No. 25 Wisconsin InnTowner Invitational Next Up for Jayhawks

Jayhawk Digital Passport (Live Audio) | Tournament Central | Kansas Notes
LAWRENCE, Kan. – In the first three weeks of the season, Kansas has been on the road at PAC-12, SEC and BIG EAST opponents. Add the Big Ten to the list when the Jayhawks take off for the InnTowner Invitational hosted by No. 25 Wisconsin, Sept. 13-14.
-Friday: vs. Milwaukee – 11 a.m. CT
-Friday: at Wisconsin – 7 p.m. CT
-Saturday: vs. Bowling Green – 1 p.m. CT
Vs. Milwaukee: First Meeting
Vs. Wisconsin (Series Tied, 1-1): The Jayhawks and Badgers first met in 1976 on a neutral court that resulted in a 2-0 Wisconsin victory. Nearly 30 years later, the two met again in Lawrence with KU claiming the 3-1 win. KU and UW have never played in Madison.
Vs. Bowling Green (Bowling Green leads, 1-0): Their one and only meeting came during the 1993 season and BG walked away with a 3-1 win.
Fans can listen to radio play-by-play on the Jayhawk Digital Passport, found under the Fan Central tab on Subscriptions are available in daily ($2.95), monthly ($6.95) and yearly ($49.95) increments. Aaron Berlin will have the call. As always, the latest score updates are available by following @KUVolleyball on Twitter.
Live stats for all InnTowner matches will be available for free through Gametracker. A video stream for all matches will be available on (CBS All Access) for a subscription fee.
· Kansas is coming off consecutive losses for the first time since the 2011 season, when KU fell to Oklahoma (11/16) and Kansas State (11/23) – a span of 41 matches.
· Freshman Tayler Soucie broke a Jayhawk single-match record at No. 24 Creighton (9/10) with 12 block assists. The rookie ranks second in the Big 12 with 1.35 blocks per set, just .01 off of first place, WVU’s Caleah Wells.
· Kansas and Oklahoma are the only teams in the league with two players averaging more than three kills per set. Redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc (3.66) and junior outside hitter Sara McClinton (3.15) rank fourth and seventh in the Big 12, respectively.
– Jarmoc was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. It is her fourth career weekly conference honor and the third of the defensive variety. She ranks fourth in the conference with 1.24 blocks per set, making KU the only team with two players blocking more than 1.20 shots each frame.
· Senior setter Erin McNorton remains atop the Big 12 leaderboard with 11.97 assists per set. McNorton (347) and Texas Tech’s Emily Ruetter (390) are the only setters in the league already with 300 assists.
· Showing its depth, Kansas has six different players on five different top-10 lists: Chelsea Albers, Caroline Jarmoc, Sara McClinton, Erin McNorton, Tayler Soucie and Brianne Riley.
· As a team, Kansas is ranked second in the Big 12 in kills (14.00), blocks (2.69) and digs (16.28).
Senior setter Erin McNorton is sprinting toward a career milestone, needing only 81 assists to become the sixth Jayhawk in program history to record 2,000 assists. The most astounding part? The Dallas native had not started a match until last season – all but 129 of those assists have come within the last 40 matches.
After dropping the first set, KU went on to play arguably its best volleyball of the season in set two at Creighton (9/10). The Jayhawks’ 13 kills and zero errors in the frame came out to a .650 attack percentage, KU’s highest in a set since Aug. 28, 2006 when the Jayhawks hit .739 in the second set against Alabama A&M.
A theme for this year for several Jayhawk teams, the volleyball squad has whole-heartedly adopted the “fighter” mentality on the court, battling for every point. Of the 13 sets Kansas has lost this season, the team didn’t go down without a fight – eight of those losses were by the minimum two points. The loss at No. 24 Creighton (9/10) was even tougher due to the fact that Kansas faced a 24-20 deficit in the fourth set and fought off match point seven times before succumbing to the Bluejays, 29-27.
Redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc made her 100th-consecutive start at Creighton (9/10). The Calgary, Alberta, Canada native redshirted her freshman season to become more acclimated to American volleyball and has gone on to start every match since.
Redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc totaled 24 blocks in a three-match span, good for 1.71 blocks per set to earn her first Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week award of the season. Six matches into 2013, Jarmoc leads the league with 32 total blocks – moving her into second all-time with 443 career blocks at Kansas. Not merely a source for shot rejection, Jarmoc also put up an impressive 49 kills over the same span.
With an All-American for a teacher, freshman middle blocker Tayler Soucie has adjusted from high school to college in a hurry. In her fourth-career start, the rookie set a Kansas record with 12 blocks assists in a single match at Creighton (9/10).
In 2012, Kansas lost the first set only once during the entire pre-conference season. In 2013, Kansas has already faced a 1-0 deficit five times. Twice, however, the Jayhawks rallied from the comeback to win (at Arizona, at Arkansas).
For the first time in 13-straight weeks, Kansas is not among the top-25, nor receiving votes, in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division I Coaches Poll. Wisconsin is the second ranked opponent the Jayhawks have faced this season.
Senior libero Brianne Riley recorded her third-straight 20-dig match against Creighton, which moves her closer to eighth all-time on the Big 12 Conference’s career digs list (1,634), currently held by former Nebraska standout Kayla Banwarth (1,706; 2007-10).
Of KU’s seven seniors, five are routine starters in the 2013 lineup. Caroline Jarmoc and Brianne Riley are the only four-year starters of the group – and what an impact they’ve had. In Riley’s 91 career starts, she has posted double-digit digs in 84 of them (33 consecutive). In Jarmoc’s 100 career starts, she has racked up double-digit kills 56 times (eight consecutive).
KU’s comeback victory at Arizona (8/31) marked Ray Bechard‘s 250th win at Kansas. The winningest coach in program history. Bechard is the only Jayhawk coach with 250-plus wins, and his 252 rank fourth all-time among Big 12 Conference coaches. John Cook (Nebraska, 336), Laurie Corbelli (Texas A&M, 330) and Jerritt Elliott (Texas, 299) have collected more overall wins in their time in the Big 12, with Elliott and Bechard being the only coaches on the list still in the conference.
Redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc picked up her 1,000th career kill against UMKC (9/3) and currently stands at 1,057. KU’s career record is 1,483 (Josi Lima, 2002-05), but the top-10 list begins with Cyndee Kanabel’s 1,122 career kills (1990-93). Only Kansas State’s Kaitlynn Pelger has more career kills on the Big 12’s active-player career list.
SCOUTING MILWAUKEE (3-3 Overall, 0-0 Horizon League)
Led by seventh-year head coach Susie Johnson, Milwaukee was picked third in the Horizon League’s preseason poll, but the Panthers are just three points back of first-place pick Valparaiso. UWM also claimed two first-place votes. The Panthers claimed the championship of the Akron Invitational with three victories in Ohio this past weekend. UWM wrapped up its weekend with an impressive win over the host Zips, who entered the contest a perfect 4-0.
Senior middle blocker Rachel Neuberger leads the five returning starters and 11 letterwinners from a year ago and was named the 2013 Horizon League’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Proving them right, Neuberger leads the team with 72 kills, 3.00 kills per set and a .393 attack percentage. A concussion kept All-Preseason Team sophomore setter, Kayla Price, from playing last weekend in Ohio, but the Panthers did fine with fellow sophomore Taylor Gruber, who leads the team with 10.45 assists per set.
Milwaukee is hitting .202 as a team and averaging 12.38 kills per set. Neuberger’s 0.92 blocks per set are second to Nicole Latzig’s 1.00 blocking average.
SCOUTING NO. 25 WISCONSIN (6-0 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)
Led by first-year head coach Kelly Sheffield, Wisconsin’s 6-0 start is the team’s best since an 11-0 opening in 2010. With two tournament wins under their belt, including wins over Northern Iowa and No. 17 Louisville, the Badgers also cracked the AVCA top-25 poll for the first time since the 2008 season. With the addition of Wisconsin, the Big Ten now has nine teams in the nation’s top-25. In their last time out, the Badgers swept the top-20 Cardinals and UW has only gone to five sets once this season (vs. UNI).
The Badgers are staffed with multi-talented athletes as junior Courtney Thomas and freshman Lauren Carlini each play outside hitter and setter for the squad. Thomas was named the MVP of the North Dakota State Invitational last weekend, tallying a career-high 18 kills against UNI for her 33rd career double-double, adding 15 digs. She took over at setter vs. NDSU, putting up 40 assists to go over 2,000 for her career at Wisconsin.
Carlini, the 2012 National Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year, leads the team with 10.00 assists per set, but also saw time at outside hitter at the NDSU Invitational. A 6-4 junior outside hitter, Ellen Chapman, leads the team with 4.18 kills per set. Most impressively, however, is freshman middle blocker Haleigh Nelson, who has committed just one attack error in 58 swings for a team-best .552 attack percentage. Wisconsin is hitting .273 as a team with a 13.77 kills per set average.
Defensively, UW has three players hovering around the 1.00 block per set mark and is averaging 2.20 stuffs per set. Sophomore libero Taylor Morey leads the back row with 3.64 digs per set.
Led by second-year head coach Danijela Tomic, Bowling Green was voted to win the Mid-American Conference after finishing second in the regular season and winning the conference tournament in 2012. Tomic led the Falcons to the program’s first NCAA Tournament win last season and returns a veteran squad that went 22-11 overall and 13-3 in conference play.
The team’s 1-4 record heading into the weekend gives an inaccurate first impression. BGSU’s lone win came at the hands of then-No. 13 BYU. The Falcons’ four losses represent the brutal schedule they’ve faced in the early weeks of the season: Marquette, No. 25 Creighton, Notre Dame and No. 22 Purdue.
Senior left side Paige Penrod is one of two Falcons registering more than 3.25 kills per set. She and fellow First Team All-MAC performer, senior right side Danielle Tonyan, average 3.68 and 3.27 kills, respectively. Setters Laura Avila and Erica Fullenkamp split up the setting duties to help the team average 12.58 assists per set.
Defensively, senior middle blocker Kaitlyn Skinner leads the front line with 1.67 blocks per set, while senior libero Ashley Dunn backs it up with a 4.16 digs average.
On being on the road at PAC-12, SEC, BIG EAST and now Big Ten opponents:
“We knew the schedule was going to be difficult going in, and it’s lived up to that. I don’t know that we’ve held up our end of the deal in some cases. Wisconsin has a new coach with new energy, it’s their home opener and it’s the first time they’ve been ranked in five years so they’ll be pretty jazzed up. Before we get to that point, we’ve got Milwaukee who has a good volleyball tradition themselves. That’s our first order of the day. They were a little bit injured last year and now they’ve got everybody healthy. They had a tough first weekend and then bounced back to end the weekend with a 3-0 result. Then we top that off with a Bowling Green team that might win the MAC, which is a good volleyball conference. It’ll be a full weekend for sure.”
On answering the ‘What’s going on?’ questions:
“Well 4-3 after seven matches isn’t what all Jayhawk fans are hoping for or what we were hoping for. This is a different year and it’s a whole different set of circumstances. We had the majority of our pre-conference matches at home last year and this year we’ve had to go on the road a lot and play good teams. There are a couple of matches in there that we would’ve liked to have finished and then things now would look dramatically different. We’re through two weekends and we’ve got 10 or 12 to go. We’ll continue to isolate things and make them better. There will be close games this weekend so hopefully we’ll be able to  execute at the right time.”
On learning from losses:
“One of the issues is with a schedule like this that goes Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday-Tuesday-Friday, is it reduces the amount of quality training time and you have to be careful of the volume so your team has a chance to play hard each time they go out there. The one constant is the pass and serve. The disappointing part of it is that we pass at a very high level at times and then it’s let us down at key times so we’ll continue to work on that. We’ve got to transition better, block more balls, but now we need to dig into transition and end plays that way. That’s what we’re looking at this week.”
Kansas will finally spend a little time in Lawrence as the Jayhawks prepare for a five-match homestand. KU will host its annual Kansas Invitational, Sept. 20-22. The Jayhawks will welcome North Dakota State, Georgia and Notre Dame.  The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.