Kansas Volleyball Completes 2016 Schedule

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas volleyball has completed its 2016 schedule with the release of the Jayhawks’ non-conference slate on Thursday, featuring matches against Purdue, Creighton, Maryland, Arkansas, Mississippi State, and Northern Iowa.

“The different styles that we will see and the different environments we will be exposed to will be a great way for us to gather momentum and prepare for Big 12 play,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “There are a number of opportunities to face quality competition, and we will have to be playing at a high level well before conference play to have the type of season we are hoping for.”

Fans will get their first look at the 2016 squad on Saturday, Aug. 20 during the Crimson & Blue Scrimmage. First serve for the free-admission event is set for 1 p.m., in Horejsi Family Athletics Center.

The reigning NCAA Championship semifinalists will then open the regular season on the road at the Bulldog Invitational in Starkville, Mississippi. The season begins with a 7 p.m. Central first serve with host Mississippi State, followed by a Saturday doubleheader against Eastern Washington and Lamar.

During home-opening weekend, the Jayhawks will host the Kansas Invitational with Chicago State, Maryland, and Arkansas. KU’s home opener is set for Friday, Sept. 2 at noon against Chicago State. Later that day, KU faces Maryland at 7 p.m. On Saturday afternoon, Kansas and Arkansas meet for the second consecutive season to cap off the lone non-conference tournament hosted by KU this season.

The following week, Kansas patched together three matches in three days at two different locations. Starting on Thursday, Sept. 8, Kansas returns to the city where it made history, facing Creighton in Omaha, Nebraska – the site of KU’s first NCAA Championship semifinal appearance last December. The Jayhawks remain in Omaha for a match against Chattanooga the following Friday afternoon on Creighton’s campus.

After its pair of matches in Omaha, KU treks back to Lawrence for a 6 p.m. home contest against Northern Iowa at Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Saturday, Sept. 10.

Kansas will face one of its most challenging doubleheader days of the season at the Stacey Clark Classic in West Lafayette, Indiana. The Jayhawks open the event on Friday morning, Sept. 16, against Xavier, followed by a nightcap with perennial Big Ten Conference power Purdue. Xavier has finished top-100 in the NCAA RPI for the last seven consecutive seasons, while Purdue finished last season ranked No. 17 in the country.

“Purdue is beating the elite in the Big Ten every year, and that says a lot because that conference is so deep,” Bechard said about the matchup with the Boilermakers. “Coach (Dave) Shondell has maintained a great program for years. It is a similar environment to ours in terms of gym size. It will be a good opportunity for the Big 12 and Big Ten to go head-to-head.”

Kansas concludes the Stacey Clark Classic on Saturday, Sept. 17 against Southeastern Louisiana.  

The Jayhawks begin their previously-announced Big 12 Conference double round-robin schedule on Wednesday, Sept. 21 against Oklahoma in Lawrence, promptly followed by a road swing at Texas on Saturday, Sept. 24.

KU’s Big 12 home schedule is highlighted by a date with Kansas State on Wednesday, Oct. 12, Texas on Saturday, Oct. 29, and Iowa State in the final home match of the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 19.

Kansas wraps up the regular season at Baylor on Saturday, Nov. 26.

Television appearances will be announced at a later date. Last season, Kansas made 17 appearances on TV and eight appearances streaming live exclusively on ESPN3.

The Jayhawks return five starters, including the libero, from an unprecedented 2015 season that finished with a No. 4 national ranking, 30-3 overall record, 14-2 record in Big 12 play, and the program’s first-ever berth in the NCAA Championship semifinals. KU’s returning starters include AVCA First Team All-American junior setter Ainise Havili, AVCA First Team All-American junior right-side hitter Kelsie Payne, First Team All-Big 12 senior middle blocker Tayler Soucie, Second Team All-Big 12 junior outside hitter Madison Rigdon, and PrepVolleyball.com All-American senior libero Cassie Wait.

• Kansas will play 28 total regular-season matches, including 12 at home in Horejsi Family Athletics Center, 11 on the road, and five at neutral-site locations.
• Kansas will play 11 matches against seven teams that competed in the 2015 NCAA Championship, including regional semifinalist Creighton and two dates with runner-up Texas.
• 19 of KU’s final 24 regular-season matches will be played against teams that finished in the top-100 of the final 2015 NCAA Rating Percentage Index (RPI).
• KU’s volleyball and football teams will share home competition dates on five Saturdays this fall – Sept. 3, Sept. 10, Oct. 8, Nov. 12, and Nov. 19.

Kansas Volleyball 2016 Opponents
2015 Results [Overall Record; Conf. Record (Conf. Finish); AVCA ranking; NCAA finish]
KANSAS [30-3; 14-2 Big 12 (2nd); No. 4 AVCA; NCAA Semifinalist]
Arkansas [17-13; 7-11 SEC (9th)]
Baylor [17-13; 5-11 Big 12 (7th)]
Chattanooga [26-6; 13-3 Southern (1st)]
Chicago State [1-27; 0-14 WAC (8th)]
Creighton [27-9; 17-1 BIG EAST (1st); No. 19 AVCA; NCAA Regional Semifinalist]
Eastern Washington [14-14; 9-7 Big Sky (t-3rd)]
Iowa State [19-11; 11-5 Big 12 (3rd); NCAA Second Round]
Kansas State [17-12; 9-7 Big 12 (t-4th); NCAA First Round]
Lamar [14-16; 4-12 Southland (t-12th)]
Maryland [15-19; 5-15 Big Ten (12th)]
Mississippi State [17-15; 6-12 SEC (10th)]
Northern Iowa [19-15; 12-6 MVC (t-4th); NCAA First Round]
Oklahoma [12-16; 6-10 Big 12 (6th)]
Purdue [23-10; 13-7 Big Ten (5th); No. 17 AVCA; NCAA Second Round]
Southeastern Louisiana [13-18; 7-9 Southland (t-8th)]
TCU [19-10; 9-7 Big 12 (t-4th); NCAA First Round]
Texas [30-3; 15-1 Big 12 (1st); No. 2 AVCA; NCAA Finalist]
Texas Tech [14-16; 3-13 Big 12 (8th)]
West Virginia [5-24; 0-16 Big 12 (9th)]
Xavier [18-12; 14-4 BIG EAST (t-2nd)]

Shared Home Dates

Date VB Opponent Football/Basketball Opponent
Sept. 3 Arkansas Rhode Island
Sept. 10 Northern Iowa Ohio
Oct. 1 Baylor Late Night in the Phog
Oct. 8 Texas Tech TCU
Nov. 12 TCU Iowa State
Nov. 19 Iowa State Texas

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