No. 9 Volleyball Primed For NCAA Postseason
|No. 9 Kansas vs. Furman
Horejsi Family Athletics Center
Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015
6:30 p.m. CT
No. 9 Kansas will make its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Volleyball Championship, starting with a first-round match against Furman at 6:30 p.m., on Thursday at Horejsi Family Athletics Center. The winner of Kansas-Furman faces the winner of Thursday’s first match of the day between No. 25 Missouri and Missouri State at 4 p.m.
Both matches will be televised by ESPN3, which is available on WatchESPN.com or the WatchESPN mobile app. Audio coverage of KU’s match can be heard online at KUAthletics.com/radio or KJHK-FM 90.7 in Lawrence.
• KANSAS IN THE NCAAs: Kansas enters the 2015 NCAA Volleyball Championship in the San Diego Region with a program-best No. 9 overall seed and will host the First & Second Rounds for the fourth consecutive season. Kansas welcomes No. 25 Missouri, Missouri State and Furman to Horejsi Family Athletics center on Thursday and Friday. KU is making its seventh overall appearance in the NCAA tournament with a 5-6 all-time postseason record, including a 4-2 record in the first round.
• SOLD OUT: Thursday’s match will be the 13th sell-out crowds at Horejsi Family Athletics Center for KU this season.
• KANSAS-FURMAN SERIES: Kansas and Furman will meet for the second time in program history in the first round of the NCAA Championship on Thursday. In the previous meeting, the Jayhawks defeated the Paladins, 3-0, on Sept. 9, 2000 in Lawrence.
• ELITE HOSTS: The Jayhawks are among seven elite programs to host the first and second rounds of the tournament in the last four seasons, joining Stanford, Penn State, Nebraska, Texas, Washington, and Florida.
• SAN DIEGO REGION: Teams in the San Diego Region that win their first and second round matches will advance to compete at Jenny Craig Pavilion, Dec. 11-12. Seeded teams in the San Diego Region include No. 1 Southern California, No. 8 Stanford, No. 9 Kansas, and No. 16 Creighton. KU’s lone appearance in an NCAA regional was in 2013 (Los Angeles).
• FOURTH TIME FOR DOCKERY: With KU’s fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship, senior Tiana Dockery will officially become the first Jayhawk to compete in an NCAA postseason match during all four years of her collegiate career. Dockery enters postseason play with five double-figure kill performances in the last six matches. During that stretch the Richmond, Texas, native has totaled 79 kills on a .329 hitting percentage.
• CLASS OF THE BIG 12: Kansas earned six Big 12 postseason honors, including Ray Bechard as Big 12 Coach of the Year and Ainise Havili as Big 12 Setter of the Year, the Conference announced on Tuesday. Three Jayhawks were named to All-Big 12 First Team: Havili, sophomore right-side hitter Kelsie Payne, and junior middle blocker Tayler Soucie. Sophomore outside hitter Madison Rigdon was named All-Big 12 Second Team. Havili and Payne are two of seven unanimous first-team selections. Havili is the second Jayhawk to win the Setter of the Year honor with Bechard collecting Coach of the Year for the third time in the last four years.
• TOP 10: Kansas remained at No. 9 in this week’s AVCA Coaches Poll released on Monday. The Jayhawks have been ranked in the top-25 for a program-record 13-consecutive weeks, including nine-consecutive weeks in the top-10. KU reached a program-high No. 7 ranking on Oct. 19. In the latest NCAA RPI rankings, also released on Monday, KU is ranked No. 9.
• FIVE-STRAIGHT WEEKLY AWARDS: Juniorlibero Cassie Wait was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Monday to give Kansas its fifth consecutive Big 12 weekly honor after sophomore right-side hitter Kelsie Payne earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week for three-consecutive weeks. KU totals
• HAVILI SETS THE PACE: Sophomore setter Ainise Havili became the Big 12 Setter of the Year as the heart of one of the nation’s most powerful offenses. Havili, who enters postseason play with 11 double-doubles and ranking second in the nation in assists per set (12.4), led Kansas to top-5 NCAA rankings in hitting percentage (4th; .312) and kills per set (2nd; 15.4). KU’s hitting percentage clip is the highest in program history by over 50 percentage points, besting 2013’s hitting percentage of .254.
• PAYNE TRAIN: Sophomore right-side hitter Kelsie Payne ended the regular-season leading the Big 12 in kills per set (4.3) and ranking second in hitting percentage (.387). Payne is the only player in the nation to rank top-40 in the NCAA in both hitting percentage (32nd) and kills per set (26th). The Austin, Texas, native is an All-Big 12 First Team honoree and a four-time Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week this season.
• FIRST-TEAM SOUCIE: All-Big 12 First Team performer Tayler Soucie is one of just five Big 12 players to repeat as a first-team selection this season. The junior middle blocker recorded 100 blocks for the third consecutive season, moving up to sixth on KU’s career blocks list as a junior (373). Soucie has nine matches with five or more blocks and enters postseason play ranked fourth in the Big 12 in blocks per set (1.2).