Friday, November 30, 2012

Jayhawks refreshed and ready to open NCAA volleyball tourney at home

Kansas University's volleyball team practices at Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, in preparation for their match with Saint Louis. Normally, the team practices and plays games at Horejsi Center, but will meet SLU Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, at Allen in anticipation of landing a home NCAA Tournament match.

Kansas University's volleyball team practices at Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, in preparation for their match with Saint Louis. Normally, the team practices and plays games at Horejsi Center, but will meet SLU Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, at Allen in anticipation of landing a home NCAA Tournament match.


Caroline Jarmoc passed the couch test this week.

The Kansas University junior volleyball player says she can always measure how badly her body is aching on a given day based on how long it takes her to get up off her sofa.

This week, she’s been able to do it quickly.

“My knees don’t hurt as bad going down stairs,” Jarmoc said with a smile, “so that’s a good sign.”

That was all part of the plan this week for Kansas volleyball coach Ray Bechard, who gave his players extra rest in preparation for the top-seeded Jayhawks’ match-up against Cleveland State at 6:30 tonight in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Allen Fieldhouse.

Because his team had nearly a week between matches — Big 12 matches typically are played on Saturdays and Wednesdays — Bechard made a few changes in his team’s routine to keep players fresh.

For one, practices late in the week were shortened from two hours to 90 minutes. The coach also made an effort to keep his regulars from jumping too much in workouts — an activity that can wear on the body.

“I would say that my legs feel a lot better this week, because usually, they feel super-heavy and my quads are pretty tight,” Jarmoc said. “This week, I think my body’s kind of been able to catch up.”

The match will come toward the end of a whirlwind week for KU (25-6, 12-4 Big 12), which started with its selection as a host team for the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

Since then, the volleyball team has soaked up the additional recognition. The players were introduced to standing ovations at men’s and women’s basketball games, and junior Jaime Mathieu was even stopped one night by a stranger at Target, who told her just how proud she was of the entire team.

“I think we’re all just so excited,” KU junior setter Erin McNorton said. “Even if we weren’t feeling as good as we are (physically), then we’d probably fake it.”

Because of the pressure that has come with the upcoming match, Bechard has tried to calm his players in practice, telling them to focus on this match like it’s a regular-season one.

“I think he doesn’t want us to get all in our heads and stuff, even though it is a big game,” McNorton said. “Focus on Cleveland State, and then we’ll go from there.”

The fourth-seeded Vikings (23-6, 13-1 Horizon League) have won 13 straight matches and haven’t lost since dropping a 3-0 decision to Loyola on Sept. 28.

Bechard believes playing on campus will provide his team an advantage. KU defeated Saint Louis, 3-0, in its only match at Allen Fieldhouse on Nov. 21.

“The fieldhouse I’m sure will get its own special buzz going,” Bechard said, “once we get some people in there and some exciting volleyball going.”

If KU wins, it will advance to play the winner between second-seeded Arkansas and third-seeded Wichita State at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Arkansas and WSU will play in the first match at 4 p.m. today at Allen Fieldhouse.


Stan Unruh 5 years, 4 months ago

Good stuff! Good luck to coach Bechard and the girls.

Ron Prichard 5 years, 4 months ago

I love the fact that the volleyball team is getting as much attention and recognition on KUSports as it is. This is a big deal not only for them, but also KU as a whole, and it deserves to be treated as such.

Great job, girls! Kick some butt tonight! RCJH!

Jennifer Nikkila Pressgrove 5 years, 4 months ago

I wonder if they had to paint lines on the court or if that's tape? No offense to the volleyball program, but I hope the lines are temporary.

Bville Hawk 5 years, 4 months ago

There was an article last week (I think) that said if KU got to host this weekend that they would bring in an actual volley ball court. I think the picture above is either from a practice or the St Louis match.

Jack Jones 5 years, 4 months ago

and that's your first take on this significant KU NCAA volleyball match??

Kyle Cornish 5 years, 4 months ago

They are definitely temporary. They will just put down tape as seen above. That shot is from Tuesday's practice. Many teams play in basketball gyms, and it's just tape on the floor.

Vroo 5 years, 4 months ago

When I saw a first round game in Seattle, the NCAA brought in its own floor and put it down on top of the regular floor. So big NCAA logo in the middle not a Jayhawk. But we all know the Jayhawk is there, right? Rock chalk.

Vroo 5 years, 4 months ago

Hmm. Maybe that was a 3rd/4th round game.

That Jayhawk looked pretty good on the floor during the game today -- awesome to be able to watch it on the web! And I'm watching one now with a big W on the floor.

Jack Jones 5 years, 4 months ago

What, if any, type of coverage, TV or online, is available? Good luck Jayhawk WOMEN - hope THE PHOG crowd is LARGE AND LOUD! Keep it rollin'!!

Jesse Newell 5 years, 4 months ago

For those online, there is scheduled to be a live stream on for both the first and second rounds.

Dyrk Dugan 5 years, 4 months ago

we need to at least get this first round victory...KSU got their tail kicked by Northern Iowa last no great anticipated rematch with NU.

since we swept KSU in the regular season, it would be sad to see us lose in the same round. of course, going to the round of 16, would be quite sweet.

Go Jayhawks!

KGphoto 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm confused with the seedings. Can anybody explain this to me?

It seems that only 16 teams out of 64 received a number next to their name. Kansas is #11. I have to assume it's the overall seeding and I think it was referenced as such in a previous article. But Jesse just called KU the "top-seeded" Jayhawks, and Cleveland St. the "fourth-seeded" Vikings.

If we are top-seeded and Cleveland St. is fourth-seeded, why do we have #11 and Cleveland have nothing next to our names?

This volleyball bracketology is tough.

Jesse Newell 5 years, 4 months ago

Good question. It's a little confusing.

Basically teams have an "overall" seed. That's where KU is ranked No. 11, like you said.

But for each region, teams are ranked Nos. 1-4. KU is seeded first in its region, thus it gets to host and is the favorite to advance past this weekend.

Vroo 5 years, 4 months ago

That's even more confusing and inaccurate. The top 16 teams get to host. Each host is therefore the top seed at their site (or pod to use NCAA basketball terminology). If we win out in Allen, then we advance to the Austin regional. At the regional level, the Jayhakws are effectively a #3 seed. It's the same structure as we're familiar with for march madness except the first two rounds are hosted. Our region has #3 (Texas), #6 (USC), #11 (Jayhawks) and #14 (Florida)

KGphoto 5 years, 4 months ago

Thanks, that makes perfect sense now. Don't know why Vroo thinks that was confusing.

Vroo 5 years, 4 months ago

Great to see JW paying attention to volleyball. Please notice the fan interest and know lots of us would like to see more attention to other teams all the time on this site. Too often it's like this article - - which leads the story with Bill Self. Now I love Bill but please.

jayhawkintexas 5 years, 4 months ago

I hope the volleyball teams from every high school or junior high school within 100 miles of Lawrence are at the game and the crowd is filled to the rafters. Good luck Jayhawks; wish I was there in person to cheer you on.

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