Kansas to Face Pittsburgh in Volleyball Sweet Sixteen


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Courtesy of Kansas Athletics

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas Volleyball (18-11) will take on No. 3 Pittsburgh (28-3) on Thursday, Dec. 9, in the Sweet Sixteen of the 2021 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament. The match will begin at 1 p.m ET/12 p.m. CT in Pittsburgh and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

The Jayhawks defeated No. 19 Oregon and 14th-seeded Creighton on Dec. 2-3 in Omaha, Nebraska, to reach the Sweet Sixteen. Friday’s match against Creighton marked the first win in the round of 32 since 2015, when Kansas took down Missouri 3-0, and eventually advanced all the way to the Final Four.

This year, Kansas is one of two schools to reach the Sweet Sixteen that did not receive a national seed. KU is joined by Illinois, who knocked off defending national champion and No. 7 seed Kentucky in the Round of 32.

Three members of the Kansas Volleyball team earned a spot on the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Midwest All-Region team, which was announced on Tuesday. Caroline Bien was named the Regional Freshman of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Region Team along with Caroline Crawford, while Jenny Mosser received All-Region Honorable Mention.

Bien becomes the second Jayhawk to be named AVCA Regional Freshman of the Year, joining Tayler Soucie, who earned the honor in 2013. Bien was previously named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year and an All-Big 12 First Team selection after leading the Jayhawks with 329 kills this season, an average of 2.96 per set.

Crawford earns All-Midwest Region honors for the second consecutive season after receiving honorable mention during the 2020-21 season. She was also named Second Team All-Big 12, garnering all-conference accolades for the second straight season. Crawford is tied for the team lead with 125 blocks (26 solo, 99 assist) this season and she’s hitting a team-best .303 with 248 kills to her credit.

Mosser also picked up her second consecutive All-Midwest Region selection after previously being named 2021 All-Big 12 Second Team. She ranks second on the team with 319 kills, an average of 2.87 per set, and 275 digs while recording 10 double-doubles this season.

No. 3 Pittsburgh is 28-3 overall and 15-3 in the ACC. This trip to the Sweet Sixteen marks the second consecutive year the team has advanced to this point in the postseason. In the first weekend of the 2021 NCAA Tournament, the Panthers took down UMBC 3-0 on Friday, Dec. 3, before beating in-state rival Penn State 3-1 on Saturday. The win over Penn State was the 300th for head coach Dan Fisher and the first against Penn State in an NCAA Tournament.

Pittsburgh leads the overall series 2-1 over Kansas. The teams first met on Sept. 25, 1993 when the Jayhawks took down the Panthers 3-1. The teams met again in 1994 and 1995 where Pittsburgh won both by scores of 3-2 and 3-0.

The winner of the Kansas/Pittsburgh matchup will move on to the Elite Eight of the tournament and face the winner of the Purdue/BYU match. Purdue and BYU play at 11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. CT on Thursday, Dec. 9 and the winners will play Saturday, Dec. 11 at 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT in the Fitzgerald Field House.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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