Volleyball vs. Missouri-3

The team celebrates after a big point in the third game.

Several words can sum up Kansas volleyball's historic season: Record-breaking. Magical. Unprecedented. 

For the first time since 1978, Kansas eclipsed 30 wins. But back in those days, Kansas played over 50 matches a season.

Only three losses? That's never happened. And those three losses came at the hands of No. 3 Texas and No. 4 Nebraska — the two teams that just happened to be playing for the National Championship.

That 90.9 winning percentage the team posted was by far the best in Kansas volleyball history. The previous best came in 2012, when the Jayhawks boasted a 26-7 record for 78.8 percent.

But the record is only the tip of the iceberg. Records went by the wayside all season long. 


Kansas skirted out to a 19-0 record at the beginning of the year, having its first undefeated season in the nonconference slate. Ray Bechard eclipsed 300 wins at Kansas in the win over Duke. 

Over 30 program records were broken this season and many new individual milestones were set. 

Kelsie Payne's records

Sophomore right side hitter Kelsie Payne tied Allison Mayfield's program record of kills in three sets during the rally-scoring era with 21 against TCU. She broke the program record of kills in a season with 496 and her attack percentage over a season tied Caroline Jarmoc's record of .386.

Payne pretty much owns Kansas' NCAA Tournament records, as she broke four of them.

The record for kills in four sets? 21 by Payne against LMU.

The record for total attempts in five sets? 69 by Payne against USC.

Attack percentage in 4 sets? .576 by Payne against Nebraska.

Solo blocks in three sets? 1 by Payne.

She also moved up the leaderboard in several areas. Her 4.39 kills per set is No. 2 in program history and her 1,019 total attempts in a season puts her at No. 10 all-time. 

All of these monumental milestones are part of why she was the first (or second, depending on how you look at it) First-Team All-American in Kansas history.

Cassie Wait's records

At Kansas State, junior libero Cassie Wait had 36 digs, the most in the rally scoring era in four sets in Kansas history. Her 5.19 digs per set in a season is the new Kansas record.

Her name inches up the charts in several areas as well. Her 587 digs in a season is the second-best all-time. Her 3.91 digs per set over her career is No. 3 all-time. And with one season left, Wait sits at No. 3 all-time in career digs with 1,377. She'll need 677 to break Bri Riley's program record, but just 80 to sit in second place. 

She, like Payne, also ran away with several Kansas NCAA Tournament records. She has the digs in three and five sets records, with 19 against Missouri and 28 against USC.

Tayler Soucie's records

Junior middle blocker Tayler Soucie grabbed several Kansas NCAA records over the year, including attack percentage in three and five set matches with .636 and .417 respectively. She helped tie, multiple times, the record of solo blocks in three sets with one. Her six block assists against Missouri were the best mark in a three-set match, while her 11 block assists against LMU were the best in a four-set match.

Her 130 block assists on the year is a new program record, and she is moving up in the charts in many categories as well. Her .354 attack percentage on the year puts her at No. 3 all-time. Her 139 total blocks on the season is No. 6 in program history. And with one year left in her career, she sits No. 6 all-time in blocks with 400. She'll need 156 total blocks next season to surpass Jarmoc. She also sits at No. 3 in block assists over a career with 371; she'll need 83 next season to pass Jarmoc.

Ainise Havili's chart movement

Sophomore setter Ainise Havili surprisingly didn't break any Kansas records this season, but her movement up the all-time charts was impressive.

She boasted 1,371 assists over the season, putting her at No. 5 for a season. She averaged 12.13 assists per set, which ranks No. 6 all-time in program history. Combined with this season and last season, Havili totals 2,703 assists. That number puts her at No. 7 all-time, even if she stopped today, having just completed two seasons. Havili still has two more seasons to amass 2,070 more assists, which would push her past Andi Rozum for the program record.

Havili's movement up the all-time charts is part of why she was the first (or second, depending on how you look at it, as two Kansas players were tabbed this year) First-Team All-American in Kansas history.

Team Records

Against West Virginia, Kansas as a whole boasted a .597 attack percentage. That alone broke the all-time program record for attack percentage in three sets. That also is a new Horejsi record. The 110 digs at Kansas State broke the Kansas record during the rally scoring era in four sets. Several other Kansas NCAA Tournament records fell as well.

All of those records were set by non-seniors, which means it's quite likely that, moving forward, a lot more of them will come down.


Overcoming five set points against Missouri to sweep them at home to advance to the Sweet 16? Magic.

Winning the last six points in a five-set thriller to upset No. 1 USC to advance to the first Final Four in program history? Magic.

It's hard to describe what happened in those matches in terms other than that. 

Four years in a row Kansas advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. Kansas defeated a No. 1 opponent for the first time in school history. Kansas went to the Elite Eight and Final Four for the first time in school history. For the first time in school history, a Jayhawk was named as a First-Team All-American. For good measure, Kansas even had two Jayhawks tabbed to that list. Kansas was ranked in the top 10 for the first time in school history. 

It's hard to summarize what amazing things this team accomplished because there were so many great things that happened this season. 

But don't expect the magic to end now. 

It's only just beginning.

"This team is going to do amazing things for the rest of the time that they're here," Tiana Dockery, a senior from Richmond, Texas, said. "This sophomore group is going to do amazing things the rest of the time that they're here. Everyone has so much left to go.

Dockery added: "Now they know what that heart feels like, what the fight feels like. They have that experience and they're able to come back to this point and go a little bit farther than this. And I'm really excited to watch these girls play again."

This season put Kansas on the volleyball map. This season is the starting point for many amazing things that are yet to come. 

When August 2016 rolls around, the Jayhawks won't be just receiving votes in the preseason poll like they did this past August. They'll be ranked and they'll be ranked high because more people around the country believe in them and have seen what they can do.