When a team like Kansas has a successful season, it's easy to celebrate. It's also easy to rake in the awards.
The Big 12 volleyball awards came out on Monday, and Kansas carried its weight. Of the five individual awards, Kansas came home with two: Coach of the Year and Setter of the Year.
Ray Bechard has coached at Kansas for 18 seasons. During his tenure, he has been named Big 12 Coach of the Year two times before, in 2012 and 2013, as well as AVCA Regional Coach of the year twice (AVCA Midwest in 2013, AVCA Central in 2012). In 2014 he surpassed 1,000 career victories, and in 2015 he hit 300 wins at Kansas. This season's team was the best team in program history, no matter how the NCAA Tournament pans out.
Sophomore setter Ainise Havili won Big 12 Setter of the Year. She is Kansas' second Setter of the Year winner under Bechard. This season, Havili averaged 12.33 assists per set during conference play and 12.36 assists per set for the season as a whole. Those numbers ranked her second nationally. Havili led the country in assists per set for the majority of the season. In the 28 matches Kansas played, Havili posted 40 or more assists in 16 matches, although Kansas only played to five sets once.
Bechard and Havili weren't the only Jayhawks honored with postseason awards. Three Jayhawks, including Havili, were tabbed to the All-Big 12 First Team.
Havili was an unanimous selection to the first team. Last season, Havili was slated to the All-Big 12 Second Team and the All-Big 12 All-Freshman Team.
Sophomore right side hitter Kelsie Payne and junior middle blocker Tayler Soucie also garnered All-Big 12 First Team honors. Payne was an unanimous selection. Last season, Payne was on the All-Big 12 All-Freshman Team. Soucie repeated her All-Big 12 First Team selection from last season.
Sophomore outside hitter Madison Rigdon was tabbed to the All-Big 12 Second Team.
Kansas was second in the conference for most people earning postseason awards with six. Texas had seven.
Player of the week
Throughout the season, Kansas had several of its athletes recognized with Big 12 Player of the Week honors. Out of the 14 weeks in the regular season, Kansas had at least one player recognized in nine.
During the final week, junior libero Cassie Wait earned Defensive Player of the Week for her efforts against Kansas State and Texas Tech. Wait recorded 36 digs at Kansas State — a new program record for digs in a four-set match. Wait earned the award twice on the season.
Counting Wait, Kansas had four players take home player of the week honors. Payne led the league with four Offensive Player of the Week nods. Havili earned the award twice. Rigdon earned the award once.
|Sept. 7||Kelsie Payne||Offensive Player of the Week|
|Sept. 21||Ainise Havili||Offensive Player of the Week|
|Oct. 5||Madison Rigdon||Offensive Player of the Week|
|Oct. 12||Ainise Havili||Offensive Player of the Week|
|Nov. 2||Kelsie Payne||Offensive Player of the Week|
|Nov. 9||Kelsie Payne||Offensive Player of the Week|
|Nov. 16||Kelsie Payne||Offensive Player of the Week|
|Nov. 23||Cassie Wait||Defensive Player of the Week|
|Nov. 30||Cassie Wait||Defensive Player of the Week|
— Edited by Dani Malakoff