No. 4 Kansas volleyball set to honor transformative class on Senior Day against Iowa State
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Maggie Anderson. Tayler Soucie. Cassie Wait.
The trio of names that been at the heart Kansas volleyball’s recent success and culture transformation will be honored before the fourth-ranked Jayhawks take the court for their regular-season home finale against Iowa State on Saturday (11 a.m., JTV/ESPN3).
“There is a debt of gratitude for this senior class,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “I don’t know if there is class that has done more to develop a culture of success. They embody and define what Kansas volleyball is all about now.”
With a 101-22 record in the last four seasons, no other senior class in program history has had a better winning percentage (.821).
When Anderson, a fifth-year senior, arrived on campus the Jayhawks were coming off a 3-13 Big 12 campaign in 2011. But during her time in Lawrence, Anderson has been a member of soon-to-be five NCAA Tournament teams, including the 2015 Final Four.
Kansas natives Soucie (Osawatomie) and Wait (Gardner) arrived on campus a year later than Anderson in 2013 and have simply been one of the best performers at their respective positions in program history.
Soucie, a four-year starter at middle blocker, ranks second in career blocks at Kansas, entering Saturday with 518. Wait leads the Big 12 in digs per set (5.23) this season and stands second in career digs (1,878) at Kansas in just three seasons as a starting libero.
The class’ contributions extend well beyond the court to roles as academic leaders on campus, each earning Academic All-Big 12 honors three times.
Anderson will graduate with a degree in supply chain management in December and step into a full-time job in January where she will immediately oversee 25 employees. Soucie is the in the process of applying for physician assistant school with a bright future in the medial field. Wait earned her finance degree in three years and began her first semester at KU’s School of Law this fall.
The Jayhawks have the opportunity to make this Senior Day extra special. With one more win, Kansas will at least clinch a share of its first-ever Big 12 volleyball title.
“I can’t imagine a better ending, but regardless of the outcome tomorrow, it will not diminish what these young ladies have done,” Bechard said.
Waiting on the other side of the net will be a tough Iowa State team (16-9, 8-5) that has won six-straight matches, including a five-set win over No. 5 Texas that helped lift KU into sole possession of first place in the Big 12 standings last week.
Iowa State leads the all-time series with Kansas, 47-41-1. Since the start of Big 12 play in 1996, the Jayhawks have a 24-17 advantage in the series. KU’s current four-match winning streak over the Cyclones is the longest for the Jayhawks since winning 10-straight from 2000 to 2004.
Kansas won the first meeting of the season against Iowa State in four sets on Oct. 5, despite dropping the first set (23-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-19). Junior All-American right-side hitter Kelsie Payne poured in 18 kills with eight blocks. The Jayhawks out-blocked ISU, 15.5 to 6.0 as both teams recorded a hitting percentage .200 in the defensive battle.
LAST TIME OUT
Kansas was pushed to five sets on the road at West Virginia on Wednesday night in Morgantown but managed to extend its winning streak to 12 by finishing with a strong fifth set (25-18, 18-25, 25-18, 20-25, 15-8). The Jayhawks rallied around the absence of All-American Kelsie Payne, who exited the match in the second set with a minor injury. Madison Rigdon led the Jayhawks with 15 kills, adding nine digs and six blocks, and Jada Burse had 11 kills and four blocks. Tayler Soucie contributed seven kills and seven block-assists – reaching six or more blocks for the fourth-straight match. Cassie Wait held KU’s back row intact with 21 digs while serving up a match-high two service aces.
BECHARD ONE WIN AWAY FROM 350 AT KU
Kansas head coach Ray Bechard is one win away from his 350th win as head coach at Kansas. The 19th-year head coach is already the winningest coach in program history with a 349-231 (.602) record. Since 2012, Kansas has posted a 127-29 (.814) record under Bechard. It was just last season when Bechard reached his 300th win at Kansas after a three-set win over Duke (Sept. 4, 2015).
100 WINS FOR SENIOR CLASS
Seniors Maggie Anderson, Tayler Soucie and Cassie Wait celebrated their 100th win as a group on Nov. 12 after Kansas defeated TCU in four sets. In their four-year playing careers at Kansas, the tremendous trio boasts a 101-22 record (.821), including a 54-5 record (.915) since 2015.
• Senior recognition after the match.
• Bring nonperishable items to donate to Just Food.
• Post a picture to social media with a Kansas volleyball senior, using hashtag #KUFanPix, for a chance to win an autographed jersey.
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