LAWRENCE, Kan. – Playing the role of comeback kids at West Virginia to finish last week’s road trip undefeated, 22nd-ranked Kansas will stay home for a midweek meeting with Iowa State inside the Horejsi Family Athletics Center, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
AROUND THE GYM
- Fan Appreciation Night: $3 admission for fans wearing blue
- 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
- Postmatch Autographs
- Flag Giveaway: While supplies last
vs. Iowa State (ISU leads, 45-36-1): The Jayhawks look to have the advantage on Wednesday as they prepare to face an unranked Iowa State squad for the first time in since 2008. Iowa State, however, has held the upper hand as of late in the all-time series that dates back to 1975, winning seven of the last 10 meetings. KU’s five-set win over the No. 19 Cyclones last September sparked what went on to be the best Big 12 season in program history. In Lawrence, KU leads the series 18-14-1 (tied on 11/8/75). ISU holds a convincing edge at home, 26-7.
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 is looking to finish the first half of the Big 12 season with a 7-1 record for the second-straight season.
· Junior outside hitter Chelsea Albers was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week (10/21) – that marks the seventh different Jayhawk in 2013, a Big 12 record.
· The Jayhawks are ranked No. 22 on the latest AVCA Top-25 Coaches Poll (10/21), bumping up a spot from the previous week after two road wins at Texas Tech (10/16) and at West Virginia (10/19).
· Following suit, KU moved up to No. 10 on the latest NCAA RPI projections (10/21). Kansas has not been outside the RPI’s top-15 since 2011.
· The Big 12’s top-ranking blocker (freshman Tayler Soucie, 1.34 bps) and setter (senior Erin McNorton, 12.32 aps) both play for Kansas.
· KU is the only team in the Big 12 with three players in the top-10 in both blocks and points per set. Redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc and Albers are on both top-10 lists.
· Jarmoc appears on four of the Big 12’s top-10 lists: hitting percentage (.308, 9th), kills per set (3.18, 8th), points per set (4.12, 4th) and blocks per set (1.30, 3rd).
· Senior setter Erin McNorton leads the Big 12 for the eighth-straight week with 12.32 assists per set. Only two setters in the country average more assists than McNorton: Caitlin Dotson, Lipscomb (12.94) and Molly Kreklow, Missouri (12.43).
· Kansas moved into the top-15 in the NCAA in blocks (2.80, 14th NCAA), kills (14.46, 15th NCAA) and assists (13.58, 12th NCAA). The Jayhawks lead the conference in all three categories.
BIG 12 FIRST
Junior outside hitter Chelsea Albers was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 21 – making her the seventh different Jayhawk to earn the weekly honor for nine total awards in 2013. Kansas passed Texas, who saw six different players awarded in 2008, to set the new Big 12 record.
Earlier this year, Kansas became one of four Big 12 Conference teams with players that have earned the league’s Offensive Player of the Week nod in three-consecutive weeks (Sept. 23-Oct. 7). The span of three-straight weeks of offensive awards is only the eighth occurrence in Big 12 history.
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)
FIVE AND COUNTING
Redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc needs just five blocks to become the all-time career-blocking leader at Kansas. A record that has stood for nearly 15 years (current record holder: Amanda Reves, 514, 1996-99), Jarmoc became the second player in KU history to eclipse 500 career blocks. The countdown will likely not be a long one as Jarmoc chalked up five or more blocks in 11 different matches this season.
Speaking of redshirt senior Caroline Jarmoc, the KU middle blocker is two solo blocks shy of tying Amber Woolsey (Texas A&M, 1996-99) for second all-time on the Big 12 career list.
ON THE POLL
Kansas moved up to No. 22 on the latest AVCA Top-25 Coaches Poll (10/21). After upending USC on Saturday in PAC-12 play, Arizona broke onto the poll at No. 25. Kansas defeated the Wildcats at their place earlier this season. The Jayhawks also defeated No. 16 Wisconsin last month.
The NCAA moved Kansas up to No. 10 in its latest RPI release (10/21). Penn State, Florida and Texas are the only teams with more top-25 RPI wins (5) than KU (4). Washington also has four. USC is the only team with more top-100 wins (13) than KU (12). Missouri, Florida and Wisconsin also have 12. Most impressively, Kansas leads the nation with three road wins over top-25 teams and four in the top-40. With more than a month still remaining in the regular season, KU has wins against Wisconsin (No. 11), Oklahoma (No. 15), Arizona (No. 17), Arkansas (No. 23) and Georgia (No. 30).
RILEY vs. HAHN
The best of the Big 12’s back rows will square off on Wednesday in KU senior libero Brianne Riley and ISU senior libero Kristen Hahn. A 15-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week, Hahn leads the Big 12 with an astounding 5.63 digs per set, while Riley ranks third at 4.74 digs per set. More than just a conference highlight, Riley and Hahn compete on the national scene, as well. Riley ranks 16th in career digs among active players in the NCAA. The next closest Big 12 libero on the NCAA’s list is Hahn (1,637, 29th).
CARMICHAEL AND THE COMEBACK KIDS
Making her first start since Sept. 10, redshirt senior Catherine Carmichael led a gutsy comeback effort at West Virginia (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.
Senior setter Erin McNorton (936) leads all Big 12 setters by more than 100 assists. McNorton’s massive assist count surpasses every Big 12 team with the exception of her own (1,032) and Texas Tech (959). At West Virginia (10/19) McNorton became the sixth player in KU history to collect 2,500 assists, despite the fact that she has started only 53 matches in her career.
LAST TIME OUT: No. 22 Iowa State 3, No. 17 Kansas 1
Twenty-two times Kansas tied the score against Iowa State, but 14 kills from Sara McClinton couldn't power the Jayhawks past the Cyclones, at the Hilton Coliseum, 22-25, 21-25, 29-27, 23-25 (10/24/12).
The second half of the Big 12 Conference season resulted in a predicted battle between a pair of top-25 teams as Kansas fought off match point six times in the third set and once more in the fourth before falling to Iowa State. The Jayhawks' third set victory marked the first time KU took a frame in Ames since the 2004 season.
Reigning AVCA National Player of the Week, Caroline Jarmoc led a Jayhawk defense that out-blocked the Cyclones, 14-8. She finished with nine blocks and 13 kills. McClinton, who joined Jarmoc on this week's Big 12 weekly honoree list, led the team with 14 kills and added a pair of blocks.
WOWING THE LEAGUE
While Kansas already leads the Big 12 in blocks (2.80), kills (14.46) and assists (13.58) on the overall statistic rankings, the Jayhawks’ numbers in conference-only play are unreal. In Big 12-only matches, Kansas leads in: assists (14.21), kills (15.00) and blocks (3.04).
Individually, the Jayhawks are equally impressive. Junior outside hitter Sara McClinton leads the Big 12 in conference matches with 4.25 kills and 4.44 points per set. Senior setter Erin McNorton averages more than a full assist per set more than second place with her 12.83 mark. Meanwhile, redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc (1.46), freshman middle blocker Tayler Soucie (1.38) and junior outside hitter Chelsea Albers (1.29) rank second, third and fourth, respectively, in blocks per set.
SCOUTING IOWA STATE (10-6 Overall, 4-2 Big 12)
Under the direction of ninth-year head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch, Iowa State is one of only seven teams in the nation to advance to the regional semifinals five times since 2007. The Cyclones were voted to finish second in the 2013 Big 12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll, right in front of Kansas. Entering the week, it is Kansas that sits in second with a 6-1 conference mark, while Iowa State is tied with Oklahoma for third as both teams are 4-2 in league play. Although the Cyclones are receiving votes on the national poll, Wednesday will mark the first time KU has faced an unranked ISU team in the last eight meetings, dating back to 2008.
Sophomore right side Mackenzie Bigbee has picked up right where she left off after earning Big 12 Freshman of the Year status in 2012. She leads the team with 3.39 kills per set, good for seventh in the Big 12. Freshman outside hitter Ciara Capezio comes in second on the team with a 2.95 kill average, while digging 2.46 balls per set. Senior middle blocker Tenisha Matlock leads the starters with a .352 attack percentage, which checks in at fourth in the conference. The biggest adjustment the Cyclones have faced in 2013 is filling the void left by two-time All-American setter Allison Landwehr’s departure. Sophomore Jenelle Hudson is learning the ropes, averaging 11.39 assists per set, ranking second only to KU’s Erin McNorton (12.32).
Defense at the net marks the only area the Jayhawks may have the clear-cut upper hand as Kansas leads the league in blocking (2.80 bps) and Iowa State ranks last (1.57 bps). The tables are turned in the back row, however, as Wednesday’s meeting will pit two of the Big 12’s best liberos against each other in KU’s Brianne Riley and ISU’s Kristen Hahn, who averages a Big 12-best 5.63 digs per set.
HEAD COACH RAY BECHARD
On Iowa State not being ranked for the first time in a long time:
“They’re a top-25 team, there’s no question. They lose to (No. 14) San Diego, (No. 18) Illinois, Saint Mary’s and (No. 12) Nebraska. Those are four really good teams teams that will all be in the NCAA Tournament, along with Oklahoma and Texas. Their six losses are all against really good volleyball teams and they’ve got good wins against Texas A&M, at Northern Iowa, which is a very tough place to play and Dayton is a good team. They have four 3-0 sweeps of their six matches in league play. At Oklahoma and at Texas are their only two losses in the Big 12. I totally expect to see the same level of team we’ve seen over the years from Iowa State coming in here on Wednesday.”
On Iowa State’s Mackenzie Bigbee:
“Mackenzie Bigbee is playing extremely well, and I think their setter is much more comfortable now. That’s probably been their biggest transition, they lost an All-American setter (Allison Landwehr). Now they’ve got [Jenelle] Hudson in there running great tempo and they’re hitting for a high number. I think the thing they do better than anybody else in the league is they serve. In Big 12 play they have 36 aces and they’ve only given up 11, so that’s three-to-one. That creates a lot of offense for their team, too.”
On Iowa State’s Kristen Hahn:
“Kristen Hahn’s been big time. She’s been Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week more times than we can all count. And deservedly so, she has great range and defends as well as anybody in our league. You don’t want to game plan totally around her, but you have to be aware that if you hit a ball in that area without pace or without meaning the ball is going to come back up.”
On the recent comeback wins:
“We actually had a swing to win the first set. To stay in the second set, obviously, was critical and that was the big part of the match. You break a team’s spirit a little bit when you come from behind like we did to even the match instead of going down 0-2. We grinded it out, I think there’s a point in time this time of year when teams have to find ways to win. Everybody’s in the thick of it, teams begin to wear down a little bit, one reason or another you’re not always going to be at your best this time of year. You’ve got to find ways and that’s what our team continues to do.”
On closing out the first half of the Big 12 strong:
“I think the way our schedule is setting up, the second-half is going to be tougher. To have a home match and then we’ll take care of our team with some rest over the week proceeding our Baylor match and come up with a plan as to how we can continue to be fresh and continue to be sharp and continue to get better. When you’re winning matches, sometimes it’s like ‘we need to keep holding on.’ No, we need to get better. That will be our goal obviously through Iowa State and then into the second half of the season.”
No. 22 Kansas has a scheduled bye week this Saturday and will return to action on Wednesday, Oct. 30 against Baylor. That match is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., inside the Horejsi Family Athletics Center and will air on ESPNU.