No. 8 Kansas volleyball hosts UMKC in exhibition play
Beginning in August 2017, fans will be allowed to bring only one clear plastic bag no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches or a one-gallon, clear, resealable plastic storage bag per person inside Kansas athletics events.
Fans will also be allowed a small clutch purse not to exceed 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches.
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas and UMKC will symbolically bookend the 2017 season for all of NCAA Division I volleyball as the two teams meet on Saturday in an exhibition contest. Later in December the athletic departments will co-host the NCAA Championship final four in Kansas City’s Sprint Center to conclude the season.
Saturday’s match will begin at 1 p.m. inside Horejsi Family Athletics Center. Season tickets are sold out for the second-straight season, but a limited number are available online via StubHub, the official fan-to fan ticket marketplace of Kansas Athletics.
ESPN3 will televise the match on WatchESPN or the ESPN app. TV analyst and KU volleyball alum Jill Dorsey-Hall and play-by-play veteran Leif Lisec return to the broadcast booth to call the action.
Before the match begins, the 2016 team will be honored when the Big 12 championship banner will be unveiled in the rafters of Horejsi Family Athletics Center. Last season marked the first conference title in program history. The Jayhawks finished conference play with a 15-1 record to win sole possession of the title over five-time defending champion Texas. During KU’s regular season home opener on Sept. 4 against Kentucky, the first 500 fans in the doors will receive a free replica Big 12 championship banner.
Jayhawks ranked eighth nationally
Kansas volleyball will begin the 2017 season ranked No. 8 in the AVCA Coaches’ Poll. The Jayhawks have been ranked 32-straight times in the AVCA poll, including 26 of the last 27 weeks in the top-10. Kansas will face four teams ranked in the preseason rankings, including No. 1 Texas, No. 9 Creighton, No. 14 Kentucky and No. 25 Purdue. KU’s matches against Creighton, Kentucky and Purdue all occur in the same week.
Celebrating 50 years of women’s sports at KU
All-Americans Kelsie Payne, Ainise Havili and Madison Rigdon are currently carving their legacies in Kansas volleyball history, but with the 2017-18 academic year set to begin it is a great reminder of those who pioneered and paved the way for future female student-athletes to don the Crimson and Blue. The opportunity for women to compete for the University of Kansas was solidified in 1968. This school year, then, marks the 50th season of intercollegiate women’s athletics at KU, and the Department of Athletics will take the year to celebrate this milestone. During the pregame warmup, KU will sport a commemorative T-shirt to honor the 50-year evolution of women’s sports in the athletics department. These commemorative T-shirts will be worn throughout the year by all female Jayhawk student-athletes prior to each competition. In addition, several events are being scheduled and planned, including KU volleyball’s alumni reunion on Saturday, Sept. 9 before the Creighton match.
Kansas receives three first-place votes
Kansas was voted second with three first-place votes in the Big 12 volleyball preseason coaches’ poll this season. The Jayhawks totaled 59 points in the poll, just three shy of league favorite and the nation’s preseason top-ranked team, Texas. KU’s three first-place votes in the preseason poll are the most in program history. The Jayhawks were also picked to finished second before the 2014 and 2016 seasons – both times with one first-place vote.
Payne named Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year
For the second-straight season, senior All-American right-side hitter Kelsie Payne has been tabbed as the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year by the conference coaches. In 2016, Payne lived up to her preseason billing, becoming the first Jayhawk to earn Big 12 Player of the Year honors after leading Kansas to its first-ever Big 12 title. In addition to preseason player of the year honors, Payne and senior All-American setter Ainise Havili and senior All-American outside hitter Madison Rigdon were unanimous selections to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team.
Exhibitions: A first for NCAA volleyball
2017 is the first year that the NCAA has allowed exhibition contests between schools before the first date of competition in the sport of volleyball.
Long-time KU assistant returns
Christi Posey, KU grad and long-time assistant under KU head coach Ray Bechard, returns to Lawrence on Saturday as the head coach of UMKC. Posey is in her seventh season leading the Roos with a 98-76 record. Posey spent 11 seasons on Bechard’s staff at KU from 2000 to 2010, helping build the foundation for unprecedented success in recent years.
Simpson’s family ties to UMKC
Kansas senior transfer Gabby Simpson’s mother, Serena (née McCall), played for the Roos from 1984-86. Simpson, a right-side hitter and a setter, has will have one year of eligibility remaining entering the 2016 season. She was a three-year starter at Colorado who earned All-Pac-12 honors in 2015 and 2016.
Montero out for the season
Sophomore outside hitter Patricia Montero will not compete during the 2017 season due to an anterior cruciate ligament tear in her left knee which occurred during preseason practice. The Puerto Rico native was primed for a productive season as “nobody was playing as well as she was during our two-a-days,” head coach Ray Bechard said during media day on Wednesday, Aug. 16.
Kansas opens the regular season on the road against NC State at the Wolfpack Invitational on Friday, Aug. 25.
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