Kansas Volleyball 2003 Wrap Up
Dec. 10, 2003
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- Kansas finished the 2003 regular season 21-10 overall and 13-7 in league play and received its first-ever NCAA Tournament bid.
- The Jayhawks finished the season ranked 20th in the nation byVolleyball Magazine. After going 7-1 in November, KU received votes in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches’ Poll for seven straight weeks. KU’s 13 conference wins are the most Big 12 victories in school history.
- The Jayhawks’ third-place tie with No. 24 Texas A&M and Colorado also marked a program-best. Kansas was one of six Big 12 teams invited to this year’s NCAA Tournament.
- Senior Sarah Rome leaves Kansas the all-time career kills leader (1,306) and second on the career digs list (1,177).
- Sophomore Josi Lima was named a 2003 All-Big 12 First Team selection and the first-ever Jayhawk to earn a spot on the AVCA All-Region Team.
- Junior Ashley Michaels was named an Honorable Mention by the league’s coaches. Rome, Michaels, Jill Dorsey and Lindsey Morris were named to the 2003 All-Big 12 Academic First Team for achieving a 3.20 GPA or better.
- Freshman Jana Correa, who led the KU offense before a season-ending injury on Oct. 16, will return to the squad in 2004 after a successful rehab period.
Kansas Makes First Ever NCAA Appearance
For the first time in the program’s 28-year history, Kansas was invited to participate in the 2003 NCAA Volleyball Tournament. KU, one of six Big 12 conference teams invited to the 64-team tournament, traveled to Malibu, Calif., in a bracket with Pepperdine, Long Beach State and Manhattan.
“It’s a great day in Kansas volleyball history,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “I am very proud of these young ladies and I’m sure they’ll represent the University well.”
Jayhawks Earn First NCAA Win
Kansas won its first-ever NCAA Tournament match Dec. 4 as it swept Long Beach State (19-11, 12-6 Big West) in the First Round of bracket play. The Jayhawks defeated the 49ers 30-23, 30-28 and 30-28 at the Firestone Fieldhouse on the Pepperdine University campus.
KU was led by Sarah Rome, who posted a match-high 17 kills and added 11 digs in the win. Josi Lima and Lindsey Morris added 12 kills each while Ashley Michaels tallied 13 kills on a .571 hitting percentage. Andi Rozum notched a match-high 51 assists and Lima and libero Jill Dorsey added 13 and 11 digs, respectively. Kansas posted a .359 attack percentage to improve its NCAA record to 1-0 and neutral site mark to 5-0 on the season.
KU Falls to No. 4 Pepperdine in 2nd Round
Lima tallied 15 kills and 10 digs as KU fell to No. 4 Pepperdine (27-2) in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament on Dec. 5. After winning game one, the Jayhawks were outlasted by the top-seeded Waves by scores of 30-23, 20-30, 14-30 and 23-30 at the Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.
In her final match, Rome added 14 kills and 12 digs while Morris added 10 kills and eight digs. Dorsey led the KU defense with 17 digs while senior Abbie Jacobson added eight. Rozum notched 45 assists in the loss. The Waves’ win was their 25th straight. No. 4 Pepperdine went on to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen only to be defeated by Minnesota, a team that KU defeated earlier this season.
“I am extremely proud of this team,” Bechard said. “We played at a very high level and it was hard to maintain. We have a great future ahead of us but it will be hard to match the chemistry the team has had these last six to eight weeks.”
“The pain of the loss is already gone. We’ve accomplished so much this season and it will benefit this team in the years to come,” Rome added. “But we understood that we deserved to be on that floor tonight.”
Rome Leaves KU a Career Leader
Sarah Rome leaves KU with her name on practically every school career leaders list. In her four-year career, Rome ranks first in career kills (1,306) and attempts (3,593), second in digs (1,177), fourth in kills per game (3.19), fifth in service aces (121), sixth in digs per game (2.88) and tenth in career games played (404). The Eagan, Minn., native is also just the second player in KU history to record both 1,000 digs and 1,000 kills.
Lima First Jayhawk on AVCA All-Region Team, Named to All-Big 12 First Team Again
KU’s Josi Lima became the first Jayhawk to be named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Region Team, the AVCA and Big 12 offices announced on Dec. 10. Lima, a 6-0 sophomore middle blocker from Sao Paulo, Brazil, was among nine Big 12 athletes named to the 12-person Central Region First-Team. Lima averaged 3.15 kills per game on a .313 attack percentage and added 2.03 digs per game this season. After earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors in 2002, Lima was named to the All-Big 12 First Team again in 2003 and became the first Jayhawk to earn the league honor two years in a row.
Michaels Earns Big 12 Honors Again
Junior Ashley Michaels, a native of Wathena, Kan., led the ‘Hawks in the regular season with a .331 hitting percentage (fourth overall in the Big 12) and 0.95 blocks per game. She has now tallied double-digit kills in 23 of KU’s 31 matches this season. (Posted nine kills in three of the other four matches.) Her strong hitting and blocking once again garnered All-Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2003.
Dorsey a Leading Force at Libero
Junior Jill Dorsey was successful in her role as KU’s libero. Dorsey finished seventh in the league with a team-best 3.51 digs per game.
KU Signs Three Recruits for 2004
Bechard announced the signing of three high school seniors to National Letters of Intent. Emily Brown of Baldwin High School, Tessa Jones of Archbishop O’Hara and Kristin Buehler of Park Hill South make up the Jayhawks’ 2004 Recruiting Class.
KU Undefeated in Neutral Matches
The Jayhawks had much success in tournament matches at neutral sites this season. KU kicked off the season with sweeps of Liberty and Western Kentucky in DeKalb, Ill., and went on to defeat No. 13 Minnesota, Dayton and Marquette to win the Nike Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn. Kansas extended the streak to 5-0 with a sweep of Long Beach State in Malibu in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.
Twelve of Kansas’ 28 matches this season have been decided in five games. Eight of the five-gamers were against Big 12 opponents, who took four of the victories. Five of the 12 matches were against ranked opponents — K-State, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota and Texas A&M — with two of those wins going to the Jayhawks. KU is 3-1 in conference five-gamers at home and 4-4 on the road against Big 12 foes when competing in a deciding game.
Sweeping the Competition
KU opened its 2003 season with consecutive 3-0 sweeps of Western Kentucky and Liberty. Last season, 14 of KU’s 19 victories were decided by a 3-0 mark — the most in a season since the 1986 team’s 15. KU tied that mark again by sweeping 15 teams this season with seven of them in Big 12 matches.