Kansas Volleyball Set to Open Season Against South Dakota

Courtesy of Kansas Athletics

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 2023 Kansas volleyball squad will kick off the season on Saturday, Aug. 19 at home in the Horjesi Family Volleyball Arena, when the Jayhawks will welcome the Coyotes of South Dakota in an exhibition match. First serve is set for 1:00 p.m. CT.

Thirteen familiar faces will return to the Kansas lineup this year, while six newcomers are set to make their Jayhawk debuts this season. Three of the newcomers are true freshmen in Raegan Burns, Aisha Aiono and Ellie Schneider and graduate students Reagan Cooper and Mykayla Myers have also joined from Texas Tech and TCU respectively, while Toyosi Onabanjo comes to Kansas after a two-year stint at Iowa.

Camryn Turner will be among the key returners taking the court once again for the Jayhawks. The junior setter started off her season on a high note, being the lone Jayhawk to earn a nod to the 2023 Preseason All-Big 12 team.

The Jayhawks will also see more action from their two biggest offensive threats from last season, returning Ayah Elnady, who led the team with 2.83 kills per set, and Caroline Bien, who was right behind her with 2.55 kills per set.

Ray Bechard enters his 26th season directing the program in 2023. He has led the program to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, including six consecutive from 2012-2017. Bechard has been named the Big 12 Coach of the Year four times in his career so far and currently posts a career record of 447-302.

The Coyotes are coming off a record of 29-4 in 2022. Their dominant year included a 16-2 mark during conference play, which helped propel them to their third-consecutive Summit League Championship title.

Saturday’s match will be the first meeting between these opponents in both programs’ histories.

Various in-match updates will be provided on the team’s official X (Twitter) page, @KUvolleyball.

Kansas will take their first trip of the season to Omaha, Nebraska, where they will open up their Omaha Tournament weekend with a 3:00 p.m. CT match against Pepperdine on August 25.

Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttp://www.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 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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