Kansas University’s volleyball players — who reported to training camp in August for their marathon five-month season — finally rested last weekend, courtesy of the Big 12’s bye week.
“I stayed here, went to the football game. We never get to do things like that. I went to the football game and hung out,” said senior Erin McNorton, who admitted to feeling refreshed while dishing 30 assists in a 25-14, 25-13, 25-15 rout of Baylor on Wednesday in Horejsi Center.
“A bunch of people went home. They all went with their families. Usually we don’t leave each other’s side. It’s kind of a problem. This time we were on our own,” joked the Dallas native, who Wednesday passed the 1,000-assist mark (1,026) for the second straight season.
Senior Caroline Jarmoc, who battered Baylor with 14 kills against just one error with six blocks, also remained in town with no practice scheduled Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday.
“I don’t have $500 to throw at a plane ticket,” said the Calgary, Alberta native whose two solo blocks tied her with Texas A&M’s Amber Woolsey for second all-time on the Big 12 career list (96). Team USA player Destinee Hooker of Texas holds the conference record with 132 solo blocks. “I think everybody took the break as an opportunity to recover a little bit,” Jarmoc added. “We are all responsible women. Everybody came back with a nice improvement.”
The re-energized Jayhawks (17-5 overall, 7-2 Big 12), who suffered a five-set loss to Iowa State last Wednesday in their last match before the bye weekend, needed just one hour, 12 minutes to bury the Bears (11-14, 3-6).
Freshman Tayler Soucie had 10 kills while hitting .562 with four blocks. Senior Brianne Riley had 12 digs, moving her closer to sixth all-time on the Big 12 career digs list (1,884). She’s trailing former Missouri standout Tatum Ailes (1,997). Riley, who hails from Naperville, Ill., now has double-digit digs in 48 consecutive matches.
“It’s been a while since we played and we weren’t happy with the last result,” KU coach Ray Bechard said. “We wanted to bounce back and play well. I think we made Baylor feel us in all phases. From serving, to blocking, to attacking — that gets to be a little bit overwhelming if (the opponent) can’t find a phase of the game that’s clicking at a high level.”
And in case one is wondering what the 16th-year KU coach did during his rare weekend off ... “I recruited. I watched some video. I watched a little Jayhawk football and watched the Cardinals (his favorite team in World Series). That’s relaxing for me, I guess,” he said, smiling.
KU will next meet TCU at noon Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas.