Jayhawks in Europe: Kelsie Payne

From May 18-30, Kansas volleyball is embarking on a European training trip aimed at combining cultural education with intense practices and competition. The team will play six matches, sandwiched between training sessions and travel destinations in Italy, France and Spain. The Jayhawks have graciously accepted the task of keeping their fans, family and KU volleyball supporters in the loop on what the team is up to on a daily basis. Check back each day of the trip to hear a different player’s perspective.
Day 3 – Como, Italy and Milan, Italy The Jayhawks spent the morning at Lake Como,
Italy (photo cred: Tiana Dockery)
Day two of our tour brought us to Como, Italy! It’s a little cold and rainy, but that can’t keep us from exploring the city! We took a break from the rain in a local Italian coffee shop. The hot chocolate was the best. After some morning exploring, we got down to business. Today was our first gameday in Milan, Italy against the Italian National team. Of course, we had to post for a KUVB squad pic before the match!
We played three sets no matter the outcome and lost all three (21-25, 18-25, 19-25). I’d say their style of play was unique in that they used the back-row attack a lot and played really fast to their middles, but set higher and slower to their outsides.
I think this whole trip is getting us ready for fall. We’re adapting to different styles of play, and we’re doing so many activities that are building our relationships off of the court!

Inside the match with head coach Ray Bechard
On the first match of the trip:
“It was a thrill for us to be in the gym with some of their future Olympians. Their national team coach, Marco (Bonitta), was very generous of his time. It was a great opportunity for our team to see how they approach their game. I thought we competed hard and played well for our first match out and not getting off the plane that long ago. We’re looking forward to playing again tomorrow night.”
On what and who stood out for him:
“Cassie Wait was really good at the libero position. Our younger kids, Ainise Havili, Madison Rigdon and Payne – they’re still young, but I thought they competed at a high level. Overall, we didn’t back down from the challenge. We knew it was going to be, obviously, extremely physical and a well-coached team. But we played hard and to the Jayhawk standard.”
Coming up on day four: Addison Barry