No. 23 Jayhawks Begin Tournament Play at Utah Classic

Courtesy of Kansas Athletics

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The No. 23 Kansas volleyball team moves to Salt Lake City, Utah for the Utah Classic hosted at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on August 26-27.

The Jayhawks will play three matches in two days with the first match being on Friday at 1 p.m. CT against Utah Valley, followed by an 8 p.m. CT matchup against No. 22 Utah and ending with a match on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT against Loyola Marymount.

Team Breakdown

KU is returning 14 student-athletes from the 2021-22 season and adding 5 newcomers, which includes graduate transfer Lauren Dooley from Florida. Sophomore Caroline Bien returns to Kansas after a stellar first season. The Overland Park native earned All-America Honorable Mention, Big 12 Freshman of the Year, AVCA Regional Freshman of the Year and a spot on the AVCA Midwest All-Region Team. Junior Kennedy Farris, super-seniors Rachel Langs and Anezka Szabo and sophomore Camryn Turner also return to the Jayhawks.

During the 2021-22 season, Bien led the Jayhawks in kills with 336 (.216) and kills per set, averaging 2.947. Also leading KU was Farris. The Lansing, Kansas native recorded 296 digs in 100 sets played, bumping her career total to 751 digs.

In her fifth season a Jayhawk, Langs has 532 kills as a middle blocker and played in all 30 matches during the 2021-22 campaign. Langs was second during the season in blocks for KU with 81.5 blocks and averaged 0.721 blocks per set.

Up Next

Tournament play isn’t over for the Jayhawks as they hit the road to West Point, N.Y. for the Black Knights Invitational hosted by Army. The tournament will consist of Temple, Army, UConn and Kansas. KU will play on September 2 at 12:30 p.m. CT against Temple at the Gillis Field House. At 5 p.m. CT, the Jayhawks will play again on September 2 to face off against host Army. Rounding out the Black Knights Invitational will be a match up against Kansas and UConn at 10 a.m. CT on September 3.

Early Retirement

On September 17, Kansas will be retiring two jersey’s at the conclusion of the Omaha vs. Kansas match at the Jayhawk Classic. Ainise Havili (2014-2017) and Kelsie Payne (2014-2017) will be honored with a jersey retirement ceremony where their jersey numbers will be displayed in the rafters of Horejsi Family Volleyball. Both Havili and Payne were members of the 2015 Final Four team and 2016 Big 12 Conferene Championship team. Havili was a three-time All-American and back-to-back Big 12 Setter of the Year. Payne was a two-time AVCA First Team All-American and the 2016 Big 12 Player of the Year. Both individuals are in the Kansas volleyball record books.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
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 2020 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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