LAWRENCE, Kan. -- After a program-best season in 2003, University of Kansas head volleyball coach Ray Bechard announced today another challenging schedule for the Jayhawks in 2004. KU will open its 30th season of competition with an alumni match and eight non-conference contests before Big 12 play begins in mid-September.
Highlighting the Jayhawks' non-conference schedule in 2004 are NCAA Tournament teams Arkansas and Wisconsin.
Jayhawks fans can enjoy 14 regular-season home matches including 10 Big 12 contests. The 'Hawks' regular season culminates Nov. 27 when KU hosts Colorado on Senior Night. Four seniors -- Jill Dorsey, Ashley Bechard, Ashley Michaels and Lindsey Morris -- lead a KU squad that welcomes four newcomers in 2004.
Kansas finished the 2003 season 22-11 overall and 13-7 in league play and made its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. The Jayhawks were ranked 20th in the nation by Volleyball Magazine and received votes in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches' Poll for seven straight weeks. KU's 13 conference wins and third place finish also marked the best in school history.
"We open with an NCAA (Tournament) team in Arkansas and will host Wisconsin, a top Big Ten team, early in the season to get us ready for league play," Bechard said. "The Big 12 is sizing up to be all that it is expected to be and we look forward to making another run to postseason play in 2004."
Kansas Swimming Award Winners
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The University of Kansas swimming team held its annual postseason banquet Sunday, May 2 at the Spring Hill Suites. Five awards were presented with top honors going to senior Whitney Sondall and junior Amy Gruber.
Sondall and Gruber shared the Tammy Thomas MVP award.
Sondall earned 17 first-place finishes this season and set the school record in the 100 backstroke in a time of 55.38 at the 2003-04 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships. She was a member of three record-setting relay teams, including the 200 and 400 medley relay and the 200 free relay.
Gruber garnered 34 first place finishes including 18 individual wins. She held the season's top times in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly. She was part of five relays that set school records during the season, including the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle relays and the 200 and 400 medley relays.
Senior Ashley Dower was awarded the Karen Dionne Award. Dionne swam two years at KU and earned an individual conference championship in the 100 breast in 1985. Following her sophomore season, Dionne was in an automobile accident that ended her swimming career.
The academic award was given to junior Aly Colver. The award is given to a swimmer who has a high cumulative grade point average and has over 50 percent of her graduate credits. Colver is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 first-team member and was a honorable mention Academic All-American in 2002-03.
Senior Kim Bolin received the Newcomer of the Year award. Bolin held the second fastest season times in the 50 and 100 free. She swam on three relays that set new school records in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays and the 200 medley relay at the conference championships.
Amy Gruber, Miranda Isaac and Rebecca Zarazan were announced as the 2004-05 captains at the end of the banquet.
"It was a great way to cap of an excellent season," coach Clark Campbell said. "We made several strides this year and are ready to prepare for a great summer season. We are looking forward to good things in the 2004-05 year."
Kansas Soccer Wraps Up Spring Slate
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The Kansas Soccer team hosts the U17 Kansas City Legends boys team in its final game of the spring season, Tuesday, May 4 at 5 p.m. at SuperTarget Field. The Jayhawks are 3-2 in spring play after winning their last three contests.
Sophomore phenom Caroline Smith leads the KU attack with a total of four goals in the spring. The Edina, Minn., native has logged limited time in four of Kansas' five games but has made the most of her scoring chances, including three goals in wins against Tulsa (4-1) and SMS (2-1) on April 17.
Junior forward Rachel Gilfillan helped KU get past Drake in its most recent spring competition. The Cottage Grove, Minn., native used a pass from junior Monica Brothers to put the 'Hawks up 1-0 with the game-winner.
The Jayhawks first fall game of the 2004 season, an exhibition match against Creighton, will take place at SuperTarget Field, Saturday, August 21 at 2 p.m.