LAWRENCE, Kan. – Redshirt senior Catherine Carmichael led all attackers with 11 kills as the Crimson team defeated the Blue team, 2-1, in three sets, 18-25, 25-21, 25-19, in the team's annual intrasquad scrimmage Saturday afternoon inside Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
Two weeks of two-a-day preseason camp saw a well-worn, but excited, group of Jayhawks take the court in front of fans for the first time in 2013. With all players seeing playing time for both sides during the scrimmage, fellow redshirt senior Caroline Jarmoc turned in a well-rounded effort with nine kills and three blocks.
The offensive attack was facilitated by senior Erin McNorton, who finished the exhibition outing with 34 assists. Defensively, senior defensive specialist Jaime Mathieu protected the back row with 18 total digs and freshman middle blocker Tayler Soucie secured the net with five total blocks.
"I was very pleased with our defense and some of our defensive coverages," Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. "I thought there was good energy out there. Obviously, we had some players playing positions that they don't normally play, but they adapted well so I thought it was good to get our group out there in front of a little bit of a crowd, official line judge and referees – I thought we responded well."
To open up the first set, the Crimson team used two different 3-0 runs to build an early, 7-2, lead. The Blue team would battle back to tie the score at 10. The teams traded points until the Blue team delivered four-straight scores to take the lead, 16-13. The Blue team held the lead for the remainder of the set with the help of a 5-0 run to extend its lead, 23-17, before eventually closing out the set, 25-19. Carmichael led the Blue team attack and finished the set with five kills on nine attempts for a .444 hitting percentage. McNorton dished out the offense for Blue's side and finished the set with 11 assists. Mathieu led the Blue defense and finished the set with eight digs.
After losing the first point of the set, the Crimson team began to find its groove and used a 3-0 run to help build an early, 9-5, lead. Extending the lead with another 3-0 run, which included back-to-back kills from Jarmoc, Crimson took an 18-11 lead and forced the Blue team to call a timeout. The Blue team responded out of the break and answered with four-straight points, including an ace from Mathieu, to cut the deficit to three, 18-15.
The Blue team rally wouldn't be enough and the Crimson would eventually take the set, 25-21. Jarmoc led the Crimson offense with seven kills on 13 attempts for a .385 hitting percentage and anchored the defense with two blocks. McNorton continued to set the tone for the offense and finished the set with 12 assists.
With the score knotted at three early in the third set, the Crimson team went on a 3-0 run capped off by an ace from junior outside hitter Chelsea Albers to give them a 6-3 lead. The Crimson team built its lead to as many as six, 19-13, before the Blue team would take the first timeout of the set. The Crimson team maintained its dominance out of the timeout and close out the set, 25-19. Albers led the Crimson attack with four kills.
Prior to the action, the Jayhawks unveiled a new addition to the Horejsi Family Athletics Center. The team shared the experience of hanging the program's fourth NCAA banner prior to first serve. The team wanted to share it with the fans that supported them last year and every year. In 2012, KU finished the season ranked 29th in the NCAA in attendance (1,366 per match).
Kansas officially opens the season on Friday, Aug. 30 against Central Arkansas at 1 p.m. in the first match of the Arizona Invitational in Tucson, Ariz. Kicking off the year with a bang, the Sugar Bears were one of seven teams in the NCAA to surpass the 30-win mark last season.