Kansas Increases Strength, Signs Seven for 2014

2014 Volleyball Recruiting Class
Addison Barry Topeka, Kan.
Claire Carpenter Rockwall, Texas
Kayla Cheadle Columbia, Mo. (bottom left in pic)
Ainise Havili Fort Worth, Texas
Tori Miller Derby, Kan.
Kelsie Payne Austin, Texas
Madison Rigdon Pflugerville, Texas

LAWRENCE, Kan.— Saying goodbye to a special seven-member senior class this fall means welcoming seven newcomers to the Kansas volleyball program, head coach Ray Bechard and his staff announced Friday.
The recruiting process for filling the void left behind by arguably the most successful senior class in Kansas volleyball history was an intense one. With several positions in need of talented rookies, Bechard is confident that the class of 2014 will do exactly that. Comprised of one setter, one outside hitter, two middle blockers and three defensive specialists, this class will impact all areas of the Jayhawks’ game plan, and Bechard is thrilled with the potential ahead.
“As all Jayhawk volleyball fans know, we have a very large class that is departing so we need a very quality – not only in numbers, but also in each position – class to come in,” Bechard said. “So it was a busy recruiting season, but now that we’ve finalized all seven of these young ladies, we are extremely excited about what they bring to the program.”
The members of the 2014 volleyball signing class are: Addison Barry (Topeka, Kan./Hayden HS), Claire Carpenter (Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall Heath HS), Kayla Cheadle (Kansas City, Mo./Rock Bridge HS), Ainise Havili (Fort Worth, Texas/Haltom HS), Tori Miller (Derby, Kan./Derby HS), Kelsie Payne (Austin, Texas/John B. Connally HS) and Madison Rigdon (Pflugerville, Texas/Pflugerville HS).
“We had some specific needs for this class and I feel like we’ve done a really nice job of replacing some kids with what we think will be some really, really successful young ladies,” Bechard said. “Obviously the setter position was a need, middle blocking is a need, we’re losing a lot of quality DS’s and we needed some help on the pins – so we needed some help everywhere. We found the roster we need to replace the group that’s leaving.”
With seven departing seniors and all positions affected by graduation this spring, the Kansas staff has been in the works on the 2014 signing class well before the 2013 season was even underway. Along with Bechard, assistant coaches Laura “Bird” Kuhn and Todd Chamberlain put in countless hours to make this fall’s signing class a big one. The 16-year veteran head coach is certain that their work will be easy to see.
“This class is a direct reflection of Todd and Bird,” Bechard said. “Obviously I like being a part of that, but the time and effort that they’ve spent on it is relentless and it is every day. Todd is outstanding at it and Bird is so organized and has great energy for it. I think the connection that they’ve made with this class is critical to them coming in. so as a group, we feel good about it and we should, it took all of us to make this happen.”
Addison Barry | DS | 5-4 | Topeka, Kan. | Hayden HS
The reigning 2013 Centennial League MVP, Addison Barry comes to Kansas after a successful career at Hayden High School under the guidance of coach Mark Evans.
“Addie Barry is going to be our Energizer Bunny out there,” Bechard said. “She has a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and she loves Kansas. She’s been coming to our camps since the fifth grade so getting her out there on the Horejsi floor is going to be exciting.”
Barry comes to KU as the class of 2014’s most experienced defensive specialist, as that was her primary focus in high school and club. In 2012, Barry was handed All-State (4A) honorable mention accolades and earned All-League and All-City Team honors in 2011. She broke onto the scene as the All-League Co-Newcomer of the Year in 2010.
The daughter of Jana and Tony Barry, “Addie” played club volleyball for the Topeka Impact and was the winner of the 2010 Hayden Award, which goes to one male and one female per grade based upon excellence in all phases of student life: academics, spiritual life, activities and athletics.
Claire Carpenter | DS | 5-9 | Rockwall, Texas | Rockwall Heath HS
A four-year starter for Rockwall Heath High School under the direction of coach Maggie Younger, Carpenter will give the defensive specialist position added height and athleticism. At RHHS, the Texas native split time on the right side and as a setter, giving her solid background as a primary passer.
“We’re excited about Claire Carpenter because her skill set is versatile,” Bechard said. “She has experience in setting and is going to be a great ball handler for us, both with her serve and her passing.”
Voted Team MVP for three-straight years to end her high school career, Carpenter was also a multiple All-District (three years) and Academic All-District (four years) honoree. In 2013, Carpenter was named the 12-5A Setter of the Year en route to becoming an All-State nomination.
The daughter of Craig and Lisa Carpenter, Claire’s accomplishments away from the court have been equally impressive. A National Honor Society and Student Leadership Council member, Carpenter also was a 100-service hour award recipient at RHHS and worked as a PALS member, mentoring at-risk local elementary school students. She won the Rockwall Independent School District (RISD) Scholar Award and the RISD Chevron and Lantern of Knowledge Award.
Carpenter played for the Skyline Juniors club team for coach Kirk Perry, serving as the team captain for three-straight seasons (2011-13) and the Club MVP (2012).
Kayla Cheadle | MB | 6-1 | Columbia, Mo. | Rock Bridge HS (Columbia, Mo.)
A two-time All-District and All-Region honoree, Cheadle was a four-year letterwinner at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Mo., under head coach Robin Sherman. Aside from achieving her goal of playing Division I volleyball, Cheadle also kept her aim on coming to school with her twin sister, Chayla, who signed earlier this week to play basketball at Kansas.
Cheadle is one of two dynamic middle blockers in the class of 2014, joining Kelsie Payne, to combine with current Jayhawk middle Janae Hall and Tayler Soucie – who ranks in the top-five in the Big 12 in attack percentage and blocking. Cheadle and Payne have Bechard predicting KU’s middle blocking core will continue to be a force to be reckoned with even after the departure of current senior All-American, Caroline Jarmoc.
“Kayla brings a lot of athleticism to this position,” Bechard said. “We will be able to play with a lot more speed in the middle thanks to her. She has great energy and works extremely hard.”
The daughter of Kevin and Cheryl Cheadle, both college basketball players, Kayla was also a three-year letterwinner in basketball during her time as a Bruin. Cheadle made a name for herself as an offensive leader on the volleyball side of things and helped her team to a 33-3 record as a senior. 
She played for the PVA Club under coaches Lauren Kelly and Teryn Young. Cheadle also played for Club Mo, coached by Susan and Molly Kreklow, the current setter at the University of Missouri.
Ainise Havili | S | 5-10 | Fort Worth, Texas | Haltom HS
The most likely candidate to step into a starting role right away, Ainise Havili (pronounced Uh-Knee-Say Ha-vee-lee) led her 17U TAV Club to the National Championship this fall, earning Tournament MVP honors in the process under the direction of club coach Ping Cao. Havili is in prime position to take the reins from the Big 12’s best setter for the last two seasons in senior Erin McNorton.
“Adding Ainise Havilli fills a void that we had,” Bechard said. “We lose Erin McNorton and Kara Wehrs and between those two, they’ve handled our setting, for the most part, over the last four years. We return Maggie Anderson, who will do a great job for us, but we’re excited to get Ainise and that added athleticism. Technically, she is a very strong player and physically, she can match up against some of the Big 12’s outside attackers. She’ll hit the ground running.”
Havili has been named an All-District First Team honoree and the team’s MVP for the last three seasons at Haltom High School, with her senior year accolades still to come.
The daughter of Mele and Moses Havili, Ainise also played basketball for two years and has been an Academic All-District honoree for the last three seasons.
Tori Miller | DS | 5-8 | Derby, Kan. | Derby HS
An All-League First Team selection and the team’s kills leader as a senior, Tori Miller will shift her focus to the defensive specialist position at Kansas. A four-year starter on both the volleyball court and the softball field for the Panthers, Miller is known for giving 100 percent and was dubbed her team’s Most Improved Player (2010), Most Aggressive Player (2011) and Most Aggressive/Inspirational/Passionate Player (2012, 2013).
In her final two seasons for Derby, Miller led the team in attack percentage and dig average. As a junior, she paced the team in assists and during her senior year, Miller led the squad with 396 kills and 49 service aces. She also was the team’s best serve receiver (2.41) and was named the Panthers’ Best Offensive Player. At the conclusion of her senior season, Miller added 6A All-State Second Team honors to her list of high school achievements.
“Tori Miller is a little more of a physical, taller player in the defensive specialist position,” Bechard said. “I’m excited about the range that she’ll possess in that spot as well as the intangibles she brings.”
The daughter of Pat and Kelley Miller, Tori has competed in 10 different USA Volleyball tournaments, including winning the 2011 USAVB Show Me Junior National Qualifier (15 American). She played her club volleyball with the ICT Elite under Brian Magbitang before moving to the ICT Mavs 18 for coach Destiny Clark.
Kelsie Payne | MB | 6-3 | Austin, Texas | John B. Connally HS
As a four-year letterwinner at John B. Connally High School, Payne played for coach Megan Nichols. With the departure of Jarmoc, Payne will have the opportunity to showcase her athleticism and battle for a starting spot immediately.
“We needed help in the middle blocker position and Kelsie Payne gives us a level of athleticism there that is Big 12 ready,” Bechard said. “That is a position that you have to get up to speed on and  you have to experience that at the Big 12 level to really see what that will be like, but she’s going to be outstanding in that situation.”
Payne holds several of her school’s volleyball records, including: most blocks in a match (10), most blocks in a season (136), most career blocks (277) and best single-season hitting percentage (.361). As a senior, Payne racked up 481 kills (3.90 per set), 136 total blocks (1.10 per set) and 195 digs (1.60 per set). She cranked out more than 20 kills four different times this fall and five or more blocks 13 times.  
The daughter of David and Kandi Payne, Kelsie was named the District MVP as a junior and has twice been named to the All-District and Academic All-District Teams. Her senior year awards have yet to be announced. Payne is also a longtime member of the Austin Junior Volleyball Club, beginning in 2009 and extending into 2014.
Madison Rigdon | OH | 6-0 | Pflugerville, Texas | Pflugerville HS
A true six-rotation player, incoming outside hitter Madison Rigdon will head to Lawrence upon completion of an impressive career at Pflugerville High School. Under the direction of coach Jeff Coward, Rigdon is a Senior Ace (PrepVolleyball.com), on the High School All-American watch list, a three-time member of the All-Texas Team (LoneStarVolleyball.com) and was named the Preseason Top Player in the Austin area.
“We lose Catherine Carmichael on the pin, and although Madison Rigdon is different, she does play a little quicker and will fill that void for us,” Bechard said. “We’re excited about Madison and her ability to play six rotations for us – both front row and back row – along with all of the other intangibles she brings.”
Rigdon’s numbers are staggering. The incoming Jayhawk is the all-time PHS career kills (1,375) and aces (229) leader. A year ago, Rigdon knocked down 430 kills, good for a 4.30 kills per set average and has kept pace her senior year with 81 aces and 384 kills (4.10 per set) thanks to a consistent .311 attack efficiency.
As a junior, Rigdon was named the school’s Female Athlete of the Fall, Team MVP, Outstanding Hitter – District 16-5A and was a member of PrepVolleyball.com’s Top Juniors. Aside from her 430 kills, she racked up 46 aces and 259 digs. Her sophomore season was possibly her best with 388 kills, 400 digs and a school-record 91 aces on the season.
The daughter of Ronnie and Debbie Rigdon, Rigdon was also a successful gymnast for seven years, beginning at five years old. She went on to become Capital Gymnastics’ All Around Gymnast of the Year in fourth and fifth grade. Her Austin Juniors Volleyball club team finished fifth at the 2013 AAU Nationals and finished in the top-10 in the two years prior, as well. While there, she played under coaches Mike Garcia, Kathy Lietzke, Elizabeth Quanaim, Jason Landers and Peter Salatich.
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