IRVING, Texas – Big 12 Conference volleyball coaches picked the University of Kansas second with one first-place vote in the annual Big 12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll, released on Thursday by the league.
“This league has as many returning players, so the quality of the league is going to be better than it has ever been before,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “The difference between No. 1 and No. 9 is going to be who can bring it every night and get the job done.”
KU’s No. 2 projection ties for its highest preseason position in the Big 12’s 21-year history. In 2014, the Jayhawks were also picked second with one first-place vote.
Kansas has finished second in the Big 12 regular-season standings for three consecutive seasons behind preseason favorite Texas.
“With the talent in our league, this is an opportunity for the Big 12 to be as nationally prominent as it has been in many, many years,” Bechard said. “We just want to be a part of that prominence.”
Kansas features five returning starters, including Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year Kelsie Payne, from a 2015 squad that finished the season ranked No. 4 in the nation and advanced to the program’s first-ever NCAA Championship semifinal. The Jayhawks led the Big 12 in kills, assists, aces and defensive hitting percentage during the historic season.
The 2016 season begins on Friday, Aug. 26 against Mississippi State in Starkville, Mississippi.
2016 BIG 12 VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON POLL
1. Texas (8)
2. Kansas (1)
3. Iowa State
6. Kansas State
8. Texas Tech
9. West Virginia
Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.