Kansas volleyball feeling “confident” heading into NCAA Tournament | Sports

Kansas volleyball is going dancing for the 10th time in school history and the first time since the 2017-18 season, when the Jayhawks fell to Missouri in five sets in the opening round.

The first match for Kansas in this year’s tournament will be played in Omaha against the 22-8 Oregon Ducks. The Jayhawks sit at 16-11 and head into the tournament hot, winning four consecutive games, including two against rival Kansas State.

“I turned to my assistant coach Bill Ebel before we started the match on Saturday, and I said, ‘I think we need to win this to get in,’” coach Ray Bechard said. “He looked at me like, ‘Really?’ and I said, ‘Yeah.’”

Kansas players, though, were assured they would receive a bid after how the last four games of the season went.

“I was really excited and confident that we’d see our names on there,” junior libero Kennedy Farris said.

A big part of the Jayhawks’ success of late has been the play of three freshmen: outside hitters Caroline Bien and London Davis and setter Camryn Turner. Davis, after her play last week, was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week.

“London, Bien and Camryn are actually my roommates, so I get to see and hang out with them all the time,” sophomore middle blocker Caroline Crawford said. “You guys described them as fearless, and that’s pretty much it. They’ve matured a lot throughout the season, and I think that is from building trust off the court.”

Statistically, Bien leads the way for Kansas in kills with 295. Super-senior outside hitter Jenny Mosser isn’t too far behind with 293. Defensively, Crawford leads the way in blocks with 85, and Farris has a team-best 261 digs.

As far as the tournament, Kansas is one of 32 teams to make the field with an at-large bid. Six other Big 12 schools were included in the bracket: Texas, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas Tech and Kansas State.

Kansas has faced tough competition in league play all season, and it will be no different against the Ducks in the first round.

“I’m pretty confident in how we’ll play,” Crawford said. “I think that everyone going in has kind of a vibe of, ‘We’re calm and collected,’ but we are also excited and ready to compete.”

Bien echoed this confidence and said this past weekend was huge for the Jayhawks.

“We focused on the motto one point at a time,” Bien said. “I feel like that’s how it is going into this weekend because it is all or nothing. You win or you’re done.”

Kansas’ match against Oregon will be Thursday. First serve is set for 4:30 pm

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