3-1, on Oct. 7 in Norman.
• Kansas is coming off back-to-back sweeps in which it held opponents to a combined .096 hitting percentage.
• 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.
• Kansas is 26-2 in the last 28 Big 12 contests.
• The Jayhawks are 4-2 against teams ranked in the AVCA Coaches Poll and a 7-2 record against teams currently in the top-50 of the NCAA RPI.
• Since the start of the 2015 season, Kansas has the highest winning percentage among Power Five conference members (.893). The Jayhawks are 75-9 in the last three seasons.
• Kansas has 15-straight sellout crowds at Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
• 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 Oklahoma meet for the 87th time on Wednesday in Lawrence. The Sooners lead the all-time series, 48-38, but Kansas has won nine of the last 11 matchups, including six straight. Since head coach Ray Bechard arrived at KU in 1998, the Jayhawks are 27-10 against OU.

In the first meeting of the season on Oct. 7, Kansas used a balanced offense to defeat Oklahoma, 3-1, in Norman. KU sophomore middle blockers Zoe Hill and Mmachi Nwoke combined for 21 kills, zero attacking errors and 10 blocks. Hill tied her career high of 10 kills on a .769 hitting percentage with five blocks. Nwoke, making her first start as a Jayhawk, set a career high in kills (11) on a .786 hitting percentage with five blocks. Kansas out-blocked Oklahoma, 12.0 to 2.0, and recorded just 12 attacking errors to OU’s 32.

Led by 14th-year head coach Santiago Restrepo, Oklahoma enters Saturday with a 5-16 record and a 2-6 mark during Big 12 play.

Alyssa Enneking leads Oklahoma with 4.05 kills per set and 4.45 points per set — both values rank second in the Big 12.

Wednesday’s match will be televised on Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN3, powered by Spectrum Sports, with Jill Dorsey-Hall providing analysis and Leif Lisec calling play-by-play.

Live audio of the match will be available on or KU’s student radio station, KJHK-FM 90.7, with Nick Lewis calling play-by-play.

Wednesday marks the start of the second half of conference play for the reigning Big 12 champion Jayhawks. Kansas went 7-1 in the first half of league play for the third-straight season.

The Big 12 Conference plays a double-round-robin league schedule with eight home matches and eight road matches for all nine volleyball teams in the league.

Kansas notched its 14th-straight win over Texas Tech with a quick three-set sweep on Saturday, Oct. 21. Madison Rigdon led the Jayhawks’ offense with 14 kills and two aces in the one-hour and 11-minute sweep. Ainise Havili added 34 assists with 11 digs for her 18th double-double of the season. KU’s defense was led by sophomore Allie Nelson, who recorded 17 digs — a career high in a three-set match for the first-year libero.

In the last two matches, Kansas has held opponents to a .096 hitting percentage. Kansas limited Texas Tech (Oct. 21) to 29 kills on a .105 hitting percentage and held No. 24 Baylor (Oct. 18) to 32 kills on a .088 hitting percentage. Baylor entered its match against KU as the Big 12 leader in kills per set.

KU’s .271 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 second in the Big 12 and 19th nationally in hitting percentage. 

Against teams ranked in the top 25 of the AVCA Coaches Poll, the Jayhawks 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.

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, hitting percentage, digs per set and blocks per set.

The Pflugerville, Texas, native leads the Big 12 in points per set during conference play (4.45) this season.

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 4,872 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 115 matches since her freshman season in 2014.

To crack the top-10 of the Big 12’s career assists list, Havili needs to reach 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 leads the Big 12 in kills per set (14.54) and assists per set (13.68), while ranking second in hitting percentage (.271) and digs per set (15.96).

Ainise Havili leads the Big 12 and ranks seventh in the nation in assists per set (11.84). Kelsie Payne ranks third in the league in kills per set (3.95) and fourth in points per set (4.34). Madison Rigdon ranks second in aces per set (0.31) and is right next to Payne in the rankings at fourth kills per set (3.72) and third in points per set (4.36). Rounding out Jayhawks in the Big 12 stats rankings, Allie Nelson ranks third in digs per set (4.33) and Zoe Hill ranks fourth in hitting percentage (.372).

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).

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 21 matches this season. The Jayhawks combine for 13 kill-dig double-doubles this season as senior outside hitter Madison Rigdon has nine 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 (.893). The Jayhawks are 75-9 in the last three seasons.

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 (.344), second in career kills (1,398) and 12th in career blocks (317). She now needs 85 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 (1,181) and is third in career aces (132). 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 4,872 and counting. She also ranks sixth in career digs (1,212) 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).

The seventh top-25 matchup of the season awaits the 11th-ranked Jayhawks on Saturday night (7:30 p.m.) with a rematch against No. 22 Iowa State in Ames.




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