Kansas volleyball recognizes 2017 accomplishments at team banquet

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 2017 Kansas volleyball team gathered one last time in an official capacity as head coach Ray Bechard led the annual team banquet at Lawrence Country Club on Sunday.

The Jayhawks celebrated the 2017 season while looking ahead to the bright future of the program.

Celebrating the 2017 #KUvball season at the annual team banquet ???? pic.twitter.com/2PmSCXnG83

— Kansas Volleyball (@KUVolleyball) January 21, 2018

Coach Bechard summarized the Jayhawks’ season at the podium and showed appreciation for all the support that staff members and fans gave during the setup the Jayhawks for success in 2017. KU director of athletics Dr. Sheahon Zenger expressed his gratitude for the KU volleyball’s culture of excellence to consistently compete at the highest level.

In addition to Bechard and Dr. Zenger taking the podium to address the crowd, associate athletics director and volleyball sport administrator Jim Marchiony commemorated the season with opening remarks and assistant athletics director of equipment services Larry Hare gave the benediction.

Record breakers! #KUvball pic.twitter.com/KrMyvLPpPp

— Kansas Volleyball (@KUVolleyball) January 21, 2018

New assistant coaches Kelly Files and Billy Ebel, who recently completed their first week on campus, were in attendance with former assistants Laura Kuhn (now head coach at Texas A&M) and Todd Chamberlain (now an assistant coach in his hometown, Louisville).

After the meal, the group watched the season highlight video produced by Rock Chalk Video, the team received the class gifts and posed for photos. Freshmen received letter jackets, sophomore received a commemorative ‘K’ blanket, and seniors were gifted a framed jersey – there were no juniors on this season’s roster.

The seniors will also be presented with a ‘K’ ring later in the spring at a KU Athletics-wide event.

So thankful ??????#KUvball pic.twitter.com/WIqswBTZtb

— Kansas Volleyball (@KUVolleyball) January 21, 2018


• Earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth-straight season.
• Won 20 at least matches for the sixth-straight season.
• Defeated the most top-25 opponents in program history (four).
• Ranked No. 20 in the final NCAA RPI; sixth-straight season KU has finished with a top-20 RPI.
• Extended a program record for consecutive weeks in the AVCA Top 25 (45). Ranked in the top-20 all season (including five weeks in the top-10) up until the final poll of the season (receiving votes). 
• Ainise Havili became the only player in Big 12 history to win four-straight Big 12 Setter of the Year awards; she was also named the AVCA Midwest Region Player of the Year.
• Senior class ended their careers with 101 career victories, becoming the third-straight KU volley-ball senior class with at least 100 victories in a four-year period.
• Ainise Havili set KU’s all-time record for career assists (5,255); that mark also ranks fifth in the Big 12.
• Kelsie Payne set KU’s all-time records for career kills (1,510), career kills per set (3.63), and ca-reer hitting percentage (.334).
• All 12 home matches, plus one exhibition match, were played in front of a sold-out capacity crowd (1,302); second-straight season that season tickets have been sold out.
• AVCA All-America Third Team (Kelsie Payne)
• AVCA All-America Honorable Mention (Madison Rigdon, Ainise Havili)
• AVCA Midwest Region Player of the Year (Ainise Havili)
• Big 12 Setter of the Year (Ainise Havili)
• All-Big 12 First Team (Kelsie Payne, Ainise Havili, Madison Rigdon)
• All-Big 12 Second Team (Jada Burse, Zoe Hill)
• AVCA All-Midwest Region (Ainise Havili, Kelsie Payne, Madison Rigdon)
• AVCA All-Midwest Region Honorable Mention (Zoe Hill)





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