NCAA VB: Kansas Arrives in Omaha for Final Four
OMAHA, Neb. – After an uneventful drive up Interstate 29, the Kansas Jayhawks arrived at their hotel in Omaha, Nebraska, around 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, just blocks away from the site where the program will compete in its first ever NCAA Volleyball Championship Final Four.
Kansas head coach Ray Bechard was part of a contingent that arrived in Omaha Tuesday night in order to attend pre-championship meetings Wednesday morning, and while welcoming the team in the hotel lobby mentioned how he’d already been to the arena and was “jacked” by the experience.
The bus trip was a little more cool and collected, according to associate head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn.
“It actually felt pretty relaxed, it was nice,” Kuhn said of the drive. “It was almost like a sense of relief that it was just good to be on the road. I texted my sister and my mom that we were on the road and it feels good to be just doing it now because of the buildup. It was relaxed. The girls are ready – it’s just like another weekend, looking to go 2-0.”
Some slept, some continued to study for final exams, adding to the workman-like approach the team has adopted. Still, seeing the Omaha skyline in the distance and setting foot on the ground had the team buzzing before Bechard’s speech.
“Excitement,” junior libero Cassie Wait said of the overall feeling. “It’s a great opportunity that we’re here and as it gets closer, as we get to the hotel, get to the gym, we just couldn’t be more excited.”
The coaching staff is no stranger to attending Final Fours, as the NCAA Championship also serves as the annual meet-up for the American Volleyball Coaches Association, but arriving at the hotel Wednesday provided a slightly different feel than in year’s past.
“It’s very real,” Kuhn said. “It’s going to be a really cool experience. The coaches have been here as spectators and part of everyone that’s watching and watching open practices – it’s going to be really cool to feel how it’s us a family, the Jayhawks, doing all of this in front of everyone.”
Kansas was slated to each lunch at the hotel before arriving at CenturyLink Center for interviews, a press conference and an afternoon practice at 2:55 p.m., CT.
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