Volleyball Relying on Training During Unprecedented Season

Kansas remains at No. 10
• With a No. 10 ranking in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll released on Monday, Kansas ties a program record for consecutive weeks ranked in the top-25 (nine) with the 2012 season.
• KU has been ranked in the top-10 for five consecutive weeks, including a program-best No. 7 ranking on Oct. 19.

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Without question, the 10th-ranked Kansas volleyball team has already set the bar high during an unprecedented season. But with a Big 12 title and a long run in the NCAA tournament still within reach, the Jayhawks are avoiding complacency at all costs.

A dominant 3-0 sweep over Baylor – a top-40 RPI team – on Saturday proved as much, improving KU’s record to 21-1 and 8-1 in Big 12 play.

After the match, Marine Maj. Jake MacDonald spoke to the team in the locker room:

“Great game tonight, ladies. But at some point you’re going to get hit hard again. In those situations, we don’t rise to the occasion, we fall back on our training. That means you’re not going to fall far when adversity hits. When adversity does hit, you don’t need to do anything special. You don’t need to perform outside your role, you don’t need to be extra pumped-up; you just need to do what you were trained to do. Trust in your sister to your left and your right. Impose your will on your opponent. Attacking at 100-percent, 100-percent of the time. Do your job.

“If you do those things, you don’t need to worry about rising to the occasion. Just fall back on your training, and attack when you see an opportunity with 100-percent effort.”

MacDonald, a Purple Heart recipient during two tours of Iraq as a Marine Corps officer, guided the Jayhawks through a preseason team-building routine called The Program. During preseason two-a-days, The Program used “shared adversity” to develop leadership and team building with the philosophy that growing as a team only occurs outside of your comfort zone. Although it lasts for a relatively short two days, the lessons last throughout the season and beyond.

“We have known Maj. MacDonald for a few years now, and what he puts out team through during preseason really resonates throughout the year” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “He was spot-on with his message to the team because he knows, and our team knows, that we have a lot of work ahead of us.”

The Jayhawks return to action this Saturday on the road at Oklahoma (12 noon, Jayhawk Radio Network).

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