RCW: Sport Spotlight 4.14 (Volleyball)


“Coming to Kansas is the best decision I have ever made.”

All-Americans Madison Rigdon, Kelsie Payne and Ainise Havili all shared the same sentiment after their final match in a #KUvball jersey pic.twitter.com/0Xm0a7Ay8B

— Kansas Volleyball (@KUVolleyball) December 2, 2017



The day I never thought would come is here. When I have to hang up that #11 and move on. I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity to play the game I love with so many girls that have become my best friends. Thank you to my coaches who have believed in me from the start and to my family that have shown their love and support the whole way. It didn’t end how we would’ve liked but nothing can takeaway what we’ve accomplished. It’s been an honor to wear Kansas across my chest for four years.  #RockChalkJayhawk

A post shared by Ainise Havili (@ahavili) on Dec 5, 2017 at 12:16pm PST

The 2017 Kansas volleyball season came to an end after the program’s sixth-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament last week in Wichita.
This season’s senior class has had a profound impact on the program in the last four years, including a total of 101 wins, first-ever trips to the “Elite Eight” and “Final Four” in 2015 and a first-ever conference title in 2016.
On top of maintaining six-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, six-straight 20-win seasons and six-straight 10-win conference seasons, the group has had a profound impact on KU’s record books.
Here is a quick look at where KU’s senior class stands in the annals of Kansas volleyball after their final match in Crimson and Blue:

  • Kelsie Payne leaves Kansas with three career records and two single-season records. The Austin, Texas, native ranks first in the KU record books in career kills (1,510), career kills per set (3.63), career hitting percentage (.334), single-season kills (496 in 2015), single-season hitting percentage (.386 in 2015).
  • Ainise Havili is the all-time career assists leader at KU and the only player in Big 12 history to capture three-straight Big 12 Setter of the Year awards. She led Kansas to two of the most efficient offensive seasons in program history with a record .299 team hitting percentage in 2015 and a .255 clip in 2017. Her final career assists tally of 5,255 not only is the highest in KU history, but also the fifth-most in Big 12 Conference history. She is the only player in the Big 12’s top-10 list for career assists who played all four years of her career in the 25-point-set rally-scoring era — which offers less scoring (and assist) opportunities than the 30-point-set rally-scoring era (2001-07) and the side-out scoring era that ended following the 2000 season.
  • Madison Rigdon owns the KU record for most aces in a three-set match during the rally-scoring era (since 2001) with six against Texas Tech on Oct. 8, 2016. In the KU record books, Rigdon stands second in career attack attempts (3,663), second in service aces (136), third in service aces per set (0.33), sixth in total points (1,495.0) and ninth in total kills (1,261).
  • Ainise Havili and Kelsie Payne became the program’s first first-team AVCA All-Americans in program history in 2015. Payne earned first-team All-America honors again in 2016. This season’s All-America honors will be announced next week.
  • Kelsie Payne became KU’s first Big 12 Player of the Year in 2016, and also the program’s first Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017.
  • The 2017 graduating class is the third-straight class with at least 100 victories in a four-year period.
  • The seniors helped guide KU to its first top-10 ranking in the AVCA Coaches Poll on Oct. 5, 2015, and spent the next 25 weeks in the top-10. Kansas ended the regular season with a top-25 ranking for 45th-straight week.