The NCAA volleyball tournament returns to Allen Field House for the second-consecutive year with Friday’s first-round matches between Kansas and Wichita State and Arkansas and Creighton. More than 8,000 fans turned out for the two tournament rounds last year, making Allen Field House the best-attended site for the tournament’s opening weekend. And this time, fans will get to see the Jayhawks seek to avenge their second-round upset loss to Wichita State.
After posting the best win percentage in school history in 2012, this year’s Jayhawks finished the regular season second in the Big 12 at 12-4, trailing only Texas, the defending national champs. As the top seed in its pod, KU, ranked No. 21 in the most recent national poll and seeded No. 14 overall in the tournament, faces an unusually strong pod fourth seed in Wichita State. The Shockers tied for the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title and won the MVC Tournament, and are 28-6 overall.
The Jayhawks are led by Ray Bechard, who in his 16th season was named Big 12 Coach of the Year for the second-consecutive year. Senior Erin McNorton, the Big 12’s assists leader the past two seasons, was unanimously voted Big 12 Setter of the Year. Also named All-Big 12 First Team were senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc and junior outside hitters Sara McClinton and Chelsea Albers. Tayler Soucie, the league’s fifth-best blocker, was named to the All-Big 12 freshman team.
The first match, Creighton vs. Arkansas, begins at 4 p.m. Friday, followed at 6:30 by KU vs. Wichita State. The two winners meet Saturday at 6:30, and that winner advances to the Los Angeles Regional Dec. 13-14 at the University of Southern California.
Tickets purchased in advance are $12 for reserved seats for all sessions and $10 for general admission. On game days, reserved tickets are $7 reserved and $6 general admission. KU students and children 2 and under are admitted free for all sessions.
Radio play-by-play can be heard free of charge on Jayhawks Digital Passport, found under the “Fan Central” tab at KUAthletics.com. All three Allen Field House matches will also air on ESPN3.com, and fans can also follow the action on Live Stats or by following @KUVolleyball on Twitter.
Photo courtesy of KU Athletics