Competitive depth featured in Kansas volleyball’s 2017 nonconference schedule
– Kansas begins the regular season on Aug. 25 at NC State; home opener is Labor Day against Kentucky.
– Kansas will play in every contiguous U.S. time zone during nonconference play.
– Three of KU’s four home nonconference matches include 2016 NCAA Tournament teams: Kentucky, Purdue and Creighton.
– Season ticket requests are open through June 30 at KUtickets.com.
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas volleyball head coach Ray Bechard announced on Monday a challenging 2017 nonconference schedule to prepare the reigning Big 12 champion Jayhawks for another run at the conference title and an attempt at program’s second Final Four in three years.
“We have the most competitive home nonconference schedule that we have ever had, paired with challenging lineup of matches away from home,” Bechard said. “That jumps out at me initially – the opportunity we have to entertain some really good teams and to make a large footprint on the national stage.”
Before trekking across the country to visit all four time zones in the contiguous United States, Kansas opens the season with an exhibition match against UMKC on Saturday, Aug. 19 at Horejsi Family Athletics Center. This season marks the first that the NCAA is allowing exhibition matches between institutions in the sport of volleyball, replacing KU’s annual Crimson & Blue Scrimmage.
The Jayhawks open the regular season at the Wolfpack Invitational in Raleigh, North Carolina, where Kansas will face host NC State twice in two days. KU’s season opener will be against the Wolfpack on Friday, Aug. 25. The next day, the Jayhawks have a Saturday morning contest against Missouri State, followed by an evening rematch against NC State.
“The fact that we are playing NC State twice on its home floor will be a great challenge for our team opening up,” Bechard said. “Then you sandwich those matches with a Missouri State team most-likely favored to win a competitive Missouri Valley Conference – it shapes up to be a challenging opening weekend.”
KU makes a stop in the Mountain Time Zone for the three-day Wolverine Invitational in Orem, Utah, hosted by Utah Valley. Kansas and Utah Valley face off on Thursday, Aug. 31, followed by Big West powerhouse Long Beach State on Friday, Sept. 1, and Montana on Saturday, Sept. 2.
The Jayhawks begin a four-match homestand on Labor Day, Sept. 4, against Kentucky in the friendly confines of Horejsi Family Athletics Center where KU has a 28-2 record in the last two seasons.
Four days later in Lawrence, the Jayhawks will play host to a competitive Kansas Invitational field, featuring Belmont, Purdue and Creighton. Kansas and Belmont square off at noon on Friday, Sept. 8, followed by Friday’s nightcap against Purdue. Kansas and Creighton meet for the third time in the last two seasons on Saturday, Sept. 9 – almost a full calendar year after Kansas defeated the Bluejays in Omaha. Creighton finished last season ranked ninth in the country after advancing to the NCAA Regional Finals.
“This is shaping up to be one of the most competitive home nonconference schedules in the nation,” Bechard added. “We are excited that we can play three teams that feel like they can be top-10 in the country and a Belmont team that will certainly be one of the favorites to win its league. Our fans will be treated to some great volleyball.”
KU’s final weekend of the nonconference schedule takes place in California’s Bay Area at the Santa Clara / San Jose State Tournament. The Jayhawks are pitted against the two joint hosts of the event on Friday, Sept 15. KU faces San Jose State Friday afternoon, followed by a nightcap against Santa Clara. The last time Kansas faced Santa Clara, it marked KU’s first-ever victory in the NCAA Tournament – a 3-1 triumph in Seattle. Kansas and Idaho wrap up the nonconference slate on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. Central.
“The good thing about this is when you look at the overall depth of our schedule – it gives us an opportunity to put a national footprint in a lot of different places if we can have some success,” Bechard commented on the breadth of the schedule.
The reigning Big 12 champion Jayhawks begin their previously-announced slate of 16 conference matches on Saturday, Sept. 23 at Kansas State. The regular season concludes with a home match against West Virginia on Saturday, Nov. 25.
The deadline to submit Kansas volleyball season ticket requests is Friday, June 30, at 5 p.m. Central. Fans can make requests at KUtickets.com. Each account can request a maximum of six tickets. A request does not guarantee 2017 season ticket fulfillment. Season ticket requests are fulfilled based on availability, Williams Education Fund priority points (Williams Education Fund membership does not guarantee ticket fulfillment, but members receive priority over nonmembers), and order of request date.
2017 KANSAS VOLLEYBALL SCHEDULE
Date – Opponent
Aug. 19 – UMKC (exhibition)
Aug. 25 – at NC State (Wolfpack Invitational)
Aug. 26 – vs. Missouri State (Wolfpack Invitational)
Aug. 26 – at NC State (Wolfpack Invitational)
Aug. 31 – at Utah Valley (Wolverine Invitational)
Sept. 1 – vs. Long Beach State (Wolverine Invitational)
Sept. 2 – vs. Montana (Wolverine Invitational)
Sept. 4 – KENTUCKY
Sept. 8 – BELMONT (Kansas Invitational)
Sept. 8 – PURDUE (Kansas Invitational)
Sept. 9 – CREIGHTON (Kansas Invitational)
Sept. 15 – vs. San Jose State (Santa Clara / San Jose State Tournament)
Sept. 15 – at Santa Clara (Santa Clara / San Jose State Tournament)
Sept. 16 – vs. Idaho (Santa Clara / San Jose State Tournament)
Sept. 23 – at Kansas State *
Sept. 27 – IOWA STATE *
Sept. 30 – TCU *
Oct. 4 – at West Virginia *
Oct. 7 – at Oklahoma *
Oct. 11 – TEXAS *
Oct. 18 – at Baylor *
Oct. 21 – TEXAS TECH *
Oct. 25 – OKLAHOMA *
Oct. 28 – at Iowa State *
Nov. 4 – at TCU *
Nov. 8 – KANSAS STATE *
Nov. 11 – BAYLOR *
Nov. 15 – at Texas *
Nov. 17 – at Texas Tech *
Nov. 25 – WEST VIRGINIA *
Nov. 30-Dec. 2 – NCAA Championship First & Second Rounds
Dec. 8-9 – NCAA Championship Regionals
Dec. 14 & 16 – NCAA Championship Finals (Kansas City, Mo.)
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