No. 9 Kansas Faces No. 25 Missouri for Sweet 16 Spot
|No. 9 Kanas vs. No. 25 Missouri
Horejsi Family Athletics Center
Friday, Dec. 4, 2015
6:30 p.m. CT
The Border War resumes for the first time on the volleyball court since 2011, when No. 9 Kansas and No. 25 Missouri face in the second rounds of the NCAA Championship at Horejsi Family Athletics Center (6:30 p.m., ESPN3). The winner advances to Regionals in San Diego, California, Dec. 11-12.
• KANSAS IN THE NCAAs: No. 9 Kansas is playing for its second appearance in the NCAA Championship round of 16 (2013). KU enters Friday’s action with a 6-6 record in seven postseason appearances. The Jayhawks hold a 3-2 record when hosting an NCAA Championship match.
• KANSAS-MISSOURI SERIES: Kansas and Missouri meet for the first time since 2011 in the second rounds of the NCAA tournament. Missouri leads the all-time series, 51-34. The last time the bordering schools met, Missouri edged KU in a Big 12 Conference match at Horejsi Family Athletics Center, 3-1 (26-24, 25-23, 23-25, 25-19). Missouri leads KU in matches played in Lawrence, 18-17.
• FIRST ROUND LEFTOVERS: Kansas improved to 5-2 in the first round of NCAA tournament play with a sweep over Furman on Thursday night, 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-17). Thursday’s victory marked KU’s 100th win in the last four seasons; since 2012 KU is 100-26. Kansas set postseason program records for hitting percentage (.364) and aces (11) against the Paladins. Sophomore right-side hitter Kelsie Payne led Kansas with 13 kills on a .423 hitting percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Madison Rigdon posted a career-high four aces.
• ELITE HOSTS: The Jayhawks are among seven elite programs to host the first and second rounds of the tournament in the last four seasons, joining Stanford, Penn State, Nebraska, Texas, Washington, and Florida.
• SAN DIEGO REGION: Teams in the San Diego Region that win their first and second round matches will advance to compete at Jenny Craig Pavilion, Dec. 11-12. Seeded teams in the San Diego Region include No. 1 Southern California, No. 8 Stanford, No. 9 Kansas, and No. 16 Creighton. KU’s lone appearance in an NCAA regional was in 2013 (Los Angeles).
• FOURTH TIME FOR DOCKERY: Senior Tiana Dockery officially became the first Jayhawk to compete in an NCAA postseason match during all four years of her collegiate career on Thursday.
• CLASS OF THE BIG 12: Kansas earned six Big 12 postseason honors, including Ray Bechard as Big 12 Coach of the Year and Ainise Havili as Big 12 Setter of the Year, the Conference announced on Tuesday. Three Jayhawks were named to All-Big 12 First Team: Havili, sophomore right-side hitter Kelsie Payne, and junior middle blocker Tayler Soucie. Sophomore outside hitter Madison Rigdon was named All-Big 12 Second Team. Havili and Payne are two of seven unanimous first-team selections. Havili is the second Jayhawk to win the Setter of the Year honor with Bechard collecting Coach of the Year for the third time in the last four years.
• TOP 10: Kansas remained at No. 9 in this week’s AVCA Coaches Poll released on Monday. The Jayhawks have been ranked in the top-25 for a program-record 13-consecutive weeks, including nine-consecutive weeks in the top-10. KU reached a program-high No. 7 ranking on Oct. 19. In the latest NCAA RPI rankings, also released on Monday, KU is ranked No. 9.
• FIVE-STRAIGHT WEEKLY AWARDS: Juniorlibero Cassie Wait was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Monday to give Kansas its fifth consecutive Big 12 weekly honor after sophomore right-side hitter Kelsie Payne earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week for three-consecutive weeks. KU totals
• HAVILI SETS THE PACE: Sophomore setter Ainise Havili became the Big 12 Setter of the Year as the heart of one of the nation’s most powerful offenses. Havili, who enters Friday with 11 double-doubles and ranking second in the nation in assists per set (12.3), led Kansas to top-5 NCAA rankings in hitting percentage (3rd; .313) and kills per set (2nd; 15.4). KU’s hitting percentage clip is the highest in program history by nearly 60 percentage points, besting 2013’s hitting percentage of .254.
• PAYNE TRAIN: Sophomore right-side hitter Kelsie Payne ended the regular-season leading the Big 12 in kills per set (4.3) and ranking second in hitting percentage (.387). Payne is the only player in the nation to rank top-40 in the NCAA in both hitting percentage (31st) and kills per set (26th). The Austin, Texas, native is an All-Big 12 First Team honoree and a four-time Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week this season.
• FIRST-TEAM SOUCIE: All-Big 12 First Team performer Tayler Soucie is one of just five Big 12 players to repeat as a first-team selection this season. The junior middle blocker recorded 100 blocks for the third consecutive season, moving up to sixth on KU’s career blocks list as a junior (375). Soucie has nine matches with five or more blocks and enters Friday ranked fourth in the Big 12 in blocks per set (1.2).