Volleyball Heads to Arkansas for Opener

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Aug. 31, 2004

Lawrence, Kan. – The University of Kansas volleyball team opens its 31st season of play Wednesday with a tough match at Arkansas. Head coach Ray Bechard and the Jayhawks will begin their trip back to the postseason when they take on the Lady Razorbacks at 7 p.m. in Fayetteville, Ark.

After posting a program-best 13-7 Big 12 Conference record (tied for third) last season, Kansas made its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament and finished the year 22-11 overall. Kansas returns five starters from the 2003 roster, including All-Big 12 middle blockers Josi Lima (First-Team) and Ashley Michaels (Honorable Mention).

Kansas also welcomes a talented crop of newcomers to the squad in 2004. Junior Paula Caten, a transfer from Barton County [Kan.] C.C., was recently tapped the Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Highly-touted freshman Emily Brown, a 6-2 opposite hitter from nearly Baldwin, Kan., was voted Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year by the league’s coaches.

Freshmen Tessa Jones, an opposite hitter from Lee’s Summitt, Mo., and Kristin Buehler, a middle blocker who will redshirt this season, round out the talented newcomers that will grow into the shoes of this year’s senior class.

Joining Lima and Michaels from the 2003 starting lineup are Jana Correa, a powerful outside hitter, Jill Dorsey, the KU libero, Andi Rozum, KU’s primary setter, and Lindsey Morris, an all-around solid senior.

The Lady Razorbacks, coached by Chris Poole, went 27-7 last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Arkansas return four starters from its 2003 roster, including three returning all-Southeastern Conference players.

The Lady Razorbacks hold a 1-0 advantage in the series over the Jayhawks. Arkansas defeated Kansas 3-2 in a thriller on Oct. 12, 2003 and went on to defeat North Carolina for the Jayhawk Classic crown. Jennifer Haaser had 13 blocks in the Arkansas victory.

The Lady Razorbacks are a perfect 10-0 in their home openers.

“I wouldn’t have scheduled the match at Arkansas if I didn’t think these kids could handle it,” Bechard said Saturday after his team’s exhibition win. “Arkansas plays a fast game and we have to be ready for them in this opener.”

Log on to kuathletics.com Wednesday for Livestats from Fayetteville as well as immediate post-match results.

– KU –