VB Preview: Kansas

Oct. 14, 2016

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FORT WORTH, Texas - After its first bye in Big 12 action, the TCU volleyball team returns to the friendly confines of The Rickel inside the University Recreation Center to welcome No. 6 Kansas for a 5 p.m. showdown.

The match between the Horned Frogs (10-6, 3-3 Big 12) and Jayhawks (16-2, 5-1 Big 12) will air live on FOX Sports Southwest with Chuck LaMendola and Camden Stockton on the call.

Quick Hits
-The 2016 season marks the 21st season in the history of the TCU Volleyball program
-This season also marks the second under the helm of alumni and Director of Volleyball Jill (Pape) Kramer
-Kramer (1996-99) was the first scholarship volleyball player on the inaugural team in 1996 and still holds the single-season and career school records in kills and total attacks
-TCU returns 10 letterwinners and five starters from a season ago and also welcome nine newcomers, including three transfers
-91% of the offense returns for the 2016 season along with 95% of the defense at the net in blocking
-The squad includes seven seniors this season including All-American Ashley Smith and AVCA All-Southwest Region honorees Regan McGuire and Natalie Gower
-Smith, who has led the team in kills per set the last three seasons, was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 team for the second straight season
-Two other key returners are Sarita Mikals and Jillian Bergeson who spent their springs honing their skills on the beach courts
-The Frogs have great offensive depth which means a 6-2 will be in play again with Kaylee Smith and Lamprini Konstantinidou guiding the offense
-TCU brought in a stud of a freshmen class which was ranked for the first time in program history by Prepvolleyball.com by coming in at No. 15
-In its final preseason match of the season, TCU downed No. 8 North Carolina with the win marking the second top-10 win in program history and second straight season the team has achieved that feat
-In the win over Iowa State, Mikals became the sixth player in program history and the first under the helm of Kramer to score a triple-double with 10 kills, 10 digs and 10 blocks
-TCU has out-block their opponents in 14 of the 16 matches played and the team has recorded double-digit blocks in six matches
-Three school records have fallen this season with Sarita Mikals breaking the single-match record in digs (36-9/2/16 at Duke), while Natalie Gower recently topped the single-match record in blocks (15-10/1/16 vs. Oklahoma). The team also finished with 23.5 blocks against the Sooners for a new program best in total team blocks.

Last Time Out: Kansas State
In the second straight road match of the week, the TCU volleyball team came up just short as they dropped a 3-1 (33-31, 21-25, 25-18, 25-12) decision to Kansas State on Saturday, Oct. 8 inside Ahearn Field House in Manhattan, Kan.

After the Horned Frogs and the Wildcats split the opening two sets, K-State dominated the third set with a .607 hitting clip and used the momentum to take an early lead in the fourth set as TCU could not recover and Kansas State won the match in four sets.

Ashley Smith and Regan McGuire led the offensive effort for TCU with 11 kills each, while Natalie Gower finished with 10 kills. Jillian Bergeson and Kayla Scheevel anchored the back row with 16 kills each, while McGuire finished with a team-best six total blocks to lead the team at the net.

Series History
The match on Saturday is the 10th meeting all-time between TCU and Kansas with the Jayhawks leading in the overall series record at 7-2. Kansas swept the meetings last year in straight sets, but TCU's most recent win came in a come-from-behind five-set victory in November 2014. The Frogs won the first meeting ever between the opponents in 1999 in Lawrence, but Kansas have won seven of the last nine meetings since the two became conference foes in 2012.

Scouting the Opponent: Kansas
Kansas is off to a 5-1 start to Big 12 play with the team's only loss coming at the hands of No. 5 Texas in the second match of league play. The Jayhawks come into the match ranked No. 6 nationally and after scoring a 3-0 sweep of Kansas State on Wednesday night.

Kansas has two players currently leading the Big 12 in statistical categories and one ranked in the top-10 nationally. Madison Rigdon is No. 1 in the conference and No. 6 nationally in aces per set with 0.58. Cassie Wait is pacing the Jayhawks defensively with 5.03 digs per set which leads the conference and is ranked No. 26 nationally.

Offensively, Rigdon and Kelsie Payne are averaging over 3.00 kills per set. Payne is also the most efficient hitter with a team-best .308 hitting clip. All-American Ainise Havili is dishing out the assists for the third straight season with 10.78 assists per set while also serving up 0.33 service aces per set.



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