Volleyball Standouts Set to Begin Journey with USA Volleyball

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Nearly six months have passed since Kansas volleyball reached the pinnacle of the program’s history with an appearance in the NCAA Championship semifinals in December 2015. Four standout members of that team will continue to strive for unprecedented marks as they begin their journey with USA Volleyball this weekend in California.

AVCA All-American setter Ainise Havili and All-Big 12 outside hitter Madison Rigdon will train with the U.S. Collegiate National Team in Los Angeles this weekend before traveling overseas for a tour of China. Havili, Rigdon, and the 12-player Collegiate National Team (CNT-China) will be in Shanghai from June 21-23, followed by Nanjing from June 23-26, and Beijing June 26 to July 1.

AVCA All-American right-side hitter Kelsie Payne and PrepVolleyball.com All-American libero Cassie Wait are vying for a spot against some of the best college-aged players in the country starting Monday in Anaheim. The U.S. Women’s National Team invited Payne and Wait, along with 17 other athletes, to train and compete for a Pan American Cup roster spot. Those who make the Pan American Cup roster will remain with the team until a competition in the Dominican Republic, June 30 to July 11.

The Pan American Cup roster will select one of three liberos between Wait, Iowa State graduate Caitlin Nolan, and Nebraska’s Justine Wong-Orantes.

Payne will try out as a middle blocker in a pool of five middles, three of whom will make the cut. Payne joins Stanford’s Inky Ajanaku, Florida’s Rhamat Alhassan, Ohio State’s Taylor Sandbothe, and Washington’s Lianna Sybeldon.

The quarto of Jayhawks, who led Kansas to its first ever appearance in the NCAA Championship semifinals, were selected through the U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryouts held Feb. 19-21 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.