Volleyball Arrives on Campus This Weekend
Aug. 4, 2010
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
In less than a week, the Kansas volleyball team will report to campus to officially begin preparations for the 2010 season. On Monday, Aug. 9, head coach Ray Bechard, who is entering his 13th season at KU, will welcome 19 players to the court.
The team will first gather Sunday afternoon when it will attend meetings and take team pictures. The day will conclude with a dinner for players and their families. Monday morning the Jayhawks will meet bright and early for the first of two practices. A second practice will be held later in the afternoon and two-a-days will continue until school starts on Thursday, Aug. 19.
Kansas, which finished 16-14 last season, returns nine letterwinners. Of their five returning starters, the Jayhawks welcome back its top two offensive threats from 2009 in senior Karina Garlington and junior Allison Mayfield. Eight newcomers, along with two redshirt freshmen, will provide even more talent and depth to the team.
The Jayhawks open the season, Aug. 27-28, in Omaha, Neb., at the Creighton Tournament.
The Jayhawks return nine letterwinners from a year ago, including four starters and their libero. Last season’s top two offensive threats are back in junior Allison Mayfield and senior Karina Garlington. The team will also receive experience and leadership from fellow seniors Jenna Kaiser, Mel Townsend and libero Melissa Manda. KU’s third-year setter Nicole Tate returns after guiding the 2009 Jayhawks to their best attack percentage since 2004.
One of the largest recruiting classes under coach Ray Bechard, Kansas will welcome eight talented newcomers in 2010. The Jayhawks’ seven freshmen and one transfer, which was rated the No. 26 recruiting class according to PrepVolleyball.com, includes a Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selection (Jessie Allen), the top player from the Kansas City area (Marianne Beal) and a PrepVolleyball.com top-50 prospect (Kara Wehrs). Redshirt freshmen Caroline Jarmoc and Catherine Carmichael will also have a chance to make an impact this season after training under graduated middle blockers Brittany Williams and Paige Mazour last year.
At the Helm
Ray Bechard returns for his 13th season at the helm of the Jayhawks’ volleyball program. In 12 seasons, Bechard has amassed 190 victories and is credited for guiding Kansas to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2003. He also took the team back to the tournament in 2004 and 2005. Bechard’s teams have produced 10 All-Big 12 honorees, while off the court his players have garnered Academic All-Big 12 recognition 67 times.
It is no surprise that Kansas will once again face a challenging schedule in 2010. The Jayhawks’ slate contains 15 matches versus 2009 NCAA Tournament teams. The Big 12 Conference, one of the top volleyball leagues in the nation, will provide 12 contests versus tournament teams alone, including a pair of matches with last year’s national runner-up, Texas. Fans will have plenty of opportunities to see KU at home this season as the Jayhawks are set to host 18 matches in the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.