LAWRENCE, Kan. – Nine of the first 10 matches of the 2013 campaign on the road have the Jayhawks raring to come home and host the Kansas Volleyball Invitational, Sept. 20-22.
Vs. North Dakota State (Kansas leads, 3-0): Kansas has yet to lose a set to North Dakota State in a series that started in 1974. Their last meeting was considerably more recent, as the Jayhawks defeated the Bison in three sets in Lawrence in 2004.
Vs. Georgia (Kansas leads, 2-1): The teams have played each other once in Lawrence, once in Athens and once on neutral courts, with KU taking last two. Kansas and Georgia last met in the Georgia Bulldog Invitational, where the Jayhawks earned the sweep and the tournament title on Aug. 27, 2011.
Vs. Notre Dame (Series Tied, 1-1): After meeting for the first time in 1986, a 3-2 KU win, Kansas and Notre Dame did not meet again until last season. At the Golden Dome Invitational on Sept. 16, KU won the first set but lost the next three – all by two points.
FOLLOW THE JAYHAWKS
Fans can listen to radio play-by-play on the Jayhawk Digital Passport, found under the Fan Central tab on KUAthletics.com. Subscriptions are available in daily ($2.95), monthly ($6.95) and yearly ($49.95) increments. Aaron Berlin will have the call.
For those that can’t make it to the Horejsi Family Athletics Center, Sunday’s match will air on Time Warner Cable Metro Sports and all three matches will be on ESPN3.com Fans can access the TV stream by going to ESPN3.com or visiting KUAthletics.com/ESPN. Leif Lisec and former volleyball player Jill Dorsey-Hall will provide the television analysis. For more information on accessing Kansas video content, visit KUAthletics.com/TV. Fans can also monitor the action on Live Stats or by following @KUVolleyball on Twitter.
· Kansas opens its home invitational following the team’s best weekend of the year to date. The Jayhawks went 3-0 last weekend in Madison, Wis., to claim the InnTowner Invitational title.
· KU is 90-23 all-time in home pre-conference tournaments.
· Senior libero Brianne Riley was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, making two-straight weeks a Jayhawk earned the league’s weekly defensive award (Caroline Jarmoc, 9/9).
· Add the ACC to the list of non-conference teams the Jayhawks have faced this season when KU takes on Notre Dame on Sunday. Kansas has already seen the likes of the PAC-12 (Arizona), SEC (Arkansas, Georgia), BIG EAST (Creighton) and the Big Ten (Wisconsin).
· Senior setter Erin McNorton remains atop the Big 12 leaderboard with 498 assists and 11.86 assists per set, which also ranks sixth nationally. The Dallas native ranked in the top-10 in the NCAA all of 2012.
· Showing its depth, Kansas has six different players on five different Big 12 top-10 stat lists: Chelsea Albers, Caroline Jarmoc, Sara McClinton, Erin McNorton, Tayler Soucie and Brianne Riley.
· Jarmoc leads the ranking charge for the Jayhawks, appearing on four top-10 lists: kills (3.52, 4th), points (4.52, 4th), blocks (1.29, 5th) and attack percentage (.294, 8th).
· Entering the week, Kansas checks in at third or better among Big 12 teams in: kills (13.74, 2nd), assists (12.90, 2nd), digs (16.38, 2nd), opponent hitting percentage (.166, 3rd) and blocks (2.71, 3rd).
Senior libero Brianne Riley was honored by the Big 12 as the Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 16. That makes back-to-back weeks for the Kansas defense as redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc claimed the accolade on Sept. 9. Together, the senior duo has been awarded by the conference eight times.
WELL THAT WAS FUN
Down two sets to none against an undefeated, top-25 Wisconsin (9/13) team on its home floor, Kansas charged back to win the next three sets – the Jayhawks’ first 0-2 comeback victory since Sept. 20, 2008 vs. Iowa State. The night marked several firsts for the 2013 season:
– First Jayhawk to crack the 20-kill plateau (Tiana Dockery, 21)
– First Jayhawk to collect 25+ digs (Brianne Riley, 28)
– First Jayhawk win over a top-25 opponent
In its two pre-conference tournament played in 2013, Kansas came away with a share or the outright title. When hosting their own invitationals, the Jayhawks are 90-23 and have gone undefeated in their last three-straight, dating back to Sept. 3-4, 2011.
Redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc was named the MVP of the InnTowner Invitational after cranking out 42 kills on a .352 attack percentage and 1.38 blocks per set in the three-match span. The MVP honor was the fifth of Jarmoc’s career and the 10th time she earned All-Tournament distinction. Since her sophomore season, Jarmoc has been honored on the All-Tournament team in nine of KU’s last 10 tourneys.
AWARDS ALL AROUND
Senior libero Brianne Riley and sophomore outside hitter Tiana Dockery also collected All-Tournament honors at the InnTowner Invitational. Riley was outstanding with 5.46 digs per set, including a season-high 31 in KU’s win over Bowling Green. Dockery was the key piece of Kansas’ comeback victory against No. 25 Wisconsin (9/13), pounding out a career-high 21 kills. The award is the fourth for Riley and the first for Dockery.
PASS GO, COLLECT 2,000
Senior setter Erin McNorton sprinted past a career milestone against No. 25 Wisconsin (9/13) when she became the sixth Jayhawk in program history to record 2,000 assists and stands at 2,070 entering the weekend. 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 43 matches.
RILEY IS CLIMBING
Senior libero Brianne Riley is one dig shy of becoming eighth all-time on the Big 12 Conference’s career digs list (1,705), currently held by former Nebraska standout Kayla Banwarth (1,706; 2007-10). More than just a conference highlight, Riley ranks 14th in career digs amongst every active player in the NCAA. The next closest Big 12 libero on the NCAA’s list is Iowa State’s Kristen Hahn (1,490, 28th).
KU played two more five-set matches at the InnTowner Invitational, bringing its season total to four on the season. The Jayhawks played only five, five-set matches in 2012. The results have followed the same trend, however, as KU was 4-1 in five-setters a year ago and is 3-1 already this season.
Georgia and Notre Dame have each squared off against the Jayhawks in the last two seasons. The Irish are the most recent – and the most vengeful. After taking the first set at Notre Dame (9/16/12), the Irish stormed back to win the next three, 26-24, 25-23, 29-27. Sara McClinton led the charge with 18 kills and Caroline Jarmoc was right behind her with 15, while Erin McNorton passed out 54 assists.
In their last meeting with Georgia, the Jayhawks made it a quick one, winning 25-16, 25-19, 25-14. KU’s leaders from the match, however, have graduated in Allison Mayfield and Tayler Tolefree. Jarmoc had a big game, the then-sophomore added eight kills and nine blocks.
In 2012, Kansas lost the first set only once during the entire pre-conference season. In 2013, Kansas has already faced an 0-1 deficit six times. Unfazed and on the road at their toughest foes, the Jayhawks have pulled off comeback victories at Arizona, at Arkansas and at No. 25 Wisconsin.
TALK ABOUT CONSISTENT
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 94 career starts, she has posted double-digit digs in 87 of them (36 consecutive). In Jarmoc’s 103 career starts, she has racked up double-digit kills 58 times.
SCOUTING NORTH DAKOTA STATE (0-9 Overall, 0-0 Summit League)
Led by third-year head coach Kari Thompson, North Dakota State was picked to finish sixth in the Summit League. The Bison enter the weekend looking for their first win, going 0-9 in their first three weeks against one of the toughest schedules in the country. NDSU opened its season against then-No. 24 Wichita State and went on to face Arizona State, then-No. 17 Louisville and Northern Iowa.
Their vicious non-conference schedule is made even tougher due to the youth on the roster. In their last time out, the Bison started five freshmen, a sophomore and one senior. Freshman middle blocker Emily Miron leads the offense with 3.04 kills per set, while fellow rookie middle Emily Minnick sets the pace with a .297 attack percentage. Another freshman runs the offense as Monica Claxton averages 9.00 assists per set.
Libero Danielle Dombeck is the lone senior starter on the squad and leads the defense with 3.00 digs per set. At the net, Miron bests the defensive effort with 0.71 blocks per set. As a unit, the Bison are blocking 1.23 blocks per set.
SCOUTING GEORGIA (8-1 Overall, 0-0 SEC)
Head coach Lizzy Stemke, an All-American and former member of the U.S. National Team, enters her third year at the helm of the Georgia program. The Bulldogs were picked fourth in the SEC Preseason Poll Eastern Division, one spot behind Missouri. After finishing 2012 with a 14-16 record, Georgia went to work on making sure the 2013 campaign ends with a winning record. Entering the weekend, the Bulldogs’ only loss has come at the hands of then-No. 13 Nebraska.
Unlike the Bison, Georgia brings a veteran lineup into the weekend. Senior outside hitter Brittany Northcutt plays a vital role as a six-rotation player, averaging a team-high 2.66 kills per set and is second on the team with 3.07 digs per set. Redshirt sophomore Jasmine Eaton, a member of the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2012, leads a potent middle force. Her .390 attack percentage bests the team, while 6-4 senior right side Stacey Smith isn’t far behind at .343.
Although Georgia rejects 2.45 shots per set, no one on the squad puts up more than a block per set. Senior middle Elena Perri sets the pace with 0.93 stuffs per set. Senior libero Allison Summers takes care of the back row with a 4.34 dig average.
SCOUTING NOTRE DAME (5-3 Overall, 0-0 ACC)
Legendary head coach Debbie Brown enters her 23rd year at Notre Dame and her 2013 squad was picked fourth in its inaugural ACC season. After dropping their first two matches of the season with losses to North Carolina and Middle Tennessee, the Fighting Irish have won five of their last six including the Shamrock Invitational last weekend.
Notre Dame returns a one-two punch on offense in junior All-Americans Jeni Houser and Toni Alugbue. Houser, a middle blocker, leads the team with a .337 attack percentage and 1.15 blocks per set. Right behind her, Alugbue starts as an outside and bests the UND offense with 98 kills (2.97 per set). Senior setter Maggie Brindock runs the floor, dishing 8.33 assists in each frame. As a team, however, the Irish average just 11.52 kills per set and a .191 overall attack percentage.
Fellow veteran Andrea McHugh holds down the back row as the libero, digging 3.21 balls per set.
HEAD COACH RAY BECHARD
On North Dakota State’s young team and tough schedule:
“I think she (head coach Kari Thompson) felt like if they could survive the preseason that they would set themselves up to do well in their conference. For a program like that, that’s what you shoot toward getting yourself ready to do well in your conference and be the qualifier out of your conference for the NCAA tournament. I’m sure that’s still what their goals are, I’m sure their young team still is growing up. Obviously, they’re not going to be intimidated by what they see this weekend given the schedule they’ve played. With a group like that you’ll see more progress with them because they’re young and working their way through the Division I level. I totally expect them to be extremely competitive this weekend.”
On the Georgia Bulldogs:
“Coach Lizzy [Stemke] is a good friend of mine and she’s in her third year now. That’s where you see the real progress is in the third and fourth year, you begin to get a recruiting class or two into your program and the system begins to take hold and that’s exactly what’s happening. They are a big, physical team, a team that has set itself up to do extremely well in the Southeastern Conference. It’ll be one of the better teams we have seen to this point in the year.”
On Notre Dame:
“It’ll be great to have them in here Sunday afternoon. Debbie Brown is another good friend who has done wonderful things as a player for our country, but she’s done a great job coaching over the years so that will be a great match against an extremely quality opponent. We are looking forward to the entire weekend.”
On the Notre Dame match last year:
“It was a really competitive match, one that we had our chances in, but they made more plays at the right time than we did. It was a disappointing end to that tournament. We played pretty well, but Notre Dame was better that day. We’ve got a lot of work to do this weekend before we get to that point [playing Notre Dame], but we look forward to the rematch and the opportunity to compete against a high level team again.”
On the 7-3 record after playing nine of the first 10 matches on the road:
“It’s solid. If you would have asked me before that whole thing started and you would have told me we would win at Wisconsin, at Arizona and at Arkansas I would have thought the 7-3 might be a little better. Looking back at the travel involved and the teams involved certainly that’s not a bad start. We’ve got to capitalize on being home. If we can have a good weekend I think we can call it a pretty successful pre-conference stretch to this point.”
Kansas will stay home to host a unique midweek exhibition match when the Jayhawks welcome the U-23 Italian National Team on Wednesday, Sept. 25. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.
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