RCW: Inside Volleyball 3.14
Get a quick look inside your favorite Kansas Jayhawk programs each week with Rock Chalk Weekly’s Inside Sports pages. Notable statistics, quick hits and the top social media posts get every Jayhawk fan up-to-speed and ready for another week of thrilling competition.
Number BY THE NUMBERS
Fifth-seeded Kansas will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Championship for the fifth-straight season when it welcomes Samford to Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Thursday night (6:30 p.m., ESPN3). The winner of Kansas-Samford faces the winner of Creighton-Northern Iowa on Friday night (6:30 p.m., ESPN3).
UPCOMING HOME MATCHES
Tickets Samford (Dec. 1)
- Fourth-ranked and fifth-seeded Kansas (23-2, 12-1 Big 12) enters postseason play with the best winning percentage in the nation since the start of the 2015 season. The Jayhawks have .918 winning percentage and 56-5 record since last season.
- LET’S DANCE: Kansas begins its journey in the NCAA Volleyball Championship this week when hosting the first and second rounds in Horejsi Family Athletics Center Thursday and Friday. The Jayhawks enter the tournament with the highest overall seed in program history – No. 5. Kansas was a No. 9 overall seed during the program’s first appearance in the Final Four in 2015.
- KANSAS NEARLY SWEEPS BIG 12 AWARDS: Kansas earned the Big 12 Conference’s Player of the Year (Kelsie Payne), Libero of the Year (Cassie Wait), Setter of the Year (Ainise Havili) and Coach of the Year (Ray Bechard) awards, plus three additional All-Big 12 nods, in unprecedented fashion. The awards and All-Big 12 teams are voted on by the league’s head coaches. Payne and Wait are the first Jayhawks to win their respective individual conference awards, while Havili and Bechard are back-to-back winners. Bechard has earned Big 12 Coach of the Year honors in four of the last five seasons. Madison Rigdon joined Payne, Havili and Wait on the All-Big 12 First Team. Tayler Soucie earned her third-straight All-Big 12 honor as a second-team member. Jada Burse checked in on the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.
- OUTRIGHT CHAMPIONS: Kansas clinched its first-ever Big 12 Conference regular-season title with a home victory against Iowa State on Senior Day, Nov. 19, before winning the title outright in the season finale at Baylor on Nov. 26. Both matches were against the eventual 2106 NCAA Tournament teams and both went to five sets. KU’s 15-1 record during league play also proved to snap Texas’ five-year streak of winning the title. The Jayhawks become the second team other than Texas or Nebraska to win a Big 12 title in the league’s 21-year history.
- SENSATIONAL SENIORS: Seniors Maggie Anderson, Tayler Soucie and Cassie Wait have a 103-22 (.824) record during their four-year playing careers at Kansas.
- NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Kansas wrapped up its first-ever undefeated season at home as the Jayhawks enter NCAA postseason play with a 16-match winning streak inside Horejsi Family Athletics Center. KU went 12-0 at home during the regular season. The Jayhawks are 33-1 in the last 34 matches at home.
- WINNING: For the first time in program history, Kansas has a pair of 10-match winning streaks in the same season. The Jayhawks started the season 10-0, and have won the last 14 matches. Kansas boasts the best winning percentage in the nation since the start of the 2015 season at 56-5 (.918).
- TOP-10: Kansas remained at No. 4 for the fifth-straight week in the AVCA Coaches Poll on Monday. The Jayhawks have been ranked in the top-25 for a program-record 30-consecutive weeks (since Sept. 7, 2015), including 25-consecutive weeks in the top-10 (since Oct. 5, 2015). KU’s No. 4 ranking ties a program high in the AVCA Coaches Poll for the ninth time.
- FIVE SET SUCCESS: Kansas is 8-0 in five-set matches this season, including five five-set wins in the last seven matches.
- BECHARD RECORDS: Kansas head coach Ray Bechard is 351-231 (.603) in his 19th season at KU. Since 2012, the Jayhawks are 129-29 (.816) under Bechard.