Five Jayhawks earn AVCA All-Midwest Region honors

Link AVCA All-Region Teams 

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kansas volleyball landed an unprecedented amount of Jayhawks on the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Midwest Region Team released on Tuesday by the association, as voted on by the region’s head coaches.

Five Jayhawks represent Kansas on the all-region team, including three-time honoree Ainise Havili, and two-time honorees Kelsie Payne and Tayler Soucie. Senior libero Cassie Wait and junior outside hitter Madison Rigdon were given an all-region nod for the first time.

The Midwest region is the largest region in the AVCA and is comprised of 40 teams from eight conferences – Atlantic 10, Big 12, Big Sky, MAC, Missouri Valley, Ohio Valley, Summit League, and WAC.

Payne, a junior right-side hitter, became KU’s first-ever Big 12 Player of the Year after helping lead the Jayhawks to the outright Big 12 regular-season title and ranking top-three in kills per set (4.07) and points per set (4.77) during conference action. After a breakout 2015 All-American campaign, Payne’s dynamic offensive talent wasn’t going to catch the conference off guard as she entered 2016 with Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year expectations. Payne lived up to those expectations, and more, while she adjusted to becoming a six-rotation player for the first time in her career – finishing the season with eight double-doubles, five 20-kill performances and 18 matches with at least three blocks.

Havili, a reigning All-American setter, earned Big 12 Setter of the Year for the second-straight season in 2016. During conference play, Havili averaged 10.71 assists per set and helped lead the Jayhawks to the second-best conference hitting percentage. Havili features seven matches with 50 or more assists and has a team-high 16 double-doubles, including nine-straight to end the season.

Wait, a senior libero, was the Big 12 coaches’ unanimous decision for Big 12 Libero of the Year after leading the Big 12 in digs per set (5.11). The first-year student in KU’s School of Law finished her collegiate career ranked second in career digs at Kansas (1,958), is a three-time 2016 Big 12 Player of the Week (Sept. 5, Sept. 12, Oct. 17), and a CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree.

Rigdon, a junior outside hitter, represented Kansas on the All-Big 12 First Team after her most productive season as a Jayhawk, featuring two nonconference tournament MVP honors (Bulldog Classic, Bluejay Invitational) while leading the Big 12 in aces per set (0.49). Rigdon has increased production across the board in kills, hitting accuracy, digs and service aces. 

Soucie finished her collegiate career just 10 blocks shy of setting KU’s all-time blocks record. The senior middle blocker earned All-Big 12 honors for the third-straight season, checking in on the second team in 2016. The Osawatomie, Kansas native led the conference in blocks per set (1.52) during Big 12 play this season.

KU’s AVCA All-Region honorees
Chelsea Albers – 2013, 2014
Ainise Havili – 2014, 2015, 2016
Caroline Jarmoc – 2011*, 2012, 2013
Josi Lima – 2003
Sara McClinton – 2013
Erin McNorton – 2013
Kelsie Payne – 2015, 2016
Madison Rigdon – 2016
Tayler Soucie – 2013, 2015, 2016*
Cassie Wait – 2016

* – honorable mention

2016 AVCA All-Midwest Region Team
Ainise Havili, Kansas (Jr. S)
Kelsie Payne, Kansas (Jr. RS)
Madison Rigdon, Kansas (Jr. OH)
Cassie Wait, Kansas (Sr. L)
Jane Emmenecker, Dayton (Jr. S)
Amber Erhahon, Dayton (Jr. MB)
Jess Schaben, Iowa State (So. OH)
Katie Brand, Kansas State (Sr. S)
Lily Johnson, Missouri State (Jr. OH)
Kayla Haneline, Northern Iowa (Sr. MB)
Danielle Rygelski, Saint Louis (Sr. OH)
Payton Caffrey, West Virginia (Fr. OH)
Jody Larson, Wichita State (Sr. RS)
Abbie Lehman, Wichita State (Jr. MB)

Tayler Soucie, Kansas (Sr. MB)
Laura Milos, Oral Roberts (Jr. OH)
Brooke Sassin, Kansas State (Sr. OH)
Scottie Ingram, Murray State (Sr. OH)
Jenna Radtke, Northern Illinois (Sr. MB)
Emma Hagedorn, UMKC (Sr. MB)

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