No. 19 Kansas faces Missouri in NCAA Tournament showdown Friday

• Kansas is making its sixth-straight and ninth overall NCAA Tournament appearance.
• Kansas and Missouri are meeting for the 87th time in program history. For the second time in the last three years the former conference rivals are meeting during NCAA Tournament play.
• KU’s .258 hitting percentage is the second-highest clip in program history.
• The Tigers rank sixth in the nation in blocks per set (3.03).
• The 19th-ranked Jayhawks have been ranked in the AVCA Coaches Poll 45-straight times.
• KU has won at least 20 overall matches and at least 10 Big 12 matches in the last six seasons, from 2012 to 2017.
• Kansas has five wins over teams currently ranked the AVCA Coaches Poll.
• All-Big 12 First Team right-side hitter Kelsie Payne holds KU records for career kills (1,500), hitting percentage (.337) and kills per set (3.65).
• Three-time Big 12 Setter of the Year Ainise Havili holds KU’s career assists record (5,155) and leads the Big 12 in assists per set this season (11.47).
• All-Big 12 First Team outside hitter Madison Rigdon led Kansas in kills per set (3.70) during conference play this season.  
• Tori Miller grew up in the Wichita area (Derby). Miller has started the last six matches for KU.
• Four different Jayhawks have earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week awards (Payne, Havili, Rigdon, Zoe Hill).
• Head coach Ray Bechard is in his 20th season at Kansas. The four-time Big 12 Coach of the Year is the winningest coach in Kansas volleyball history and has led KU to all nine NCAA Tournament appearances.
• The University of Kansas and Kansas Athletics announced on Sept. 22 plans to construct a new 3,000-seat volleyball arena thanks to the generosity of the Stewart Horejsi Family.

Kansas and Missouri will meet for the 87th time in program history on Friday. The Tigers lead the all-time series, 51-35. Kansas won the last meeting in straight sets during the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament in Lawrence. KU and MU are meeting for the second time in the postseason since Missouri’s departure from the Big 12 following the 2011-12 academic year. Friday also marks the first time since a 1985 Big Eight Tournament match in Kansas City that KU and Mizzou have played one another at a neutral site.

This season the Tigers are one of the top blocking teams in the land, entering postseason play ranked sixth in the nation in blocks per set (3.03). All-SEC middle blocker Alyssa Munlyn leads MU’s front-line defense with 1.52 blocks per set, which ranks eighth in the nation. Middle blocker Alyssa Munlyn also earned All-SEC honors, while middle blocker Kayla Caffey was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.

Missouri coaches Wayne and Susan Kreklow are in their 18th season leading the Tigers. Their daughter, Ali, is a senior setter in Missouri’s 6-2 offensive system. Ali is a former high school teammate of KU’s Kayla Cheadle at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia.

Kansas makes its sixth-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament this weekend in Wichita. KU enters this weekend’s action with a 9-8 all-time record in nine all-time postseason appearances. Kansas is 5-2 in its last seven tourney matches

The 19th-ranked Jayhawks are not hosting the first and second rounds for the first time since 2005, breaking a five-year streak. KU joined Stanford, Penn State, Nebraska, Texas, Washington and Florida as the only eight schools to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament from 2012 to 2016.

Head coach Ray Bechard has led Kansas to all of its nine NCAA Tournament appearances.

LIVE COVERAGE will video stream Friday’s NCAA Tournament first round match between Kansas and Missouri. Audio of the match will be available on

Kansas concluded the regular season with a five-set loss to West Virginia on Nov. 25. Despite the loss, Kansas outpaced WVU in kills (72 to 62), hitting percentage (.314 to .240), digs (58 to 57) and blocks (13.0 to 7.5). But the Jayhawks gave up 13 points on service errors and the Mountaineers registered seven aces. It is the first time since a loss against No. 5 Texas on Nov. 11, 2015, that Kansas lost a match when recording a hitting percentage of .300 or better.

On the first point scored of the match, a kill by Kelsie Payne broke KU’s all-time kills record. Payne finished with a team-high 17 kills on a .395 clip with seven blocks. Kayla Cheadle came off the bench to tie a career high in blocks (nine). Ainise Havili recorded her 12th 50-assist performance of the season with 54, adding nine digs and seven kills. Madison Rigdon recorded her 12th double-double of the season with 16 kills and 10 digs. On Senior Day, KU started senior defensive specialists Addison Barry and Tori Miller.

Kansas defeated Missouri in three sets during the NCAA Second Round match in Lawrence on Dec. 4, 2015. Kansas advanced to the regional round in San Diego behind 16 kill by Kelsie Payne on a .500 hitting percentage. Middle blocker Tayler Soucie had six blocks and libero Cassie Wait posted a staggering 19 digs and in just three sets to help hold Mizzou to a .061 hitting percentage. The win improved KU’s record to 28-2; the Jayhawks eventually finished with a 30-3 record after advancing to the Final Four in Omaha.

Chelsea Albers’ career-high 17 kills led Kansas to a 3-1 win over Wichita State in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament in front of 4,000 fans inside Allen Fieldhouse. Caroline Jarmoc also came up big for the Jayhawks, finishing with 16 kills and four aces on a match-high .600 hitting percentage. Kansas served up a season-high 10 aces. The categories on the final stat sheet were nearly identical between the two teams as Kansas was out-hit, .291 to .275, marking the first time a Kansas team was out-hit and still won a match during the 2013 season.

If Kansas and Radford advance to the second round, it will be the first series meeting in program history. Radford has not played KU, Missouri nor Wichita State in volleyball prior to 2017.

Senior All-American setter Ainise Havili holds KU’s record for career assists with 5,209 entering Friday’s match.

Havili passed Andi Rozum’s record of 4,772 in the second set against No. 5 Texas (Oct. 11) and finished the night with 50 assists. The Fort Worth, Texas, native broke the record as KU was facing a UT set point in the second set, 24-23. She guided her 4,773rd career assist to Jada Burse, who registered a kill to tie the set at 24.

Havili has started in all of KU’s 123 matches since her freshman season in 2014.

Havili ranks sixth on the Big 12’s career assists list. She is the only player on the Big 12’s top-10 list who has played her entire career in the 25-point set scoring era, which began in 2008.

Havili also ranks sixth in career digs (1,295) and 18th in service aces (102) at KU. Havili became the 18th Jayhawk to reach 100 career aces against Texas (Oct. 11), which is also the night she broke the career assists record. She passed the 4,000-assist mark with 43 assists against Missouri State (Aug. 26) and became the first Jayhawk to pass the 5,000-assist mark with 51 assists at TCU (Nov. 4). The Fort Worth, Texas, native became the 14th Jayhawk to reach 1,000 career digs with 14 against NC State (Aug. 26).

Senior All-American right-side hitter Kelsie Payne holds KU records for career kills (1,500), hitting percentage (.337) and kills per set (3.65).

The Austin, Texas, native passed Josi Lima (2002-05) on KU’s career kills list on Senior Day, Nov. 25, by recording the first kill of the match against West Virginia. Payne and Lima entered the match tied at 1,483 kills each.

Payne also ranks 10th in career blocks (347) and is the only pin hitter in KU history with 1,000 kills and a hitting percentage of .300 or higher.

Last season Payne became the 15th Jayhawk to reach 1,000 kills, and on Sept. 15 against San Jose State she became the 13th Jayhawk to reach 300 blocks.

In addition to Ainise Havili and Kelsie Payne holding KU career records, fellow senior All-American Madison Rigdon is making a significant impact on KU’s record books.

Rigdon ranks ninth in career kills (1,246), tied for second in career aces (134) and fourth in career attack attempts (3,617). Rigdon became the 16th Jayhawk to reach 1,000 career kills with 15 against Purdue (Sept. 8).

A two-time Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week this season, Rigdon has improved in nearly every statistical category since her freshman season. During the 2017 season, she features career highs in kills per set, digs per set and blocks per set.

Due to injury, Rigdon missed three matches this season, which broke a string of 59-straight appearances in KU’s starting lineup.

Ainise Havili earned a record-setting third-straight Big 12 Setter of the Year honor to highlight a total of five Jayhawks who were listed on the All-Big 12 Teams released on Nov. 27.

Setter of the Year: Ainise Havili
All-Big 12 First Team: Ainise Havili, Kelsie Payne, Madison Rigdon
All-Big 12 Second Team: Zoe Hill, Jada Burse

Havili extends her mark in the Big 12 record books as the only setter to be named Setter of the Year three times. Previously, no setter has ever earned the status more than once. The Fort Worth, Texas, native led the Big 12 in assists per set (11.47) and led Kansas to the second-highest hitting percentage in program history (.258). Havili has 12 50-assist matches this season, including the most assists recorded by a Big 12 player this season with 63 at NC State. 

Payne’s third All-Big 12 First Team honor comes fresh off breaking KU’s all-time record for career kills in the final match of the regular season. The Austin Texas, native ranks third in Big 12 in kills per set (3.73) and fourth in points per set (4.17). The two-time AVCA first-team All-American features five 20-kill matches this season.

Rigdon earns All-Big 12 First Team for the second-straight season after ranking third in the Big 12 in points per set (4.20) and second in aces per set (0.27). The six-rotation player and two-time Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week has led Kansas in kill-dig double-doubles for three-straight seasons, including 12 in 2017.

Hill led Big 12 in hitting percentage during conference play (.406) and finished regular season with 104 total blocks. The Houston, Texas, native averaged 2.16 points per set and 0.99 blocks per set during her sophomore campaign. After posting a .708 hitting percentage in a span of two matches, Hill earned her first in Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honor on Oct. 9 this season.

Burse averaged the third-most kills per set (2.48) for the Jayhawks during the regular season and has reached double-figure kills in 13 matches entering the postseason. The DeSoto, Texas, native was a Big 12 All-Freshman Team honoree in 2016.

First Team (3.20-plus GPA)
Addison Barry, Sr., Community Health
Kayla Cheadle, Sr., Sport Management
Allie Nelson, So., Pre-Business
Madison Rigdon, Sr., Exercise Science

Second Team (3.00-3.19 GPA)
Zoe Hill, So., Pre-Business
Tori Miller, Sr., Exercise Science

Senior defensive specialist Tori Miller is returning home to the Wichita area for the NCAA Tournament First & Second Rounds. Miller grew up in nearby Derby, Kansas, and attended Derby High School from 2012 to 2014. During her senior season, Miller was named the Derby High School Female Athlete of the Year and earned class 6A second-team all-state honors. She was also a four-year starter on the softball team, and was twice named an all-state second team honoree on the diamond.

Sophomore defensive specialist Jacqui Mostrom’s sister, Gabi, is a senior libero at Wichita State. In fact, a member of the Mostrom family has been on Wichita State’s roster since 2012, when Jacqui and Gabi’s sister Dani began her collegiate career which eventually ended in 2016 just shy of 2,000 career digs. The Mostroms grew up in Springfield, Missouri, and attended Parkview High School and Glendale High School.

Kansas has played a program-record nine top-25 matchups. The Jayhawks have played a total of 31 top-25 matchups, which began in 2004 with the program’s first-ever ranking in the AVCA Coaches Poll.

Kansas reached 20 wins with a victory at TCU on Nov. 4. It marks the sixth-straight and 16th time overall in program history the Jayhawks have reached 20 wins in a season.

Since KU’s streak of 20-win seasons began in 2012, the Jayhawks have a 152-37 record, good for a .804 winning percentage. From 2012 to 2016, KU averaged 26 wins per season. KU’s last six 20-win seasons have also included at least 10 Big 12 Conference wins.

The last three seasons have been some of the fastest Kansas has ever reached 20 wins, doing so in 21 matches in 2015, 22 matches in 2016, and 24 matches in 2017. In 2015, KU reached 20 wins with a four-set win at Iowa State (Oct. 28, 2015). Last season, Kansas reached 20 wins with a five-set victory over No. 2 Texas (Oct. 29, 2016).

Senior setter Ainise Havili has recorded an assist-dig double-double in 21 of KU’s 29 matches this season. The Jayhawks combine for 17 kill-dig double-doubles this season as senior outside hitter Madison Rigdon has 12 and senior right-side hitter Kelsie Payne has five.

Havili, Rigdon and Payne have all recorded a double-double in the same match three times this season — against Missouri State (Aug. 26), Iowa State (Sept. 27) and Texas (Oct. 11).

Kansas totals 140 career double-doubles on its current roster.

Kansas has nine scoring runs of 7-0 or greater and 43 runs of 5-0 or greater this season. Senior defensive specialist Tori Miller has been the primary server during seven of KU’s nine unanswered scoring runs of seven points or more. The Jayhawks have a 5-2 record in matches featuring a KU scoring run of 7-0 or longer.

KU’s longest run of the season (10-0) occurred when Miller was at the service line. KU went on a 10-0 run at the end of a 25-16 fourth-set win over then-No. 18 Iowa State (Sept. 27); the Jayhawks won the match in five sets.

KU’s .258 hitting percentage this season is the second-highest clip in program history, only ranking behind KU’s 2015 Final Four team (.299). This season, Kansas ranks third in the Big 12 and 27th nationally in hitting percentage. 

Kansas volleyball is ranked No. 19 in the AVCA Coaches Poll released on Monday. Kansas has been ranked for 45-straight AVCA polls. Four of the Big 12’s nine teams are ranked in the top-25 this week.

The Jayhawks have played nine matches against current top-25 teams this season with wins over No. 6 Kentucky, No. 15 Purdue, No. 19 Baylor, No. 23 Iowa State and No. 25 Missouri State. KU is 5-4 against current top-25 teams, including a 1-1 record against current top-10 opponents.

Since the start of the 2015 season, Kansas has the sixth-highest winning percentage in all of NCAA Division I (.859). The Jayhawks are 79-13 in the last three seasons.

Kansas is 30-6 in its last 36 Big 12 contests.

KU’s 19-match winning streak against Big 12 opponents ended with a five-set loss to No. 5 Texas (Oct. 11). It goes down in the record books as the longest conference winning streak in program history for the Jayhawks. The winning streak took place over a full calendar year, starting with a win over Baylor on Oct. 1, 2016, and ending on Oct. 11, 2017.

KU’s road loss at No. 22 Iowa State (Oct.28) broke a 42-match Big 12 Conference winning streak against teams other than the perennial top-5 Texas Longhorns. The previous non-UT loss was a five-set road loss at TCU on Nov. 1, 2014. Kansas and Texas account for the last six Big 12 titles.

All eight of KU’s Big 12 winning streaks of four matches or longer have ended with losses to top-25 teams.

For the second-consecutive season, KU’s home court, Horejsi Family Athletics Center (1,300), has sold out its allotment of season tickets. Horejsi Family Athletics Center has sold out for 21-straight home matches.

Kansas has played seven five-set matches this season (4-3), including five during Big 12 play (3-2). The Jayhawks opened conference play with back-to-back five-set victories at K-State (Sept. 24) and against No. 18 Iowa State (Sept. 27). Kansas earned the pair of victories after rallying from a 1-2 deficit at K-State and a 0-2 deficit against Iowa State. KU’s five-set loss to No. 5 Texas (Oct. 11) was the third-straight time Kansas and Texas had gone five sets in Lawrence.

Kansas has earned six of the 11 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week awards so far this season.

In the first three weeks of the regular season, Kansas took home the honor with Ainise Havili (Aug. 28), Kelsie Payne (Sept. 4) and Madison Rigdon (Sept. 11) honored by the league. Havili won the honor a second time on Oct. 2, followed by Zoe Hill’s first-career Big 12 weekly honor on Oct. 9. Rigdon’s second honor of the season was on Oct. 23.

KU’s six Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week nods are the second-most in program history, behind 2015’s seven honors.

Since the Big 12 began awarding offensive players of the week in 2007, there have been only three times when a team has earned three-straight Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors from three different players. Kansas has done it the last two times in 2013 and 2017.

Ray Bechard is in his 20th season as head coach of Kansas volleyball this season. During his tenure as the leader of the program, Bechard has become the winningest coach in program history while charting an unprecedented era of success. The western Kansas native has recruited and coached all nine of KU’s AVCA All-Americans and has more than 1,000 career victories in his 33-year head coaching career at Barton County Community College (1985-97) and KU (1998-present).

The winner of Kansas-Missouri will face the winner of Wichita State-Radford in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Koch Arena on Saturday at 7 p.m.



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