Kansas Welcomes Back Alumni for Texas Tech
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Ready to respond to a tough loss on the road, Kansas volleyball returns home to host the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Horejsi Family Athletics Center during its Alumni Weekend, Saturday at 1 p.m.
vs. Texas Tech (KU leads, 21-16): Kansas holds a 21-16 all-time margin in a series that dates back to 1982, but the Jayhawks have had solid control in recent years. KU has won seven-straight meetings with the Red Raiders, including four-consecutive sweeps. In Lawrence, KU has the 12-6 edge, while the series is tied in Lubbock with nine wins apiece.
FOLLOW THE JAYHAWKS
The KU-TTU match will air on the Time Warner Cable SportsChannel with Leif Lisec and former Kansas volleyball standout Jill (Dorsey) Hall providing the analysis. Fans can listen to radio play-by-play on KUAthletics.com, found under the Fan Central tab. Adam Drovetta will have the call. The match will also be available on ESPN3.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 1,004-283.
- A loss at Iowa State (10/22) prevented the Jayhawks from gaining ground in the conference standings, Kansas now enters the weekend in a four-way tie for fourth – a tie that includes Texas Tech.
- Kansas jumped from No. 20 in the RPI to No. 18 in the latest NCAA RPI projections (10/20). 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, 1-6 vs. top-50 and 8-6 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).
- KU has already tied its conference-loss total from the past two seasons. The Jayhawks finished 12-4 in 2012 (third) and 2013 (second).
- For the second-straight week, freshman setter Ainise Havili leads the Big 12 in assists (897) and in assists per set (11.21), both of which rank in the top-20 nationally.
- Entering the weekend, sophomore libero Cassie Wait paces the conference with 381 digs and ranks third with 4.76 digs per set. Each stat checks in among the top-45 in the NCAA.
- Senior outside hitter Chelsea Albers ranks in the top-10 in the conference in kills (3.08) and points (3.55) per set. A jack of all trades, Albers is third on the team in digs (2.40) and fourth in blocks (0.81).
- Three of KU’s middle blockers rank in the top-five in attack percentage in the Big 12. Freshman Kayla Cheadle is second (.369), freshman Kelsie Payne is fourth (.352) and sophomore Tayler Soucie is fifth (.348).
After the Iowa State loss (10/22), the Jayhawks are a chilly 0-4 in five-set matches this season. Since the Big 12 was formed in 1996, Kansas has never lost four-straight five-set matches. In that span, only once did the Jayhawks go an entire season without winning a single full-length match (0-3; 2001).
Freshman setter Ainise Havili is mowing through her first season as the Jayhawks’ floor general. With 897 assists, Havili has a solid chance of moving into fourth place in KU history for assists by a freshman as she needs just 27 to pass Lesli Steinert (923; 1992). She is currently averaging 42.7 assists per match, putting her on pace to take over the most assists by a KU rookie (Katie Martincich, 2006, 1,193).
For the first time in her young career, freshman middle blocker Kelsie Payne led the Jayhawks on offense. Her 13 kills at Iowa State (10/22) were a career-high and she trails only Texas’ senior middle Khat Bell (.399) in attack percentage in conference play with her .381 hitting efficiency.
Iowa State junior libero Caitlin Nolan played a major factor in the Cyclones’ victory (10/22). Her 43 digs against the Jayhawks brought up a familiar name as the only other Big 12 player to record 43 digs in a match was KU’s all-time digs leader Brianne Riley (at Oklahoma; 10/10/12).
For the first time in program history – and just the third time for the conference – Kansas swept the Big 12 Player of the Week awards. Tayler Soucie (offensive), Cassie Wait (defensive) and Ainise Havili (rookie) were each awarded for their league-leading weeks on Oct. 20. Since the inception of the Rookie of the Week honor in 2008, only three other times has one school swept all three awards (Nebraska, Oct. 27, 2008; Iowa State, Nov. 16, 2009; and Missouri, Sept. 7, 2010). Just five times has Kansas won multiple awards in the same week, and three of those came last year.
PLAYERS OF WEEK
The weekly award sweep gives KU five total recognitions this season. A year ago, the Jayhawks tallied 11 Big 12 weekly awards, which tied for the fifth-most by one team in a single-season in league history. Seven different Jayhawks were weekly award recipients. The seven awards by a different player is a league record. Texas had six different players collect honors in 2008.
Sept. 22 – Madison Rigdon (Offensive)
Oct. 13 – Ainise Havili (Rookie)
Oct. 20 – Tayler Soucie (Offensive)
Oct. 20 – Cassie Wait (Defensive)
Oct. 20 – Ainise Havili (Rookie)
Kansas chalked up its 17th and 18th double-doubles of the season at Iowa State (10/22). Junior outside hitter Tiana Dockery tallied her second of the year with 12 kills and 10 digs. Freshman setter Ainise Havili owns the Jayhawks double-double game, racking up her 11th at ISU (45 assists/11 digs). Senior outside hitter Chelsea Albers has been the team leader in the stat, but now only leads Havili by one (12) in her entire four-year career.
BATTLE IN THE BACK
Kansas sophomore Cassie Wait was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week (10/20) and leads the Big 12 with 381 digs entering the weekend. Texas Tech junior libero Rachel Brummitt has twice been named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week this year and is right behind Wait with 375 digs. Average-wise, Brummitt ranks second in the league with 5.14 and Wait is right behind her at 4.76.
SCOUTING TEXAS TECH (15-4, 3-4 Big 12 Conference)
Texas Tech is led by head coach Don Flora, now in his fourth season with the Red Raiders. Flora began the 2014 season by guiding the Red Raiders to 13-straight wins, surpassing their 2013 win total before eventually taking their first loss to conference-foe West Virginia. Flora has also eclipsed the 300-career win mark, which puts him with the likes of Ray Bechard (Kansas), Jerritt Elliott (Texas), Jim Barnes (Baylor) and Santiago Restrepo (Oklahoma).
Senior libero Rachel Brummitt has been a defensive force on the back row, racking up 5.14 digs per set and ranking second in the conference. Last season, she became just the second Red Raider to earn an All-Big 12 selection since 2004.
Now in amidst her senior season, outside hitter Breeann David has continued as an offensive force for the Red Raiders. David leads the team in kills per set (3.21), which ranks sixth in the Big 12. Her 3.08 average in conference play has her ranked eighth among her Big 12 counterparts. David was named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team a year ago. Junior outside hitter Jenna Allen is the only Red Raider with more than 200 kills (222) and averages 3.08 kills per set.
Expect two setters to distribute the offense as sophomore Marguerite Grubb and junior Emily Reutter average more than nine assists per set.
HEAD COACH RAY BECHARD
On bouncing back from the Iowa State match:
“We’ve got another good team ahead of us on Saturday, who is having their best season in many, many years. They just came off a great win last Saturday against Iowa State and they’re in the mix and trying to get from the middle of the pack to the upper half. That’s got to be our goal over these next few matches, too. there are a ton of teams tied for fourth right now and we can separate ourselves from those teams a little bit, but I’m sure that’s what each of those teams wants to do, too.”
On the positive takeaways from Iowa State:
“We started well, faded in the middle and finished strong. I thought the fourth set was extremely competitive on both sides and the fifth set was competitive as well, but when you put yourself in set then you set yourself for a break or two not going your way. They made a few more plays at the end of that match than we did.”
On welcoming the alumni back to the Horejsi Family Athletics Center:
“We’ll have some alumni back – I know Ashley (Bechard) Henkelman will be one of them. Each of them have contributed to this program’s success and hopefully they can see what kind of progress this team has made. Saturday’s match ends the first half of the Big 12 Conference season, and after getting off to an 0-3 start, to win four of five after that might be a passing grade for us. We’ll have to obviously play well for an extended period of time in order for that to happen.”
On playing in a conference in which any team can be anywhere in the standings:
“We’ve got plenty of opportunities ahead of us. If we keep winning, we’ll be in the top-half or top-third in our league. That’s where we want to be. Our next three or four matches are directly against those teams that are in the same area (of the standings) that we are. So we’ll have our full attention ready for Tech and I expect our team to play very well on Saturday.”
Kansas will travel to Forth Worth to close the season series with TCU. The Jayhawks swept the Horned Frogs in their previous meeting this season (10/18). First serve on Saturday is set for 1 p.m.
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