Ray Bechard speaking 11/29

Kansas volleyball coach Ray Bechard speaks at the pregame press conference for Kansas's run into the NCAA Women's Volleyball National Championship on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

The Kansas Jayhawks will face the Miami Hurricanes in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Lincoln, Nebraska, at 4:30 p.m. at Devaney Center Thursday. The match will be streamed on ESPN+. 

“We are excited to be part of 64 teams that are left,” head coach Ray Bechard said. “The team was very, very excited to see their name come up on Sunday night. We need to be good. Our good needs to show up. We don’t need to be our very, very best, but we need to be good. And this time of year, that’s what’s expected, so that is what this team is capable of.” 

Kansas is led by All-Big 12 Conference Second Team redshirt freshman outside hitter Ayah Elnady, sophomore setter Camryn Turner, super-senior opposite Anezka Szabo and graduate transfer middle blocker Lauren Dooley. 

The Hurricanes are led by All-Atlantic Coast Conference First Team senior middle blocker Janice Leao, All-ACC Second Team senior setter Savannah Vach, All-ACC redshirt junior outside hitter Angela Grieve and All-ACC Freshman Team with freshman outside hitter Flormarie Heredia Colon. 

“They got good balance,” Bechard said. “They got a really good setter whose got experience and has been there for four years. She distributes the ball well, especially when she’s comfortable, so we spent a lot of time [on Monday] serving the ball with some intent and the whole goal there was to get her uncomfortable offensively. So we can move her off the net and create a little more issues for their tempo they want to run and the people they want to get the people to that will serve us well.”  

Elnady is a force on the court, especially on the service line, as she has broken two school records. She is leading the team in kills with 283 and has 38 service aces on the season, ranking No. 4 among the Big 12. 

After transferring, in Dooley’s one year, she has 99 block assists and 16 block solos. She ranks fifth in the Big 12 for blocks. Super-senior middle blocker Rachel Langs collected her 500th block this season and is ranked eighth in the Big 12 for blocks. Turner is another breakout star for the Jayhawks, she has recorded 16 double-doubles.

This season, Vach, Leo, and Grieve have set the tone for Miami. Leo leads the Hurricanes in total blocks with 93.5, which rank second in the conference, and trained with USA Volleyball Collegiate National Team. 

Vach, in the final regular season game, reached 4,000 career assists. She is the fourth in program history to do so. She has total of 1,136 assists on the season. Grieve leads the team with 476 points and 411 kills.   

“It’s go time,” Bechard said. “Miami is a seeded team and we’re not. They come out of a good conference and we come out of a good conference, so it should be a really good matchup.”