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Then-sophomore middle blocker Rachel Langs and then-junior setter Sara Nielsen cheer during their set. The Jayhawks defeated the Wildcats 2-1 Sunday, Nov. 16.

Kansas volleyball recently released its 2020 schedule, featuring 16 games against Big 12 opponents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a 9-17 season for the Jayhawks in 2019, the team will look to improve their record and show their strength in the shortened season.

With another young roster and the departure of key players such as middle blocker Zoe Hill and libero Allie Nelson, here are a few Jayhawks that will step up and make an impact this season.

Sara Nielsen

Senior setter Sara Nielsen is the leader of this team. As the lone senior on the roster, she will be leading by example, constantly putting her all into each match. She had an astounding 879 assists last year and was able to place the ball right where her teammates wanted it. If that wasn’t enough, she placed third on the team in blocks and was willing to put herself in front of any ball that came her way. Look for Nielsen to lead the Jayhawks this year in every facet of the game in her final year at Kansas. 

Rachel Langs

Junior middle blocker Rachel Langs is due for another great year after an impressive 2019 season. The 6-foot-3 blocker out of Fairview, Texas, finished the year with 132 kills, which was good for fourth on the team. She also led the Jayhawks in total blocks with 93.

Being the tallest on the court will certainly help Langs at her position, as she has a natural knack to know exactly where to be on the court. Langs will also be able to provide veteran leadership to a team of mostly incoming freshmen, and that leadership is key to any young team wanting to compete. Keep an eye out for her this year. 

Kennedy Farris 

Sophomore libero Kennedy Farris had a somewhat quiet start to her Jayhawk career, but expect that to change this year. With the absence of Nelson, Farris is looking to make an immediate impact at arguably the most critical position on the floor. She will have to be a vocal leader for Kansas to beat powerhouse teams such as Baylor and Texas. If Farris is able to be the leader this team needs, then the Jayhawks could be a serious contender in the Big 12. 

These three will all have very important and impactful roles on a team filled with young and upcoming talent. But that youth won’t stop the Jayhawks from competing at an elite level with these three at the helm. Watch out for a possible hot start from Kansas this year, and be sure to catch the team’s first game on Sept. 25 at home against Baylor.