LAWRENCE, Kan. – Ready to rebound from its Big 12 bout for first place and armed with a top-25 ranking, Kansas is focused on a heavy week of travel, beginning with a Wednesday night meeting at Texas Tech. First serve in the United Spirit Arena is set for 6 p.m.
vs. Texas Tech (KU leads, 19-16): Though Kansas holds a slim 19-16 all-time margin in a series that dates back to 1982, the Jayhawks have had solid control in recent years. KU has won five-straight meetings with the Red Raiders and 11 of the last 12. A year ago, the Jayhawks swept the Red Raiders in both matches – the first time they’ve done so since the 2009 season. In Lawrence, KU has the 11-6 edge, while TTU holds the 9-8 advantage in Lubbock.
FOLLOW THE JAYHAWKS
Wednesday’s match will air on FOX Sports Southwest Plus and will also stream live on Texas Tech All-Access, which fans can access on TexasTech.com/allaccess for a subscription fee. Fans can also monitor the action on GameTracker or by following @KUVolleyball on Twitter. The match will not be available on Jayhawk Digital Passport.
· The Jayhawks are ranked No. 23 on the latest AVCA Top-25 Coaches Poll (10/14), their first ranking since earning a No. 20 spot on the AVCA Preseason Poll. KU was receiving votes the previous two weeks and was ranked the last nine-consecutive weeks of the 2012 season.
· Kansas snapped a 10-match winning streak on Saturday against the defending national champion Texas Longhorns. Prior to 2013, only the 1991, 1992 and 2001 teams had won 10-consecutive matches.
· The Jayhawks will settle in for back-to-back long trips, heading to Lubbock, Texas for their Wednesday match and Morgantown, W. Va., on Saturday. By week’s end, KU will have traveled more than 3,125 miles.
· KU moved up to No. 11 on the latest NCAA RPI projections (10/14). Kansas has not been outside the RPI’s top-15 since 2011.
· KU is the only team in the Big 12 with three players in the top-10 in attack percentage: Caroline Jarmoc (.312, 8th), Tayler Soucie (.309, 9th) and Chelsea Albers (.306, 10th).
· The Jayhawks also boast two players in the top-three in blocks per set: Tayler Soucie (1.35, 1st) and Caroline Jarmoc (1.29, 3rd). The blocking duo ranks 23rd and 36th in the NCAA, respectively.
· Senior setter Erin McNorton leads the Big 12 for the sixth-straight week with 12.32 assists per set. Only two setters in the country average more assists than McNorton: Caitlin Dotson, Lipscomb (12.67) and Molly Kreklow, Missouri (12.46).
· Kansas has established itself prominently in the conference, leading the Big 12 in blocks (2.78, 19th NCAA), kills (14.42, 16th NCAA), assists (13.51, 13th NCAA) and is second in attack percentage (.261, 30th NCAA).
The Kansas volleyball team reclaimed a spot on the AVCA poll on Oct. 14, coming in at No. 23. Texas, the only other Big 12 school on the list, remained at No. 3 on this week's poll. The Jayhawks have wins against No. 15 Wisconsin and Oklahoma, who continues to receive votes. This marks KU's first ranking since earning a No. 20 spot on the AVCA Preseason Poll (8/12), following nine-consecutive weeks in the top-25 to finish the 2012 season. The highest ranking in program history occurred almost exactly a year ago when the Jayhawks broke through at No. 17 (10/22/12).
The NCAA moved Kansas up to No. 11 in its latest RPI release (10/14). Based on the most recent rankings, Kansas is 2-2 against top-15 teams and 5-3 against top-30 RPI teams. With more than a month still remaining in the regular season, KU has wins against Wisconsin (No. 14), Oklahoma (No. 15), Arkansas (No. 26), Georgia (No. 27) and Arizona (No. 30). All but five of the opponents KU faces this season are ranked in the top 100.
Redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc’s three total blocks makes her the second Jayhawk in program history to amass 500 career blocks. Jarmoc now needs just 15 more to become the new Kansas leader (currently Amanda Reves with 514; 1996-99).
DON’T GET USED TO IT
Against No. 3 Texas (10/12), Kansas was out-blocked 17-6 – the most by a Jayhawk opponent since Creighton put up 20 blocks to KU's 10 (9/19/12). It was also just the third time this season the Jayhawks were on the losing side of the blocking column, and the first time since the 2013 opening weekend (vs. Central Arkansas; at Arizona).
Aside from the lopsided blocking numbers against the top-five Longhorns (10/12), Kansas also was out-hit, .288 to .106. Not only is that just the second time this season the Jayhawks have been out-hit, KU hasn’t hit that low since posting a .101 efficiency at Texas – exactly a year prior (10/12/12). In 2013, the Jayhawks have hit over .350 four times as often as they’ve hit under .150.
WOWING THE LEAGUE
While Kansas already leads the Big 12 in blocks (2.78), kills (14.42) and assists (13.51) on the overall statistic rankings, the Jayhawks’ numbers in conference-only play are unreal. In Big 12-only matches, Kansas leads in: assists (14.18), kills (15.06) and blocks (3.03).
Individually, the Jayhawks are equally impressive. Junior outside hitter Sara McClinton leads the Big 12 in conference matches with 4.53 kills and 4.74 points per set. Senior setter Erin McNorton averages more than a full assist per set more than second place with her 13.06 mark. Meanwhile, redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc is tied for the blocking lead with 1.47 blocks per set.
LAST TIME OUT: No. 20 Kansas 3, Texas Tech 0
Libero Brianne Riley recorded 11 digs to break KU's career digs record in just three years, leading the No. 20 Jayhawks to their 12th sweep of the season against Texas Tech, 25-11, 25-19, 25-19, on Senior Night (11/24/12). The Jayhawks were led offensively by outside hitter Chelsea Albers, who finished the match with 11 kills and a .611 hitting percentage, a career-best at the time. The Jayhawks cranked out a .324 attack percentage, while holding Texas Tech to a mere .038. Breeann David led the Red Raiders with eight kills.
Junior outside hitter Sara McClinton’s 16 kills against Oklahoma (10/9) gave her 815 for her career. Only one Jayhawk – KU all-time kills leader Josi Lima (1,483, 2002-05) – reached the 800 mark faster. Because of her four kills in the opening frame, McClinton officially became the second-fastest Jayhawk to achieve the feat. Former Kansas volleyball star Karina Garlington also reached her 800th career kill in her 79th match played. Garlington, however, didn’t tip the 800-mark until the fourth set of career match No. 79.
SPEAKING OF SARA
Since conference play started, junior outside hitter Sara McClinton has led the Jayhawks in kills all but once, including the last four matches in a row. Her 77 kills in Big 12 matches lead the league, while her 230 overall kills is second to OU’s Sallie McLaurin (256).
The first All-American in Kansas volleyball history, redshirt senior Caroline Jarmoc, eclipsed another Jayhawk milestone achievement. The Calgary, Alberta, Canada native is sitting at 226 kills in 2013. Jarmoc is now just the fifth player in program history to record 200 or more kills in four-consecutive seasons. She joined KU volleyball alums Emily Brown (2004-07), Josi Lima (2002-05), Mary Beth Albrecht (1996-99) and Judy Desch (1984-87) on the historic list.
Although the Jayhawks rank first in three of the Big 12’s primary statistical categories, service aces is not one of them. In fact, KU sits last in the league in aces per set – the good news? The Jayhawks allow just 0.74 aces per set, which ranks first in the league.
HOW MAY SHE ASSIST YOU?
Senior setter Erin McNorton not only leads all Big 12 setters with 850 assists, she also leads six Big 12 teams. McNorton’s massive assist count on her own is more than Iowa State, West Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas State have each accumulated as a team. Her 2,422 career assists rank sixth all-time at KU, despite the fact that she started only 51 matches.
RILEY IS CLIMBING
Senior libero Brianne Riley’s 19 digs against Texas (10/12) moved her closer to sixth all-time on the Big 12 Conference's career digs list (1,824), chasing former Missouri star Tatum Ailes (1,997; 2004-07). Riley is now just the seventh player in Big 12 history to surpass 1,800 career digs. More than just a conference highlight, Riley ranks 16th in career digs amongst every active player in the NCAA. The next closest Big 12 libero on the NCAA’s list is Iowa State’s Kristen Hahn (1,623, 29th).
SCOUTING TEXAS TECH (8-12 Overall, 1-4 Big 12)
Led by third-year head coach Don Flora, Texas Tech was picked to finish tied for seventh with TCU in the Big 12 preseason poll and currently sits in ninth. After a season-opening loss to Seattle, Texas Tech put together five-straight wins before following the streak with five-straight losses. The Red Raiders recorded their first Big 12 win in their last time out, fighting off TCU on the road to claim the 3-2 win on Saturday.
Unfortunately for TTU, injuries have plagued the team throughout the fall. Victoria Hinneburg was voted to share Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year honors with Kansas State’s Katie Brand, but the German has yet to take the court in 2013. Junior outside hitter Breeann David, who leads the offense with 3.67 kills per set, has played just 51 of TTU’s 74 sets. Unable to contribute much at TCU, David’s offense stepped up to get the win without its leader. The primary source of help came from sophomore transfer Jenna Allen, who led the floor with an impressive 24 kills. Previously at South Carolina, Allen took 67 swings against the Horned Frogs and in her 19 sets played at Tech, she is averaging 3.89 kills. As a unit, however, the Red Raiders rank last in the Big 12 with a .183 attack percentage. Passing the ball around is sophomore setter Emily Ruetter, checking in at fourth in the Big 12 with a 10.34 assist average.
Defensively, the Red Raiders make up for the injuries that hinder the offense. Five players average more than two digs per set as Texas Tech ranks right in front of Kansas in the league at third with 16.26 digs each frame. Junior libero Rachel Brummitt also sits one spot in front of KU, as her 5.28 digs per set rank second compared to Jayhawk libero Brianne Riley’s third-ranked average of 4.72. At the net, David paces the blocking efforts with 0.73 blocks per set. Texas Tech’s 1.75 blocking average checks in at eighth among Big 12 teams.
HEAD COACH RAY BECHARD
On Texas Tech:
“They are coming off a good road win at TCU. They jumped out 2-0, then it looks like TCU got back in the match and Texas Tech finished it off in five sets. That’s their first Big 12 win of the year, but of course, they’ve played Iowa State, Texas and at Oklahoma, so they’ve played some really good teams. It’s always a place that I know their coaches will have them ready to play and enthused. Every Big 12 match we play has equal importance so they have our undivided attention and will get our best effort.”
On the Texas Tech roster:
“Breeann David is a very good Big 12 outside attacker. [Aubree] Piper has hit for a great efficiency her whole career there. Their setter is back [Emily Ruetter] and has done a great job. Their libero [Rachel Brummitt] is one of the best in the conference. They have a lot of really good pieces and I know they’ve tried a lot of different lineups. It seems like they’re finding some things that are working really well for them.”
On Texas Tech’s back row defense:
“Their libero [Ruetter] is over five [digs per set] so she obviously defends her position very well. They’re up in the top half of the Big 12 in digs per set and that is a reflection of how hard they play. Once again, it’s a team that competes very hard regardless of score, regardless of what the set count is in the match and you’ve got to play really hard from start to finish to get a good result against this team.”
On bouncing back after the loss to No. 3 Texas:
“When you don’t execute a game plan as well as you like it’s disappointing. But in this league, another opportunity is right in front of you. We really want to focus on closing out this first half in good fashion and that’s three remaining matches. The most important one right now is our trip to Lubbock.”
Kansas stays on the road to travel to Morgantown, W. Va., for a 5:30 p.m. CT meeting against the Mountaineers on Saturday, Oct. 19.