Kansas Earns National Ranking; Debuts Best RPI

Oct. 1, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – A flawless 3-0 record this season against teams either ranked or receiving votes, including an upset of No. 19 Iowa State last week, paved way to the Kansas volleyball team receiving a No. 24 ranking on the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division I Coaches Poll, Monday afternoon.

Also on Monday, the NCAA released the first RPI projections of the season, where Kansas (14-2, 2-0) debuted at No. 9 – the highest RPI mark in program history.

Kansas knocked off Tulsa and Creighton, both receiving votes in the poll earlier in the season to start receiving votes of its own in last week’s poll. On Wednesday, the Jayhawks upset No. 19 Iowa State – who moved to No. 22 on Monday – to propel them into the national rankings for the first time since Sept. 24, 2005.

Although excited by the news, head coach Ray Bechard and his team only sees it as a step in the process, not the goal.

“It is exciting,” Bechard said. “I’m amazed at how many people have asked me (since Wednesday), `do you think we’ll be ranked?’ To me, it doesn’t change our process, our preparation or how we’ll go about handling our business. From a fan perspective, I can see where there’s some fun in that. From a program perspective, it’s great. You just can’t afford to lose sight of the process. Our focus has to stay on one match at a time and what’s our next mission, otherwise we stub our toe and we can’t afford to do that.”

For the first time in 2012, the Big 12 has four teams in the top-25 (No. 9 Texas, No. 14 Kansas State, No. 22 Iowa State), while Oklahoma is one step away from the rankings after receiving 100 votes in Monday’s poll.

The first RPI projections of 2012, released by the NCAA on Monday, unveiled news even more promising than the team’s national ranking as KU debuted at No. 9. A year ago, the Jayhawks started at No. 39 in the RPI and remained in the top-50 for the remainder of the season, ending at No. 47.

In 2012, Kansas is 4-2 against top-50 RPI teams and 7-2 against the top-100 with the Jayhawks’ only losses coming at Arkansas (No. 16) and Notre Dame (No. 50).

Four Big 12 teams appear in the top-15 of Monday’s RPI projections and all but one league school (No. 179 West Virginia) are in the top-75.

Kansas will travel to Morgantown, W. Va., for its first ever meeting with new Big 12 member West Virginia on Wed., Oct. 3. First serve is set for 5:30 p.m. CT.

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