Fan Appreciation Match Set for Allen Fieldhouse
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A special, yet emotional Senior Day victory at home against Texas Tech closed the book on No. 21 Kansas volleyball’s season inside the Horejsi Family Athletics Center, paving the way for the Jayhawks to host the Denver Pioneers in historic Allen Fieldhouse, Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
AROUND THE GYM
- Fan Appreciation Day: To show its gratitude for the support shown by the Kansas volleyball community, the team is inviting all fans to attend Tuesday’s match free of charge.
vs. Denver (KU leads, 1-0): Kansas and Denver have met only once previously, as part of the Jayhawk Classic on Sept. 11, 2004. KU took care of the Pioneers in three sets.
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.
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (formerly Metro Sports), will televise the Tuesday night 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.
- From 1975-98, Allen Fieldhouse served as the home for Jayhawk volleyball. The 1998 season, head coach Ray Bechard’s first at KU, marked the final year the Jayhawks played in the Fieldhouse. Kansas moved to the Horejsi Family Athletics Center in 1999.
- Kansas played a non-conference match against Saint Louis (11/12/12) a year ago prior to hosting the NCAA First and Second Rounds (11/30-12/1/12). Prior to that, KU had distanced itself from its former home – having not played in AFH since Oct. 15, 1999.
- In the last two seasons, KU has fared well in non-conference action. While the Jayhawks are already an impressive 48-13 overall in that span, they are an impressive 23-5 in regular-season non-conference matches.
- With one more conference match remaining (at Oklahoma, 11/30), KU is currently 12-3 in the Big 12, good for a half-game lead over Iowa State for second place. Iowa State plays at Kansas State and home vs. Texas this week.
- For the fifth-straight week, KU has moved up in the AVCA Top-25 Poll. This week Kansas is ranked No. 21 (11/25), marking the seventh week Kansas has been on the national poll this season.
- Kansas moved to No. 12 in the RPI this week (11/25), down one from No. 11 last week. Iowa State now at No. 22, Texas Tech at No. 213.
- Senior setter Erin McNorton leads the Big 12 for the 13th-straight week with 12.11 assists per set. The Dallas native is also the fifth-best setter in the NCAA.
- Kansas ranks in the top-25 in the NCAA in kills (14.49, 13th NCAA), assists (13.58, 13th NCAA) and hitting percentage (.264, 23rd NCAA). Additionally, KU’s 2.66 blocks per set is 34th-best in the country.
THANK YOU FANS
Speculation as to why Tuesday’s match was moved to Allen Fieldhouse revolves around Kansas’ potential to be selected as a host site for the NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds (Dec. 6-7). While Kansas does qualify on the AVCA “Watch List” for NCAA host sites, head coach Ray Bechard changed venues to extend the opportunity to thank fans through a free admission match. Kansas has sold out the Horejsi Family Athletics Center three times this season and averages 1,145 fans per home match. A year ago, Kansas finished the season ranked 29th in the NCAA in attendance and welcomed more than 3,200 fans to the free admission non-conference match against Saint Louis (11/12/12).
If the season ended today, Kansas’ .264 attack percentage would handily beat the current program record (.246, 2003). The Jayhawks rank second in the Big 12 Conference behind defending national champion and current No. 1 Texas (.289).
Freshman middle blocker Tayler Soucie led the team with six blocks against Texas Tech (11/23), breaking the Kansas record for the most blocks by a Jayhawk in a debut season (119). Soucie passed current teammate and mentor, redshirt senior Caroline Jarmoc (115), to obtain the record.
HOW SWEEP IT IS
Since conference play began, Kansas has racked up six three-set wins, including its most recent against Texas Tech (11/23). This season, KU has accumulated 11 sweeps – second only to Iowa State (12). More impressively, the Jayhawks are the only team in the Big 12 that has not been swept this season and haven’t been since Oct. 12, 2012 (at No. 9 Texas) – a span of 41 matches.
SHE’S GONNA JUMP
With two regular season matches remaining on the schedule, senior setter Erin McNorton may not reach her 1,443 assist mark that landed her third all-time on KU’s single-season record list in 2012. Nevertheless, expect the Dallas native to jump up the Jayhawk chart during the next week. Currently in ninth (1,284), McNorton could climb all the way to fourth with as few as 45 assists in the next two matches.
Meanwhile, fellow senior Caroline Jarmoc could do the same on KU’s kills leaderboard. Currently fifth all-time on the Jayhawks’ career kills list, Jarmoc could jump all the way to second if she can record 35 kills by the end of the season (Karina Garlington, 1,309, 2007-10).
Junior outside hitter Sara McClinton is on the verge of another career milestone. The second-fastest Jayhawk in program history to 800 career kills and the fastest to 900, McClinton is one point shy of 1,000 for her career. She joins redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc as the only active Jayhawks with more than 1,000 career points. Jarmoc ranks second (1,696.5) on the career record list behind KU’s all-time kills leader, Josi Lima (1,856.5).
SENIOR DAY SUCCESS
Kansas volleyball honored one of the most successful senior classes in program history at the conclusion of the Texas Tech match (11/23). Together, the veteran crew has racked up 80 wins, including a 48-13 record over the last two years, the best single-season winning percentage in program history (.788, 2012), the first – and potentially second – NCAA First and Second Round host site selections, back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since before any of these players were born (1982, 1983), the program’s first All-American, KU’s all-time blocks leader, all-time digs leader and the third-best setter in the nation.
Together, this crew collected the most home wins in a season in KU volleyball history (17, 2012) and have been ranked in the nation’s top-25 for 19 of the last 22 weeks. They ended 2012 with their highest-ever conference finish (third) and are looking to better that still in 2013 (currently second).
THE RACE IS ON
With two regular season matches remaining and postseason play a likely possibility, seniors Erin McNorton and Brianne Riley are racing to two very important milestones. McNorton is 144 assists away from 3,000 for her career, while Riley needs only 38 digs for the 2,000th of her career. The numbers seem lopsided, but in 2013 McNorton has averaged roughly 46 assists per contest, while Riley has come up with 17 digs per match. Only six liberos in Big 12 history have surpassed the 2,000-dig barrier.
ON YOUR MARK, GET SET
Kansas leads the conference with 74 set victories in 2013 and has the third-fewest set losses (32). Only Texas (21) and Iowa State (31) have lost fewer sets this year.
Senior setter Erin McNorton (1,284) leads all Big 12 setters by at least 175 assists – and has amassed more assists than six Big 12 squads have chalked up as a team. McNorton is the sixth player in KU history to collect 2,800 assists (2,856), despite the fact that she has started only 61 matches in her career.
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 and ranks second in the Big 12 in blocking, all while holding down a 3.24 GPA in chemical engineering. She joins Texas’ Bailey Webster as the only Big 12 representatives on the prestigious list. Fans can vote until Dec. 9 at SeniorClassAward.com.
The American Volleyball Coaches Association named Kansas to the AVCA “watch list” as a potential host for the First and Second 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: 21)
· Teams that are in the top 25 of the Pablo Rankings as of October 28, 2013. (KU: 19)
· Teams that are in the top 25 of the RPI Rankings as of October 28, 2013. (KU: 12)
SCOUTING DENVER (17-12 Overall, 10-4 The Summit League)
Led by second-year head coach Jesse Mahoney, Denver will close the 2013 regular season in Lawrence. The Pioneers won their way to the Summit League Championship match on Sunday, before falling to top-seeded IUPUI, who claimed the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. A scrappy team, Denver was nearly knocked out of the conference championship as the team faced an 0-2 deficit in the semifinals against South Dakota. Led by five different players in double-digit kills, Denver roared back to win in five sets and advance to the championship, where the Pioneers fell in three sets.
Freshman outside hitter Moni Corrujedo leads the Pioneers with 310 kills. Returning All-WAC First Team member, senior Colleen King, led the team with 3.24 kills per set before being done for the season with an injury. Freshman Nola Basey is third on the team with 257 kills and is second on the team with 270 digs.
The Pioneers boast the two best individual hitting percentages in the league with senior middle blocker Brea Muhle hitting .454, while sophomore middle blocker Sarah Schmid comes in hitting .352. Muhle ranks among the nation’s best in hitting percentage, coming in at sixth prior to the weekend. Heading into The Summit League Championship, Denver ranked 18th in Division I in hitting percentage at a .269 clip.
Defensively, junior libero Kate Acker is second in digs per set (3.94) in The Summit League. Schmid and Muhle take care of the front line, averaging 0.97 and 0.95 blocks, respectively.
HEAD COACH RAY BECHARD
“They took on a very aggressive pre-conference schedule. I’m looking at matches against Colorado State, who was undefeated and they took a game there. They played Creighton, who was a team that beat us in four sets, they went five with them. They played UCLA, Cal State Northridge. I think all four of those teams are NCAA Tournament teams (this year). Their record is a little bit misleading – and it’s still a solid record at 17-12 – but those four teams make up an extremely difficult pre-conference schedule and then they go 10-4 in their league (The Summit League). It’s a good league and then they get all the way to the championship match in their conference tournament. (Head coach) Jesse (Mahoney) has done a great job. He’ll have that program even more on its way very soon. It’s already good this year, and they’re just going to continue to get better in years to come.”
On being refreshing or challenging to introduce a new non-conference opponent so late in the season:
“I think it’s a little bit of both. It was good last night (Sunday) to start watching video. It’s all new personnel and a new system. Maybe a shot of newness will be a good deal, because now we’ve really got to focus on certain things that this team does. They do a number of things well.”
On Senior Day being behind them and refocusing moving forward:
“It might be that the timing of it was good. We still have two matches left in the regular season and we can really focus on those opponents because they will need our full attention. We’re not going to forget the events of Senior Day, but I think it will be a little easier to focus on the job at hand now versus Saturday. There were a lot of different things going on Saturday and I think our team managed those pretty well. Overall, the day was very good, but now we can focus more on the volleyball side of it.”
On moving to Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday:
“Hopefully we’ll get more than 1,300, which means we’d be getting more people in there than would normally get to see us play (in the Horejsi Family Athletics Center). I think our girls are excited to play in the Fieldhouse. It’ll be fun.”
Kansas will hit the road for the last time in the regular season when the Jayhawks travel to Norman, Okla., for a Nov. 30 meeting with the Oklahoma Sooners. The match is slated for 7 p.m. KU will then learn its postseason fate on Sunday, Nov. 1 when the NCAA Selection Show airs on ESPNU at 8:30 p.m. CT.
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