KU Volleyball Receives Invite to Dance

Despite enjoying a top 25 ranking for four weeks this season, it looked as though NCAA tournament dreams may have evaporated for Kansas volleyball. By late October, the team was struggling and had posted a record of 4-8 in conference play.

"A month ago, many would have written us off, but we turned November into 'Yes-vember' and made a strong finish," said coach Ray Bechard.

The Jayhawks fought to win five of its last seven matches, including a surprising victory over then-No. 13 Texas A&M and an emotional senior night victory over Colorado.

It paid off.

The team earned its second-straight NCAA Tournament bid Sunday night. The Jayhawks are one of seven teams from the Big 12 Conference that received bids in 2004.

"We're are pretty excited tonight," said Bechard. said. "This will be a fun opportunity for our team and will give our Midwest squad a little bit of exposure on the West Coast."

The Jayhawks finished 18-11 overall this season, with a 9-11 record in the Big 12 Conference, and tied with Colorado for a sixth place finish.

Junior middle blocker Josi Lima was named All-Big 12 First-Team by the league's coaches. It is the third straight season she has earned the honor.

The Jayhawks will face Santa Clara in first round action at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Seattle, Wash. Santa Clara is currently ranked 25th in the nation and will be making its seventh straight NCAA postseason appearance. The Broncos received an at-large berth into the tournament after placing third in the West Coast Conference.

"Santa Clara is historically a strong team and has been for a number of years," Bechard added. "They are about as good as most of the Big 12 and ranked teams we have played and we are looking forward to the match."


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