🏐 Jayhawks Host Washburn in Exhibition Friday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas volleyball will open the 2021 season when it plays host to Washburn in an exhibition match Friday, August 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena.
Admission to the exhibition contest is free and doors open at 5:30 p.m. Due to COVID protocol, all patrons for the match will be required to wear masks.
“Practices have been going well but I think they are at the point where they are looking forward to playing somebody else,” said Kansas head coach Ray Bechard who enters his 24th season at KU. “This will give us a chance to not only see some of our returning players but some of our newcomers in a game-like situation.”
Receiving votes in the 2021 preseason AVCA national poll, Kansas returns 14 letterwinners from last season’s 12-10 team that won its final seven, and nine of its last 10, matches of the season. KU had both a fall and spring season in 2020-21 due to the COVID pandemic. The Jayhawks went 7-9 in Big 12 play finishing fifth.
Six of KU’s 14 returners started 17 or more matches in 2020-21 led by Kansas sophomore middle blocker Caroline Crawford and super-senior outside hitter Jenny Mosser who were both named to the 2021 Preseason All-Big 12 Team selected by the league coaches. Additionally, outside hitter/libero Caroline Bien was tabbed the 2021 Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Both Crawford and Mosser were named All-Big 12 First Team and to the AVCA All-Midwest Region Team last season. Bien was a 2020 AVCA High School All-America and the 2020 Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Kansas at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School.
Crawford and Mosser started every match played in 2020-21, while other consistent starters that are back include sophomore outside hitter Ayah Elnady (21 starts), senior middle blocker Rachel Langs (20), redshirt-senior outside hitter Anezka Szabo (17) and sophomore setter Elise McGhie (17).
“For us, we have a sense on our depth chart but you can create a little more dialogue on that when it’s live and there is an opponent on the other side of the net,” Bechard said. “We’ve got some positions that are still up for grabs that people are competing for so this will get us closer to creating a lineup for the following week when the regular-season begins.”
Kansas will open the 2021 regular season at Reamer Club Spectacular August 28-29 in West Lafayette, Indiana. KU will play Loyola Marymount on August 28 and against host Purdue the following day.