No. 16 Kansas volleyball visits No. 2 Texas Wednesday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas volleyball hits the road for a Texas two-step, featuring two matches in three days beginning with No. 2 Texas in Austin on Wednesday night (7 p.m., Longhorn Network). The 16th-ranked Jayhawks then travel to Lubbock for a Friday night first serve against Texas Tech.
• Wednesday’s match against No. 2 Texas marks the sixth-straight time the Jayhawks and Longhorns will meet as top-25 opponents.
• Three of the last four Kansas-Texas matches have lasted five sets.
• Kansas has won at least 20 overall matches and at least 10 Big 12 matches in the last six seasons, from 2012 to 2017.
• Six Jayhawks will be making a return to their home state for Wednesday’s match in Austin.
• KU is 29-4 in its last 33 Big 12 contests.
• The Jayhawks’ .260 hitting percentage this season is the second-highest clip in program history.
• Kansas has won the last 14 matches after a loss. Last time out, Kansas lost to No. 23 Baylor on Saturday, Nov. 11.
• The 16th-ranked Jayhawks have been ranked in the AVCA Coaches Poll 43-straight times.
• Ainise Havili holds KU’s career assists record (5,078) and leads the Big 12 in assists per set this season (11.53).
• Kelsie Payne’s 1,457 career kills is 26 away from tying KU’s career kills record.
• Madison Rigdon, who leads Kansas in kills per set during Big 12 play (3.59), has not played the last three matches due to injury. Rigdon had played in every KU match since 2015, including 59-straight starts prior to Nov. 4.
• Four different Jayhawks have earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week awards.
• 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.
Wednesday’s match against No. 2 Texas marks the sixth-straight time the Jayhawks and Longhorns will meet as top-25 opponents. In the most recent AVCA Coaches Poll, the Jayhawks are ranked 16th and the Longhorns are ranked second.
The teams have split the last two meetings — both five-set matches in Lawrence. Kansas won on Oct. 29, 2016, while Texas won on Oct. 11, 2017. The Longhorns lead the all-time series, 40-5.
Three of the last four KU-UT matches have lasted five sets.
Led by head coach Jerritt Elliott, Texas enters Wednesday with a 21-2 record and a 13-0 mark during Big 12 play. The Longhorns lead the nation in blocks per set (3.29) and rank eighth nationally in hitting percentage (.311). Chiaka Ogbogu ranks second in the nation in blocks per set (1.80).
Longhorn Network will televise Wednesday’s match with Paul Sunderland calling play-by-play and Nell Fortner providing analysis. Audio of the match will be available on KUAthletics.com/radio.
LAST TIME vs. TEXAS
In the fifth-straight top-10 matchup between Kansas and Texas, the Longhorns prevailed in a five-set thriller on Oct. 11 in Lawrence (21-25, 27-25, 18-25, 25-10, 18-16). Texas ended KU’s 19-match Big 12 winning streak. Ainise Havili became KU’s all-time leader in assists; Havili’s 50 assists against UT enabled her to pass Andi Rozum’s record of 4,772 in the second set and finish the night with 4,801. Madison Rigdon led the Jayhawks’ offense with 20 kills on a career-high 65 swings with 11 digs for ninth double-double of the season. Allie Nelson tied her career high of 28 digs as Texas was held to its lowest hitting percentage in Big 12 play this season (.254).
NINTH TOP-25 MATCHUP
Kansas plays its program-record ninth top-25 matchup of the season on Wednesday against No. 2 Texas. This will be the 31st all-time top-25 matchup for Kansas, which has been ranked for 43-straight AVCA Coaches Polls.
LONE STAR JAYHAWKS
Six Jayhawks will be making a return to their home state for Wednesday’s match in Austin — Ainise Havili (Fort Worth), Kelsie Payne (Austin), Madison Rigdon (Pflugerville), Zoe Hill (Houston), Mmachi Nwoek (Grand Prairie) and Jada Burse (DeSoto). All of those six Texas-native Jayhawks and are on KU’s most-used starting lineup this season.
Kansas has won 12 of the last 13 matches in the month of November — the final stretch of the regular season before the NCAA Tournament begins. Since 2012, the Jayhawks are 31-8 in November, having reached at least five November wins in the last five seasons.
COMING OFF A LOSS
Kansas has won the last 14 matches after a loss entering Wednesday’s contest at Texas. Since 2014, KU is 17-2 after a loss. The Jayhawks have not lost back-to-back matches since losing three-straight to open Big 12 play during the 2014 season.
SIXTH-STRAIGHT 20-WIN SEASON
Kansas reached 20 wins with a victory at TCU on Nov. 4. It marks the sixth-straight and 16th time overall in program history the Jayhawks have reached 20 wins in a season.
Since KU’s streak of 20-win seasons began in 2012, the Jayhawks have a 151-35 record, good for a .812 winning percentage. From 2012 to 2016, KU averaged 26 wins per season. KU’s last six 20-win seasons have also included at least 10 Big 12 Conference wins.
Kansas has a program-record four wins against teams ranked in the top 25 of the AVCA Coaches Poll this season. KU is 4-4 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 14-20 against top-25 opponents. Before 2012, KU was 14-101 against top-25 opponents.
Kansas is also 7-4 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.
GOING FOR A RUN
Kansas has nine scoring runs of 7-0 or greater and 37 runs of 5-0 or greater this season. Senior defensive specialist Tori Miller has been the primary server during seven of KU’s nine runs of seven points or more. The Jayhawks have a 5-2 record in matches featuring a KU scoring run of 7-0 or longer.
KU’s longest run of the season (10-0) occurred when Miller was at the service line. KU went on a 10-0 run at the end of a 25-16 fourth-set win over then-No. 18 Iowa State (Sept. 27); the Jayhawks won the match in five sets.
KU’s .260 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 31st nationally in hitting percentage.
Senior All-American setter Ainise Havili holds KU’s record for career assists with 5,078 entering Wednesday’s match.
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 120 matches since her freshman season in 2014.
Havili ranks sixth 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.
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 (.338), second in career kills (1,457) and 10th in career blocks (337). She now needs 26 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 (1,203), third in career aces (132) and fifth in career attack attempts (3,503). 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 5,078 and counting. She also ranks sixth in career digs (1,270) and 18th in service aces (101). 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) and became the first Jayhawk to pass the 5,000-assist mark with 51 assists at TCU (Nov. 4). The Fort Worth, Texas, native became the 14th Jayhawk to reach 1,000 career digs with 14 against NC State (Aug. 26).
BIG 12 LEADERBOARD
Ainise Havili leads the Big 12 and ranks 15th in the nation in assists per set (11.53). Kelsie Payne ranks third in the league in kills per set (3.75). Madison Rigdon ranks second in the Big 12 in aces per set (0.28). Payne and Rigdon are tied for third in points per set (4.18). Zoe Hill ranks second in the Big 12 in hitting percentage (.390) overall and leads the league in Big 12-only hitting percentage (.461). Rounding out Jayhawks in the Big 12 stats rankings, Allie Nelson ranks second in total digs (431).
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 volleyball is ranked No. 16 in the AVCA Coaches Poll released on Monday. Kansas has been ranked for 43-straight AVCA polls. Four of the Big 12’s nine teams are ranked in the top-25 this week.
The Jayhawks have played nine matches against current top-25 teams this season with wins over No. 6 Kentucky, No. 15 Purdue, No. 19 Baylor, No. 23 Iowa State and No. 25 Missouri State.
With Missouri State entering this week’s AVCA poll for the first time this season, Wednesday will be the 10th match for KU against a team currently in the top-25. KU is 5-4 against current top-25 teams, including a 1-1 record against current top-10 opponents.
Kansas travels directly from Austin to Lubbock to face Texas Tech on Friday, Nov. 17 (6 p.m.).
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