The Jayhawks will host Sam Houston State, Tulsa and Arkansas State to start seven-straight matches at home
Aug. 29, 2012
|Kansas Volleyball Invitational
|Junior setter Erin McNorton racked up 131 assists last weekend, more than her previous career total.
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Kicking off a seven-match homestand, the Jayhawks are on the hunt for their first trophy of the pre-conference season at the Kansas Volleyball Invitational, Aug. 31-Sept. 1 at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
FOLLOW THE HAWKS
All three Kansas matches over the weekend will stream live - video and audio - on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access. The live audio stream will be available free of charge, while the audio and video combination requires a subscription fee. Kyle West will have the call.
Fans can always track the Jayhawks on GameTracker or by following @JayhawkVball on Twitter.
Kansas has met each of this weekend's opponents before, although none in head coach Ray Bechard's 15 years at the helm. Tulsa marks the most recent opponent as the Jayhawks last squared off against the Golden Hurricane in 1994. Tulsa is also the only team that Kansas has previously beaten, holding a 21-6 all-time series record.
The Jayhawks will look to snap an 0-3 mark against Sam Houston State and an 0-1 record against Arkansas State.
KANSAS (2-1, 0-0 Big 12)
The Jayhawks got out to a hot start, winning their first two matches of the Arkansas Invitational. In the opening weekend, Kansas swept Northwestern State in dominant fashion, hitting .364 for the match and a racking up 51 kills to NWSU's 21. Kansas went on to win in three against Tennessee-Martin, led by 13 kills from redshirt junior Caroline Jarmoc adding to four more Jayhawks with nine kills apiece.
Kansas cruised through the first set against SEC-foe Arkansas in last weekend's finale. Although the Jayhawks pushed the Razorbacks to 25-25 in set two and 24-24 in set three, the home team prevailed with a four-set win.
Jarmoc and senior middle blocker Tayler Tolefree earned All-Tournament honors after solid performances. Jarmoc racked up a .324 attack percentage on 34 kills and averaged 1.20 blocks per set. Even more efficient, Tolefree hit .457 for the tournament and rejected an impressive 1.70 blocks per set. Junior Brianne Riley shined in the back row, highlighted by a 26-dig effort against Arkansas. Her Big 12-best 6.60 digs per set earned her Outstanding Libero of the Tournament accolades.
As a unit, Kansas is hitting for a .270 attack percentage to rank second in the Big 12. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks lead the conference in kills (15.70 per set), assists (15.10 per set) and digs (17.40). After out-blocking its opponents, 32-14, over the weekend, KU checks in at third in the league in blocks (3.20).
On the outsides, Kansas counted on sophomore Sara McClinton's team-high 35 kills along with redshirt junior Catherine Carmichael's 29 as the two split time as starters. Most notable may have been junior setter Erin McNorton's 13.10 assists per set. Her first weekend as the starting setter has her leading the rest of the Big 12 by nearly two full assists per set.
SAM HOUSTON STATE (2-2, 0-0 Southland) | Friday | 11:30 a.m.
The Bearkats head to Lawrence after back-to-back hard fought five-set losses to Colorado and Texas State in their last two outings. Guided by 27-year coaching veteran Brenda Gray, SHSU was voted to finish fourth in the Southland Conference. The Bearkats are led by All-Preseason Team selections Kim Black and Kaylee Hawkins (first team) and Kendall Cleveland (second team).
In their last time out, Hawkins led the Bearkats with 16 kills to help SHSU force five sets before dropping the match at Texas State on Tuesday. Hawkins leads the team with 3.20 kills per set, while sophomore Deveney Wells-Gibson paces the kill-mark with 55. Junior setter Tayler Gray has started all 18 sets and holds a 9.39 assists per set average.
RV TULSA (2-2, 0-0 Conference USA) | Friday | 7 p.m.
Tabbed to win its third-straight Conference USA Championship, Tulsa opened the season at the Nike Invitational, hosted by fellow Big 12 squad, Oklahoma. Led by head coach Steven McRoberts, the Golden Hurricane is receiving votes in the AVCA Top-25 poll after sweeping its first two matches against Western Michigan and Missouri State before forcing five sets in a loss to the Sooners.
On Tuesday, TU squared off against Arkansas just four days after the Jayhawks faced the Razorbacks in Fayetteville, Ark. While Kansas was able to take a set from the SEC-foe and reach set-point ties in both sets two and three, the Golden Hurricane fell victim to UA via the three-set sweep.
Senior outside hitter Tyler Henderson was selected as the 2012 Preseason C-USA Player of the Year following back-to-back C-USA Player of the Year honors. A year ago, Henderson was fifth in the NCAA in kills per set with 4.86. She also ranked 13th in the nation in points per set with 5.11 to earn second-team All-America honors for the second straight year. Henderson's 1,857 career kills are the most in school history and seventh most in league history.
ARKANSAS STATE (2-2, 0-0 Sun Belt) | Saturday | 2 p.m.
Led by first-year head coach David Rehr, the Red Wolves were picked second in the Sun Belt's Western Division preseason poll. ASU went 1-2 in its debut weekend at the Rice Invitational, defeating the host team in four sets but fell to BYU and Air Force. On Tuesday, ASU rolled past C-USA member, Memphis, never allowing the Tigers to pass the 20-point mark in all three sets.
Senior outside hitter Jasmine Terry leads the Red Wolves' offense with 3.14 kills per set, coming primarily from setter Allison Kearney. The senior averages 10.79 assists per set, but also poses an offensive threat with 22 kills.
HEAD COACH Ray Bechard
On the tournament field:
"Sam Houston State is coming in feeling pretty good about themselves, they were up 2-0 against Colorado over the weekend. (Even though) they lost in five, that's a Pac-12 school, so obviously they're not overwhelmed by a bigger name from a bigger conference so we have to take care of business there first. Obviously, with Tulsa, they were a second-round NCAA Tournament team last fall and they return their entire roster. The All-American Tyler Henderson will be a tremendous challenge. That's what we need at this point, we schedule difficult (opponents) because that's what it will look like as we get into conference.
A buddy of mine down at Arkansas State, who went the same route I did at the JuCo level and then on into Division I (ASU head coach) David Rehr is doing a great job down there. That's a team that's going to win 20-plus matches, as well. So from top to bottom, it will be a full weekend for us."
On the starting setter decision:
"Erin (McNorton) got in a pretty good flow, both of them (junior setter Kara Wehrs) will be ready. I tell you, freshman Maggie Anderson, who was unavailable to us last weekend, has also been playing well. So we'll have some options there. Erin had pretty good connection last weekend, but Kara also allows us to do some different things so we'll see how things materialize."
On KU's solid hitting efficiency during the opening weekend:
"We had good balance and we need to have good balance. Last year we were a little top heavy on the outside, so we've made a concerted effort to spread the offense out. We've set some goals as to what percent of the offense should go to middle and outside. We're trying to reach those goals as best as we can. It's nice to read that score sheet and see four or five Jayhawks with nine kills or better. That's going to serve you well deep into the schedule."
On playing at home:
"Obviously, you still have to take care of business, but we're looking forward to playing at home and getting in front of our fans."
Kansas continues its long stretch at home when the Jayhawks welcome back the UMKC `Roos back to the HFAC for a midweek match. UMKC, led by former Jayhawk assistant Christi Posey, and KU are set to face off Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.