No. 4 Kansas concludes nonconference play at Stacey Clark Classic
YouTube Coach Bechard Interview
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 4 Kansas travels to West Lafayette, Indiana to conclude its portion of the nonconference regular-season schedule at the Stacey Clark Classic, Sept. 16-17.
STACEY CLARK CLASSIC
The Stacey Clark Classic, hosted by Purdue and featuring Kansas, Xaiver and Southeastern Louisiana, is named after long-time Purdue volleyball booster, Stacey Lynn Craib Clark. Last September it was announced that the Boiler Box Challenge would be renamed in her honor. Clark passed away Feb. 21, 2016, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
NONCONFERENCE WINNING STREAK
Kansas enters the final week of nonconference play with a 24-match winning streak against nonconference opponents during the regular season. That stretch includes eight-straight nonconference tournament titles. The regular-season nonconference winning streak began on Sept. 19, 2014 with a straight-set win over North Texas in the Jayhawk Classic.
The Jayhawks have gone undefeated through the nonconference portion of the regular season four times (2000, 2002, 2004, 2015) under head coach Ray Bechard. KU is 178-29 (.860) against nonconference teams during the regular season under Bechard.
Eight-Straight Nonconference Tourney Titles (MVP)
2014 – Jayhawk Classic (Cassie Wait)
2015 – Arkansas Invitational (Ainise Havili)
2015 – Kansas Invitational (Cassie Wait)
2015 – Pistol Pete’s Showdown (Madison Rigdon)
2015 – Jayhawk Classic (Tiana Dockery)
2016 – Bulldog Invitational (Madison Rigdon)
2016 – Kansas Invitational (Kelsie Payne)
2016 – Bluejay Invitational (Madison Rigdon)
RACKING UP THE DUBS
KU’s 39 wins since the start of the 2015 season is tied with USC and Washington for second-most in NCAA Division I volleyball during that period. Western Kentucky leads with 41 since the start of last season. The Jayhawks’ only three loss were to the pair of teams that played in the 2015 NCAA Championship title match – Texas and Nebraska.
Wins since 2015 (as of Sept. 14, 2016)
Western Kentucky – 41
KANSAS – 39
USC – 39
Washington – 39
Nebraska – 38
Xavier: Kansas faces a BIG EAST Conference opponent for the second-consecutive week with Friday morning’s match against Xavier. Entering the fourth meeting between the Jayhawks and Musketeers, KU leads 2-1. Xavier won the first meeting in 1984 in Lawrence, but the Jayhawks have won the last two in 2009 and 2012. In the last meeting, Caroline Jarmoc poured in 17 kills as Kansas swept Xavier in the Golden Dome Classic (Notre Dame) on Sept. 15, 2012. Kansas is 23-4 against teams currently in the BIG EAST.
Purdue: Kansas and Purdue meet for the first time in 14 seasons on Friday night. The Boilermakers and Jayhawks have split the all-time series, 2-2. Kansas has won the last two meetings against the consistent Big Ten contender – winning in West Lafayette in four sets on Sept. 2, 2000 and sweeping the Boilermakers on Sept. 14, 2002 in Lawrence. The Jayhawks are 1-0 against Big Ten Conference teams this season after sweeping Maryland on Sept. 2. In KU’s last Big Ten road match, the Jayhawks defeated No. 25 Wisconsin in five sets on Sept. 13, 2013.
Southeastern Louisiana: Kansas and Southeastern Louisiana will meet for the first time on Saturday. The Jayhawks defeated SLU’s fellow Southland Conference member Lamar on Aug. 27 in Starkville, Mississippi.
CLIMBING THE LADDER
Senior libero Cassie Wait enters this week with 1,552 career digs, which ranks second on KU’s career digs list. She now stands 501 digs away from all-time leader Brianne Riley (2010-13; 2,053). Wait and Riley played on the same team in 2013. On Sept. 23, 2015 against K-State, Wait became the third-fastest Jayhawk to reach 1,000 career digs (77 matches; 282 sets).
Senior middle blocker Tayler Soucie enters this weekend with 428 career blocks, ranking third on KU’s career blocks list. Soucie has recorded 100 blocks for three-consecutive seasons entering her senior campaign; the only Jayhawk to record four 100-block seasons was career blocks leader Caroline Jarmoc (2010-13; 555). Soucie, the 2015-16 Big 12 Female Sportsperson of the Year, trails second-place Amanda Reves (1996-99; 514) by 94 blocks.
Junior All-American setter Ainise Havili became the seventh Jayhawk to reach 3,000 career assists after registering 47 against Chattanooga (Sept. 9). She enters this weekend with 3,046 career assists. The reigning Big 12 Setter of the Year already ranks second in career assists per set (11.63) in the KU record books.
Junior All-American right-side hitter Kelsie Payne is KU’s career leader in hitting percentage (.364) among attackers with at least 1,000 attempts. The Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year totals 784 kills and will soon become the 15th Jayhawk to reach 1,000 career kills.
Kansas has held opponents to single-digit points in a set 13 times since the 25-point rally scoring era began in 2008. Of those 13 sets, nine have come in the last two seasons. Most recently, the Jayhawks held Chicago State to single-digit sets twice during KU’s home-opening sweep on Sept. 2 (25-12, 25-8, 25-9).
Opponent’s Single-Digit Sets
25-Point Rally Scoring Era
11/24/2009 vs. TEXAS TECH: 25-8 (Set 1)
8/27/2011 vs. Liberty: 25-9 (Set 3)
11/26/2011 vs. BAYLOR: 25-9 (Set 4)
11/30/2012 vs. CLEVELAND STATE: 25-1 (Set 4)
8/29/2015 vs. McNeese State: 25-9 (Set 1)
9/18/2015 vs. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE: 25-9 (Set 2)
10/31/2015 vs. BAYLOR: 25-9 (Set 2)
11/28/2015 vs. TEXAS TECH: 25-9 (Set 2)
9/4/2015 vs. WESTERN ILLINOIS: 25-6 (Set 3)
9/18/2015 vs. GONZAGA: 25-8 (Set 4)
8/27/2016 vs. Lamar: 25-9 (Set 3)
9/2/2016 vs. CHICAGO STATE: 25-8 (Set 2)
9/2/2016 vs. CHICAGO STATE: 25-9 (Set 3)
List does not include the fifth set, which goes to 15 points.
Kansas leads the Big 12 in aces per set (1.6) after the first three weeks of regular-season action. The Jayhawks have six matches with seven or more aces. Individually, junior outside hitter Madison Rigdon leads the Big 12 with 20 aces – at least five more than any other player in the league.
KU Aces per Set
KU’s 9-0 start now ties for the third-best start in program history, trailing only last season’s Final Four team which started 19-0, the 2001 season’s 10-0 start and the 2000 season’s 9-0 start. All four flourishing starts have been under the tutelage of head coach Ray Bechard.
Year – Start (Finish)
2015 – 19-0 (30-3, 14-2 Big 12, NCAA Final Four)
2001 – 10-0 (16-15, 6-14 Big 12)
2016 – 9-0 (?)
2000 – 9-0 (15-14, 6-14 Big 12)
Kansas volleyball remained at No. 4 for the third-straight week in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll released on Monday. It ties for the highest ranking in program history for the fourth time.
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 and finished last season ranked No. 4 after advancing to the Final Four.
Featured on KU’s schedule are No. 2 Texas (Sept. 24, Oct. 29), No. 14 Purdue (Friday) and No. 25 Kansas State (Oct. 12, Nov. 2).
BACK-TO-BACK: WAIT DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior libero Cassie Wait is coming off back-to-back Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors, having averaged a Big 12-leading 6.32 digs per set in the last six matches. Wait enters the weekend with five-straight 20-dig matches, which includes a pair of three-set sweeps.
The Gardner, Kansas native set a Bluejay Invitational record of 33 digs during KU’s five-set victory over preseason-No. 18 Creighton (Sept. 8), marking her third career 30-dig performance and second in two weeks. Wait recorded 20 digs in just three sets to help sweep Northern Iowa (Sept. 10).
This season, Wait leads the Big 12 in digs per set (5.65) and is the floor general for a KU defense which is holding opponents to a Big 12-best .096 hitting percentage.
PAYNE’S MOST EFFICIENT PERFORMANCE
Junior All-American right-side hitter Kelsie Payne went off for 25 kills on a .487 hitting percentage in only three sets against Northern Iowa (Sept. 10). Her second 20-kill performance of the season came just one kill shy of her career-high 26 set against Iowa State (Oct. 28, 2015) in four sets. It marks the second time in her career that she recorded at least 20 kills in just three sets.
Kelsie Payne: 20-kill, three-set performances
11/14/2015 vs. TCU: 21 kills
9/10/2016 vs. UNI: 25 kills
RIGDON ON THE WAY TO CAREER SEASON
Junior outside hitter Madison Rigdon has a head start to her most successful season as a Jayhawk. The Pflugerville, Texas native has already garnered two nonconference tournament MVP honors (Bulldog Classic, Bluejay Invitational) and ranks fifth in the nation in aces per set (0.65). Rigdon has increased production across the board in kills, hitting accuracy, digs and service aces, comparted to last season’s All-Big 12 Second Team campaign.
2014: 2.18 k/s, .226 %, 1.23 d/s, 0.31 sa/s
2015: 2.75 k/s, .206 %, 2.11 d/s, 0.26 sa/s
2016: 3.71 k/s, .242 %, 2.39 d/s, 0.65 sa/s
k/s – kills per set; % – hitting percentage; sa/s – aces per set
Kansas returned five starters, including libero Cassie Wait, from the squad that advanced all the way to the NCAA Championship semifinals in 2015. The two starting positions that needed to be replaced were outside hitter (Tiana Dockery) and middle blocker (Janae Hall). Through nine matches in 2016, redshirt freshman Patricia Montero has started all nine at outside hitter. At middle blocker, freshman Zoe Hill has seven starts and junior Kayla Cheadle has two starts.
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