Kansas Athletics released the full KU Volleyball schedule for the fall of 2016 earlier today. The Jayhawks are coming off an amazing season and a great run in 2015, making it all the way to the Final Four last year. KU returns five starters, including two First Team All-Americans (Havili, Payne), while only losing three graduating players from last year; Kansas definitely has the potential of another championship run in them, and if you ask me, the schedule sets up nicely.
Here is a look at the non-conference schedule:
|8/26||Mississippi State||Starkville, MS|
|8/27||Eastern Washington||Starkville, MS|
|9/2||Chicago State||Lawrence, KS|
|9/10||Northern Iowa||Lawrence, KS|
|9/16||Xavier||West Lafayette, IN|
|9/16||Purdue||West Lafayette, IN|
|9/17||SE Louisiana||West Lafayette, IN|
Conference play begins on Sept 21; it is a round-robin similar to basketball. Every school except Oklahoma State fields a volleyball team.
The headliner on the non-conference schedule is Purdue in West Lafayette. The Boilers finished in the top-20 last year and are perennial competitors for the Big 10 title with the likes of Penn State and Nebraska.
Creighton, Xavier, and Chattanooga (yes, Chattanooga) should also be able to push the Jayhawks in the non-conference slate. Creighton finished inside the Top-20 last year, Xavier is a perennial top-100 RPI team, and Chattanooga went 26-6 en route to winning the Southern Conference. Arkansas and Northern Iowa are also expected to be capable squads.
Still, I expect Kansas to enter Big 12 play undefeated. Obviously, Texas is still the big dog of the Big 12 and the two conference matchups with the Longhorns are the real highlights on the schedule. This KU team has the best shot of anyone over the past several years to knock off Texas. If it's gonna happen, this is probably the year.
Are you ready for more?