Kansas Continues Road Swing at West Virginia
LAWRENCE, Kan. – With the weight of the first Big 12 Conference win off of their shoulders, the Jayhawks will stay on the road and look to repeat the feat. Kansas and West Virginia will square off Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. CT in the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, West Virginia.
vs. West Virginia (KU leads, 6-0): In six previous meetings, Kansas has gotten the best of West Virginia, although only two of those matches led to Jayhawk sweeps – including their most recent meeting (11/6/13). WVU faced KU once in 1999 and again in 2000 before the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 prior to the 2012 season. KU found itself behind after losing the first set in Morgantown a year ago, but came back to pull off the win in four sets.
FOLLOW THE JAYHAWKS
Fans can listen to radio play-by-play on KUAthletics.com, found under the Fan Central tab. Adam Drovetta will have the call. The KU-WVU match will stream online for free on Mountaineer TV, found under the Multimedia tab on WVUSports.com. Fans can monitor the action by following @KUVolleyball on Twitter.
- Back-to-back defending Big 12 Coach of the Year, Ray Bechard, is in his 30th overall season as a head coach in 2014 and his 17th with the Jayhawks. He enters the match with a career mark of 1,002-282.
- Freshman setter Ainise Havili earned her first career Big 12 Rookie of the Week award on Oct. 13. Her 760 assists rank 36th nationally, while her 11.18 assists per set checks in at 36th in the NCAA.
- Kansas jumped from No. 26 in the RPI to No. 20 in the latest NCAA RPI projections (10/13). In the last three seasons, KU has been outside of the top-20 for only one week. Thus far in 2014, KU is 0-3 vs. top-25 RPI teams, 1-5 vs. top-50 and 7-5 vs. top-100.
- The RPI reflects that Kansas plays the last two national champions a combined three times this season in Penn State (2013) and Texas (2012).
- Kansas picked up its second-straight win at Baylor on Oct. 10, marking the first time since the 2002-03 seasons that KU won in Waco in back-to-back trips.
- For the first time in conference play, senior outside hitter Chelsea Albers did not record double-digits against Baylor (10/10), but her nine kills kept her in the top-five in conference-only matches with 3.72 kills per set.
- Where Albers ranks fifth in conference-only matches for kills, freshman middle blocker Kelsie Payne is fifth in the league in attack percentage with her .354 mark (35K-7E-79TA). Overall, Payne ranks eighth with a .327 efficiency.
HOT HOT HAVILI
Freshman setter Ainise Havili picked up her first Big 12 Rookie of the Week award on Oct. 13. On the road against Baylor (10/10), Havili did what she’s been known for all season, picking up her ninth double-double of the year – and her fifth in the last six matches. Havili was named the Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year, the first such selection in KU history, after playing in Guatemala for the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team this summer. Now well into the swing of collegiate volleyball, Havili’s 11.18 assist average ranks second in the league by a mere .01 assist per set. Her 14.00 dime average the week of Oct. 6-12 bested all Big 12 setters by more than 2.5 assists per set.
When the Jayhawks started conference play at 0-3, head coach Ray Bechard said the primary focus would be on his team’s ability to finish: finish rallies, finish plays and finish matches. At Baylor (10/10), Kansas did exactly that. KU faced a 19-15 deficit in set three and fell behind 21-18 in set four. Rather than giving the Bears the chance to turn their lead into a win, Kansas rallied for crucial comeback efforts and finished the third set on a 13-7 run and the fourth set on a 7-1 tear.
In those set three and set four comebacks at Baylor (10/10), KU relied on big time playmakers. Kansas rattled off 13 points after being down 19-15 in set three, only three of which came from BU errors. The final moments saw senior outside hitter Sara McClinton register four kills. While junior outside hitter Tiana Dockery swung for three-straight kills to end set three, she was also forced by the substitution limitations to stay in and serve late. Not only did she deliver a perfect ball, she came up with a dig that saved the set.
WINS IN WACO
The four-set win at Baylor (10/10) marked the first time Kansas has won back-to-back meetings in Waco since Nov. 16, 2002 (W, 3-0) and Nov. 26, 2003 (W, 3-0).
The last time Kansas and West Virginia met, the Jayhawks came away with a convincing three-set win (11/6/13). KU started the night with 17 kills and no errors in the first set for a blistering .586 team attack percentage and finished at .386 for the evening. Chelsea Albers and Tayler Soucie combined for 20 kills and two errors, while Sara McClinton rung up nine kills.
WHAT’S UP, DOCK?
Junior outside hitter Tiana Dockery has hit the gas to start Big 12 play as her 41 kills and 2.73 kill average rank second on the team. She has double-digit kills in her last three contests, including a match-high 19 kills to power Kansas past Baylor (10/10). That marked the biggest output by Dockery since her 21 kills led the Jayhawks to a comeback victory at No. 25 Wisconsin on Sept. 13, 2013.
Senior outside hitter Sara McClinton is the 14th Jayhawk all-time to reach the 1,000-kill mark at Kansas. She is also one of two active Big 12 players with 1,000 kills to their name. The other is two-time Big 12 Player of the Year, Texas senior Haley Eckerman. McClinton currently sits at 1,118 career kills, just five away from 11th all-time (1,122, Cyndee Kanabel). She needs 13 kills to break into KU’s top-10 list (1,131, Jana Correa).
SCOUTING WEST VIRGINIA (12-7, 2-3 Big 12 Conference)
West Virginia is led by head coach Jill Kramer, now in her fifth season with the Mountaineers. Kramer, who is assisted by former KU volleyball standout Sara Kidd, steered her team to its highest peak in 2013, leading the Mountaineers to a 10-0 start, its first Big 12 Conference victory and the first 20-win season in over two decades. After dropping the opening match of the 2014 season to then-No. 9 BYU, WVU notched 10-consecutive wins.
After a stellar freshman campaign, sophomore outside hitter Jordan Anderson has continued to produce for the Mountaineers. Her 36 kills against TCU (10/11) are more than any other Big 12 attacker has racked up this year. She ranks first in the Big 12 in both points (5.34) and kills (4.85) per set. Last season she was named to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team and was All-Big 12 Honorable Mention. Her 4.85 kill average is more than two kills higher than any of her teammates, while her 2.40 digs per set rank third on the team. Junior opposite hitter Nikki Attea leads the team with a .270 attack percentage.
Freshman setter Lamprini Konstantinidou commands the offense and ranks first in the Big 12 with 11.19 assists per set. Although she leads KU’s Ainise Havili (11.18 aps) in average, Havili has 760 assists to Konstantinidou’s 660.
HEAD COACH RAY BECHARD
On West Virginia’s continued improvement in the Big 12:
“I look at their roster and it’s the same team that we saw two years ago, so this team is maturing along with their eligibility and really getting so much better. They have put themselves in position to be right in the middle of the Big 12 hunt. It appears that everyone is trying to catch Texas, but after that it’s a wide open opportunity for us. I know they had a great win on Saturday (vs. TCU) and they’ll be a great challenge for us.”
On WVU going up two sets to none against Texas:
“They are for real. They’ll battle you and they will play hard. They’ve got the personality of their staff and you can tell that their staff has worked extremely hard. They played BYU really tough in their first match of the year, and that’s a top-10 team. Then they go up 2-0 against Texas and even though they didn’t finish, they are certainly capable of playing some high-level volleyball.”
On his former player, Sara Kidd, being an assistant coach at West Virginia:
“Sara Kidd is a former Jayhawk who is doing an outstanding job at West Virginia. It’s always great to see her when we get a chance to play West Virginia. We’re proud of all of those alumni that are out there and have decided to go into this noble profession.”
On the grind-it-out style of victory at Baylor:
“We were down 19-15 in the third and 21-18 in the fourth and had to go on a 7-1 run to finish the match. We had to make some plays to do that, it wasn’t just their errors – especially in the third set. Tiana Dockery served a tough ball and made a great dig. She and Sara (McClinton) put a ton of balls away, 35 kills between them, so that was huge. Now if we can continue to keep our pin players playing at that level, as well as bring our middles along, then we’d be in pretty good shape.”
On Ainise Havili:
“We need that double-double effort from her. I love her serving line with three errors and no errors. Plus, 56 assists in four sets was a good number. She was putting the ball in a good place and understood that Tiana and Sara were going – that’s good recognition by a setter.”
On the long trip to Morgantown:
“Fall break comes at a good time to take care of this trip. We travel on a day that we don’t have class, so we’re excited about that. Everyone’s got to go there so we need to go with the intention of competing like crazy and staying out there until we get the result that we want.”
Kansas comes home to host the TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday, Oct. 18, in the Jayhawks for a Cure match. First serve from the Horejsi Family Athletics Center is set for 1 p.m. Fans wearing pink can purchase tickets for $3 or tickets can also be purchased online for $3 by logging onto KUAthletics.com/promo and using the code ‘CURE.’
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