KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Buy Tickets) (2019 Media Guide) (Schedule) Fresh off of a 21-11 campaign that saw them bring home third in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) regular season, Kansas City’s volleyball team is seeking to build upon their success in the 2019 season. The Roos celebrated their best season since the 2014 program won the WAC Championship and had 24 victories. This will be the Roos’ last year playing in the WAC, before returning to the Summit League in the fall of 2020. With 11 returning players, they view this as a chance to go out on top.
“We have no different expectations than in years past. We’ll prepare for every WAC opponent to bring out our best and compete like crazy for a WAC Championship,” head coach Christi Posey said.
Posey, in her ninth year at the helm for the Roos, is the only head coach in program history to accumulate a winning record, currently sitting at 128-106. She expects this year to be no different, as her squad returns 11 players, including leading attackers and WAC Preseason First-Team picks Alicia Harrington, Melanie Brecka and Ty Lukes, starting setter Alli Schomers and one of their best back row defenders in Alex Ratzlaff.
“While returning such a high number of quality players is more advantageous than beginning the season with a large group of newcomers, there is always work to be done to reestablish strong fundamentals and implement key training principles,” Posey said. “However, the experience that our junior and senior classes have allows us to train at a higher level sooner. Part of the responsibility as veterans is to model appropriate behaviors and techniques for our young players so they understand our expectations.”
Lukes, who averaged 3.03 kills per set while hitting at a blazing .420 clip (fourth among Division One players) and sent back 147 blocks, was appropriately awarded for her accomplishments last season. She was named WAC Player of the Week twice, made four all-tournament teams and brought home first team All-WAC honors.
Harrington, a Cedar Falls, Iowa native, averaged 3.15 kills per set in 2018 while swinging for a .201 hitting percentage. She has led the team in kills the past two seasons, and will look for her senior season to be the best yet.
The returners will not be counted on to do everything, however, as Kansas City adds four fresh faces to the mix: two setters in Kennedy Schritenthal and Peyton Van Nest, a right side hitter in Garionna Pearl and an outside hitter in Raina Smith. Posey looks forward to seeing what the freshmen can bring to the team.
“We’re eager for our freshman class to ‘hurry up and learn,’ but that’s how it always is with freshmen,” she said. “The foursome have good skills and plenty of athleticism – we expect they will progress steadily through the year and have chances to contribute at different times as they bring something unique to our program.”
In addition to the freshmen, Roos fans will also be excited for the return of senior Mykal Sadler, who sat for the entirety of last season due to injury. The 6’1 middle started in all of Kansas City’s matches in 2017, finishing second on the team with 2.29 kills per set and a blazing .254 hitting percentage. Her return will give the Roos depth at the net, as she and Lukes will be counted on to hold down the fort in the middle.
“She has worked hard to ready herself for her senior season. We look forward to her return as a former starter and experienced senior. She is eager to impact our team,” Posey said.
Kansas City will open its season in the Swinney Center on August 30, taking on the University of Kansas at 7pm. The game theme will be “YELL OUT in YELLOW”, and all Roos fans are encouraged to deck out in Kansas City yellow. From there, the Roos will play in three separate tournaments, hosting the KC Roos Klassic from September 6-7 before travelling to the Mizzou Invitational and the Jackrabbit Invitational. They will then jump right into WAC play, leading up to the conference tournament in Orem, Utah from November 21-23.