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The Kansas volleyball team celebrates after scoring a point. The Jayhawks defeated the Wildcats 3-1 Saturday, Nov. 16.

Column 

As Kansas volleyball's record drops to 8-15 for the year and its NCAA tournament hopes are virtually out the window, the Jayhawks are working on developing their young core.

Kansas managed to outperform expectations against one of the best teams in the country, the Baylor Bears. The team went on the road to Waco, Texas, on Nov. 13 and threatened to steal not just one but two sets from one of the most dominant teams in the nation. 

Kansas started each of the three sets strong, scoring the first point in all three. In fact, in the second set, Kansas came within one point, gaining a 24-21 lead late in the set, before Baylor finally put the foot on the gas and went on a 5-0 run to end it 26-24.

In what was a hard-fought match throughout, the Jayhawks showed many points of promise for the upcoming 2020-21 season.  

As has been the story all year long, Kansas is sporting a roster of young and upcoming talent, such as star freshman outside hitter Morgan Christon and sophomore outside hitter Camryn Ennis. Christon is currently at 134 kills on the year with only 59 sets under her belt, which puts her at third on the team in kills. As for Ennis, she is currently in fifth place on that list, collecting 97 kills for the year in only 58 sets.  

Both players have been on a roll lately and have been looking like not only stars but also leaders on the court for the Jayhawks. Both Christon and Ennis will be staples in the Kansas roster for years to come if they continue with their season-long play.

These players need to experience these heartbreaks and these tough challenges, as the Jayhawks will for sure be battling adversity next year, no matter how their record turns out.  

Kansas’ game against the Kansas State Wildcats on Nov. 16 showed just how far the Jayhawks have come in their development. Sophomore middle blocker Rachel Langs was spectacular in her outing last Saturday, blazing the way with 13 kills in only 18 attempts, while Ennis followed closely with 12 of her own.

As the Jayhawks hit well all game long, tallying a .314 hitting percentage, they were able to drop the Wildcats while improving their hitting percentage, an area that has needed improvement all season long.  

With veteran leaders leaving the roster next year, such as senior middle blocker Zoe Hill and senior libero Allie Nelson, the floor is wide open for stars to step up and take over these roles, and players like Christon, Ennis and Langs are hungry for the opportunity to shine next year.  

With last Wednesday’s game showing the team members how to play as underdogs as well as showing them how to carry on after heartbreaking losses, the 2020 roster will look to keep the fighting Jayhawks name alive and well in tough games like against Baylor.