No. 24 Kansas Welcomes West Virginia
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Back in the national rankings and armed with two-straight wins, No. 24 Kansas will play host to the West Virginia Mountaineers inside the Horejsi Family Athletics Center, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
AROUND THE GYM
- #PointKU Night: $3 admission with proof of following @KUVolleyball on Twitter or Kansas Volleyball on Facebook
- Family Night: Two adult GA, two youth GA, four drinks, two medium popcorn: $30
- Faculty Free Midweek Match: All KU faculty/staff/state employees free with valid ID
- Teal Ribbons: Members of the Volleyball team will wear teal ribbons honoring victims of Sexual Assault. For more information, visit kcsdv.org.
vs. West Virginia (KU leads, 5-0): In five previous meetings, Kansas has gotten the best of West Virginia, although only one of those matches led to a Jayhawk sweep (10/29/12). WVU faced KU once in 1999 and again in 2000 before the Mountaineers joined the conference for the 2012 season. WVU nearly took a 2-0 lead in its most recent meeting with KU (10/19/13), after winning the first set and having KU down 24-21 in set two – until Kansas stormed back to win the second, third and fourth sets on the road.
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.
The new-look, same-channel Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (formerly Metro Sports), will televise Wednesday night’s contest. Fans outside of Kansas can access the TV stream by going to ESPN3.com or visiting KUAthletics.com/ESPN. Leif Lisec and former Kansas volleyball player Jill Dorsey-Hall will provide the 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 has started the second half of the Big 12 Conference season with back-to-back wins against Baylor and at TCU to remain in a tie with Iowa State for second place in the Big 12.
- KU returned to this week’s AVCA Top-25 Poll (11/4), marking the fourth week Kansas has been on the national poll this season.
- The Jayhawks moved to No. 17 on the latest NCAA RPI projections (11/4), which puts KU in the NCAA RPI’s top-20 every week of the last two seasons.
- Freshman middle blocker Tayler Soucie was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week (11/4), the 10th weekly honor for a Jayhawk this season.
- Six different Jayhawks rank in the top-10 in six different Big 12 statistical categories – highlighted by the conference’s best setter in senior Erin McNorton.
- Redshirt senior Caroline Jarmoc is a finalist for the Senior CLASS award. She joins Texas’ Bailey Webster as the only Big 12 representatives on the prestigious list. Fans can vote until Dec. 9 at SeniorClassAward.com.
- McNorton leads the Big 12 for the 10th-straight week with 12.26 assists per set. Only two setters in the country average more assists per set than McNorton: Caitlin Dotson, Lipscomb (12.76) and Molly Kreklow, Missouri (12.66).
- KU is the only team in the Big 12 with three players in the top-10 in both blocks and points per set. Jarmoc and junior outside hitter Chelsea Albers are on both top-10 lists. Junior outside hitter Sara McClinton checks in on both the kills and points per set list, while Soucie is in the top-10 for hitting percentage and blocks.
- Jarmoc leads the KU individual rankings as she appears on four of the Big 12’s top-10 lists: blocks per set (1.27, 2nd), points per set (4.10, 4th), hitting percentage (.319, 6th) and kills per set (3.18, 7th).
- Kansas ranks in the top-30 in the NCAA in kills (14.57, 10th NCAA), assists (13.62, 12th NCAA), hitting percentage (.263, 22nd NCAA) and blocks (2.70, 27th NCAA). The Jayhawks also lead the conference in each of those categories, minus attack percentage – which KU’s rank second.
The American Volleyball Coaches Association named Kansas to the AVCA “watch list” as a potential host for the 1st and 2nd rounds of the NCAA Championship Tournament.
Kansas currently meets all three of the criteria needed to be considered:
- Teams that are in the AVCA Top 25 poll as of October 28, 2013. (KU: 24) OR
- Teams that are in the top 25 of the Pablo Rankings as of October 28, 2013. (KU: 25) OR
- Teams that are in the top 25 of the RPI Rankings as of October 28, 2013. (KU: 17)
RETURN TO RANKINGS
A one-week hiatus is all that kept Kansas out of the AVCA Top-25 Coaches Poll as the Jayhawks checked back in at No. 24 on the latest poll release (11/4). The Jayhawks started the season in the preseason top-25 after ending 2012 on the poll for nine-straight weeks. KU has either been in the top-25 or receiving votes in 18 of the last 21 polls.
The NCAA moved Kansas to No. 17 in its latest RPI release (11/4). The Jayhawks have been in the RPI’s top-20 for the last two seasons. In 2013, only four teams have more top-100 RPI wins than KU’s 14: USC (16), Penn State (15), Florida (15) and Texas (15). Kansas has wins against Wisconsin (No. 13), Oklahoma (No. 19), Arizona (No. 27), Georgia (No. 31) and Arkansas (No. 34).
Redshirt senior All-American Caroline Jarmoc earned one of the final 10 candidate spots to be considered for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate volleyball. The prestigious award selects senior student-athletes based on the following categories: community, classroom, character and competition. Jarmoc, the first All-American in KU volleyball history, broke the Kansas blocking record this year, ranks second in the Big 12 in blocking all while holding down a 3.24 GPA in chemical engineering.
Freshman middle blocker Tayler Soucie was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week on Nov. 4. Her three weekly conference awards in a season is a KU record, while the seven different Jayhawks that have earned a Player of the Week award is a conference record. Kansas passed Texas, who saw six different players awarded in 2008.
Sept. 9 – Caroline Jarmoc (Defensive)
Sept. 16 – Brianne Riley (Defensive)
Sept. 23 – Erin McNorton (Offensive); Tayler Soucie (Rookie)
Sept. 30 – Tiana Dockery (Offensive); Caroline Jarmoc (Defensive)
Oct. 7 – Sara McClinton (Offensive); Tayler Soucie (Defensive)
Oct. 21 – Chelsea Albers (Defensive)
Nov. 4 – Tayler Soucie (Rookie)
Redshirt freshman setter Maggie Anderson has a service ace in each of KU’s last four matches – only redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc has posted a streak that long this season.
Junior outside hitter Chelsea Albers is one dig away from the first 200-kill/200-dig season of her career as she enters Wednesday’s match with 228 kills and 198 digs. Albers was a rookie the last time a Jayhawk accomplished that feat (Allison Mayfield, 2011).
REMEMBER THE COLISEUM
Making her first start since Sept. 10, redshirt senior Catherine Carmichael led a gutsy comeback effort against West Virginia at the WVU Coliseum (10/19). In the first set alone, Carmichael racked up nine kills and only one error – but couldn’t keep Kansas from dropping the first set. In danger of falling behind two sets to none on the road, Carmichael knocked down two of the final three points when KU came back from a 24-21 deficit to down the Mountaineers in the second set. She went on to finish the night one shy of her career-high with 18 kills and tied her career-high in digs (6) as KU took sets three and four for the road win.
DOESN’T HAPPEN EVERYDAY
This week’s Big 12 statistic ranking has a team other than Kansas at the top of the list for the first time this season. The Jayhawks (2.70) rank third this week behind Kansas State (2.76) and Texas (2.72).
ON YOUR MARK, GET SET
Only three teams in the Big 12 have played fewer matches than the Jayhawks, but Kansas leads the conference with 61 set victories in 2013 and has the third-fewest set losses (27). Only Texas (20) and Iowa State (26) have lost fewer sets this year.
UNDER THE LIGHTS
Kansas is not new to playing on TV, especially after Kansas Athletics’ agreement to broadcast all home matches on ESPN3.com this season – but Wednesday’s match against Baylor marked the first time that the Jayhawks welcomed national TV to the Horejsi Family Athletics Center. ESPNU aired the match in a doubleheader format with Iowa State vs. Texas Tech following. KU is 6-2 when playing on TV this season.
SCOUTING WEST VIRGINIA (17-8 Overall, 3-6 Big 12)
Led by fourth-year head coach Jill Kramer, league newcomer West Virginia was voted to finish ninth in the 2013 Big 12 Preseason Poll. Kramer, however, has her team tied with Kansas State for fifth in the conference standings . The Mountaineers started the season with 10-straight wins, knocking off teams such as Eastern Illinois, Loyola (IL) and Toledo. Ready to prove themselves in Big 12 play, as well, the Mountaineers opened league action with a four-set win against Kansas State and followed that with a win at Texas Tech. The loss to Kansas (10/19) sparked a four-match losing streak, but WVU completed the season sweep of Texas Tech last Saturday.
While West Virginia continues to search for its offensive rhythm, hitting .203 as a team, the Mountaineers are holding their opponents to .175 – second only to Kansas (.173) in the Big 12. WVU also fields a young set of starters, with only one senior (Elzbieta Klein) registering more than a handful of sets played this season. Freshman outside hitter Jordan Anderson has led the Big 12 all season long with an impressive 4.03 kills per set and ranks second on the team with a 2.70 dig average. Next in line are sophomores Hannah Sackett and Nikki Attea, who churn out 2.86 and 2.54 kills per set, respectively. Spreading the offense around is starting setter, and sophomore, Brittany Sample, who averages 10.56 assists per set.
On the defensive side, West Virginia ranks fifth in the league with 2.41 blocks per set and junior middle blocker Evyn McCoy checks in at fifth as well with a 1.20 blocking average. Sophomore libero Anna Panagiotakopoulos ranks right behind KU’s Brianne Riley as fourth in the Big 12 with 4.15 digs per set. As a team, WVU checks in at fifth in digs (14.81), behind KU’s 15.68 in fourth.
HEAD COACH RAY BECHARD
On West Virginia’s five-set win against Texas Tech:
“It looks like they had great balance; four attackers in double digit kills. The thing that is intriguing about the entire league is this is typically the time of year where teams kind of hit the wall when things aren’t going as well as they would like to. We’ve got a little separation in divisions in the upper-half and lower-half, but as we found out at TCU, West Virginia, Baylor all of those teams continue to fight extremely hard and continue to get better. At a time of the year where some teams could be leveling off, that’s not the case. West Virginia continues to get better and, obviously, they’ve made the biggest jump of anybody in the league from where they were last year and how they’re competing. We would expect to see that same level of competitiveness on Wednesday night.”
On West Virginia’s season compared to last year:
“I think that’s a reflection of the job their staff is doing. I know everybody in the league is taking notice of what the Mountaineers are doing. This is the point in time for us that we have to continue to focus on each and every opponent in front of us, we still have a lot of goals in front of us and this is a month where you can obviously help yourself realize a lot of those goals.”
On the young West Virginia team growing over the next few seasons:
“They have gone through their growing phase. They got knocked out a little bit last year and they got up and brushed themselves off and said, ‘hey we’re here and we’re here to stay and we’re going to be here for a long time,’ and they are the group that’s going to put West Virginia on the map and make them relevant in our league. They’ve already done that this year and they continue to improve on that. I would say they will look back on this year, I know it’s not completed yet and they have a lot of work to do, but I’m sure they’re looking back on this year already and saying, ‘this is the year we made a big jump forward and became extremely relevant in the league’.”
On the variety of different KU outside hitters stepping up:
“We’ve had all of them play at a high level at some point. Obviously, we want to get more consistency out of that position, but as teams key on certain people other people have opportunities. Cathy (Catherine Carmichael) had a good outing on Saturday, (Sara) McClinton’s carried us, (Tiana) Dockery’s carried us and Chelsea (Albers) has carried us. We want to get all four of them playing at a high level at the same time. The fact that we can get three of those four going, or two of those three on the left side and help pick each other up is the main objective right now.”
On freshman middle blocker Tayler Soucie:
“(Tayler) Soucie’s a little ahead of the curve, she’s erring at 10 percent, which is very low for a freshman. She’s hitting for a pretty good number, blocking for a pretty good number. The thing that is the most satisfying right now is that she just wants to be out there competing and she wants the ball in a big moment. She’ll take the same swing on a match point as she will early in the match and that’s an aggressive, ‘Hey I’m going to score’ kind of swing. Those are things that usually develop in time and, with her, she’s really kind of hit the ground running in that regard. We knew that she’d compete hard and help us, but I think hitting .350 and blocking 1.25 are really solid numbers for anybody – let alone a freshman.”
Kansas will hit the road to take on the defending National Champion Texas Longhorns on their home court. First serve on Saturday, Nov. 9, is set for 2 p.m.
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