New banner, on-court depth displayed during Crimson & Blue Scrimmage
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The commemoration of an unprecedented 2015 Final Four season was hung from the rafters before the 2016 version of Kansas Volleyball showed a wide range of depth and competitiveness during the Crimson & Blue Scrimmage on Saturday afternoon inside Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
Before first serve, all 15 Jayhawks tugged on a rope that pulled back a blue certain to reveal the 2015 Final Four banner.
“It was cool for the team to take part in that,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “We loved having this opportunity to show this to our fans who have been so great to us through the years. But as we prepare for a new season, we have to move on to create some more opportunities for 2016.”
On the court, the rosters for the Crimson and Blue teams changed each set for different lineups throughout the three-set match. The Crimson team tallied a 2-1 (14-25, 25-16, 25-22) victory with the help of a combined .319 hitting percentage in the second and third sets.
Redshirt freshman Ashley Smith paced the Jayhawks offensively as all her 10 kills came on the Blue team’s side of the net, while adding eight digs as a six-rotation player.
Backup setter Maggie Anderson assisted on a match-high 32 kills. She guided the Blue team to a .351 hitting percentage during a 25-22 second-set victory.
Each set featured a different combination at the libero positions as all five defensive specialists led the back row for at least one set.
“Everyone on this team has that fire and will to win,” junior defensive specialist Addison Barry said. “Everyone is out here to play at a high level and that doesn’t affect any of our team chemistry at all. I think that sets KU above the bar. This team chemistry – everyone has a competitive edge with an I-got-your-back-through-anything love. As we continue to compete against one another, it can only go up from there.”
The intrasquad scrimmage also marked the end of a rigorous two-a-day practices for the Jayhawks.
“There is no complacency in this team,” Bechard said. “We got after it in practice right after we started. We had a couple breaks from two-a-days, but it was pretty much straight through. It was their willingness to want to prepare to play at a high level when we open up next week.”
As class begins at The University of Kanas this week, the Jayhawks will return to a regular practice schedule.
The 2016 regular season campaign begins on Friday, August 26 at the Bulldog Classic against host Mississippi State. The season-opening weekend in Starkville, Mississippi continues on Saturday with matchups against Eastern Washington and Lamar.
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