Jayhawk Signee Makes U.S. Junior National Team

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Incoming Kansas freshman setter Ainise Havili turned her opportunity into a reality, wowing the USA Volleyball coaches to earn a spot on the 12-player U.S. Women’s Junior National Team (WJNT) roster.
The 18 players that made the WJNT training team last month were put through a second tryout, held May 29-June 1 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Havili excelled and was named one of two setters on the official 12-player roster that will compete at the NORCECA Women’s U-20 Continental Championship set for July 6-14 in Guatemala. The WJNT, comprised of athletes born in 1996 or 1997, will train in Minneapolis from June 29 through July 4 before leaving for Guatemala on July 5.
“The competition was just amazing,” U.S. Women’s Junior National Team head coach Tom Hogan said in a USA Volleyball official statement. “This was a great and fantastic training session. Every single training session was intense, competitive and extremely high level. I have been involved with a lot of these competitions and tryouts, and this was one of the best. The kids were great, and the level extremely high.”
From Haltom City, Texas, and ranked No. 39 on PrepVolleyball’s Senior Aces, Havili signed with the Jayhawks in November. Havili led her 17U TAV Club to the National Championship last fall, earning Tournament MVP honors in the process under the direction of club coach Ping Cao. Havili is in prime position to inherit the reins from the 2013 Big 12 Setter of the Year, departed senior Erin McNorton.
“I’ve said before that she is pretty good and she continues to prove that,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “If you’re making a 12-person roster that will represent our country in competition, we’re talking about a pretty strong skillset. Again, she’s not an overly flashy player, but one that is very consistent that her hitters can really work well with. We’re proud of her and are looking forward to her being a Jayhawk.”
Havili and the rest of the Jayhawks officially report to campus Aug. 8 and kickoff fall practice on Aug. 9.
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