LAWRENCE, Kan. – Ready to put two-a-days in the past and welcome fans to the Horejsi Family Athletics Center for a preview of what's to come in 2013, the Kansas volleyball team will host its annual Crimson and Blue match, Saturday at 1 p.m. inside the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
Head coach Ray Bechard, who returns for his 16th season in 2013, and his staff will split up the in roster into "crimson" and "blue" teams to square off against each other in a live-action setting. Fans are invited to attend free of charge.
"Preseason camp is a grind, and these girls have worked really hard in the weight room on top of a two-a-day practice schedule," Bechard said. "They want to put that training to use. It may not be official, but for them it's a chance to put those uniforms on for the first time and play in front of fans. It's still special and we're looking forward to it."
The Jayhawks will open the 2013 season ranked No. 20 on the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division I Preseason Poll. That marks KU's first preseason ranking since the AVCA began the preseason poll in 1982.
In all, Kansas will play 11 matches against eight teams in the top-25 or receiving votes on the early poll, including a home-and-home series with defending national champion and preseason No. 1, Texas. Iowa State sits at No. 15 on the preseason list, while non-conference foe, Creighton, is No. 25.
Fellow Big 12 squads Oklahoma and Kansas State, whom KU went 4-0 against last fall, each received votes as did Wisconsin and Notre Dame. The Jayhawks are set to face Wisconsin in Madison on Sept. 13, while they welcome the Fighting Irish to the Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Sept. 22.
Big 12 Predictions
Kansas enjoyed another preseason first as the Big 12 Conference coaches voted the Jayhawks to a third-place finish in the league's preseason poll, released Aug. 7. Kansas' third-place preseason selection (51 points) marks the highest in program history, topping the previous best of fifth in 2005. Defending national champion Texas (64 points) earned the top preseason spot among league coaches, while Iowa State (55 points) was slated second.
Redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc, who earned AVCA Second Team All-America status at the conclusion of the 2012 season, led the Jayhawks on the 2013 All-Big 12 Preseason Team, earning the nod for the second-straight season, while senior setter Erin McNorton and junior outside hitter Sara McClinton are first-time members. Reigning national champion Texas and Iowa State were the only other league schools to land three honorees. KU's trio also marks the most Jayhawks on the Preseason Team since 2004.
A new addition made its way to the Horejsi Family Athletics Center over the summer. The Jayhawks will unveil their fourth NCAA banner prior to first serve on Saturday. The team wanted to share the experience with their fans that supported them last year and every year. In 2012, KU finished the season ranked 29th in the NCAA in attendance (1,366 per match).
Kansas officially opens the season on Friday, Aug. 30 against Central Arkansas at 1 p.m. in the first match of the Arizona Invitational in Tucson, Ariz. Kicking off the year with a bang, the Sugar Bears were one of seven teams in the NCAA to surpass the 30-win mark last season.