Kansas Heads to Arkansas for Spring Finale

April 18, 2013

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Following an undefeated performance at home last weekend, the Kansas volleyball team will look to ramp up its progress in the final competition of the spring season at Arkansas on Saturday.

The Jayhawks looked strong against UMKC and Missouri State in their last time out, winning all four sets, but head coach Ray Bechard is more focused on ways his team can continue improving with the limited time remaining in the spring.

“We never want to lose sight of the basic first-contact responsibilities to pass and serve,” Bechard said. “We’ve spent a lot of time on serving, not only placement but also pace, this spring. We’ll be working on that. Defensively, we’ll continue to work in system on getting more block involvement. We’ll see if we can put all of those things together this weekend against a good Arkansas team.”

Unlike the first three tournament weekends of the spring, Saturday will feature only two teams. Arkansas and Kansas will follow the same format with training in the morning and competing in the afternoon, but fewer teams in the gym allows for more specialized, focused instruction.

“We’ll be pretty specific in what we want to get done,” Bechard said. “We’ll have a little bit of a training session before we start the 25-point games so everyone will get a chance. We’ll probably narrow our focus on what we’re trying to do by the end of the day.”

Arkansas marks the third NCAA Tournament team from 2012 to appear on the Jayhawks’ spring schedule. KU took two of three sets from both Wichita State and Colorado State earlier this spring. Although the matches are informal and are not officially scored, it does give Bechard and his staff the opportunity to use various lineups and work with a lot of reserve players.

Redshirt freshmen Janae Hall and Maggie Anderson are two of the reserves Bechard has had a chance to work with in a live setting during the off-season. Both redshirted in 2012, but as this spring comes to a close, Bechard is happy with the progress seen from them.

“This has been an extremely valuable experience for Janae (Hall),” Bechard said. “But I think Maggie (Anderson) is about as good of a surprise as anybody. You don’t know how competitive they’re going to be or what their confidence level is going to be like and she’s done a really nice job. She’s an unconditional communicator that brings the same consistent work ethic and attitude to the gym every day, regardless if she’s playing a lot or a little. That’s great to see and will serve her well as she moves forward here.”

Saturday marks the end of the competition portion of the spring schedule, but the Jayhawks can capitalize on one more week of team practice. The spring season officially concludes on April 27.

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