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Sources: Kansas volleyball sophomore Caroline Crawford planning to leave KU

Middle blocker Caroline Crawford eats up a Kansas City Roos attack during the Jayhawks' four-set win on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 at Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena.

Sources close to the Kansas volleyball program confirmed to the Journal-World on Friday night that reports of sophomore middle blocker Caroline Crawford’s plans to transfer were accurate.

The 2020 preseason Big 12 Conference freshman of the year was a central figure in KU’s program during each of the past two seasons.

Her ability as a two-way threat, both as an attacker on offense and, more importantly, as blocker at the net, was a key part of KU’s run to the Sweet 16 this season.

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Kansas volleyball middle blocker Caroline Crawford rises up for a swing in the NCAA Tournament, ...

Aiden Droge/Kansas Athletics

The Jayhawks made it to the Sweet 16 for just the third time in program history, knocking off nationally ranked squads Oregon and Creighton in the first two rounds before falling to Final Four-bound Pittsburgh.

According to sources, Crawford made the decision to leave KU earlier this week. Reports have indicated that Crawford has entered the transfer portal. It is not yet known where she plans to transfer.

Kansas coach Ray Bechard was at the Final Four this week in Columbus, Ohio. When reached by the Journal-World on Saturday morning, Bechard had no comment on Crawford's departure.

During her two years at KU, Crawford started every match for the Jayhawks, earning first team all-Big 12 and all-rookie team honors in 2020 and second team all-Big 12 honors this season.

A 6-foot-3 sophomore from nearby Lansing High, Crawford also played on the USA Volleyball U20 National Training Team.

Shortly after the season ended, as well as throughout the Jayhawks' postseason run, Crawford gushed about KU's volleyball future being bright, saying after the loss to Pittsburgh that this year's run showed "that we can compete with high-level teams with what we have. And we have a lot of great athletes coming in. So I think that can contribute and add more to that."

Asked if the Jayhawks' tourney run in 2021 raised expectations for the program's future, Crawford said simply, "I would say so, yeah."

KU has three other middle blockers on its current roster, including senior Rachel Langs, who said earlier this month that she hoped to return to KU for one more season after getting a year of eligibility back from the pandemic.

The other two current Jayhawks at Crawford's position are reserves Gracie Van Driel, a junior, and sophomore Kaiti Parks. While those three figure to get the first crack at filling the void left by Crawford's departure, KU also could search for a replacement in the transfer portal.

Comments

David Kelley-Wood

Well, that is super disappointing news. No way to spin into a positive. Gotta wish her well, but, damnit! Why?

11 months, 2 weeks ago

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Gerry Butler

My exact same question bud - - -WHY ? - - WHAT HAPPENED ? - -like you said that's a hit , a BIG hit. I don't understand , she was one of our major players.

That kind of makes it a sad day , really sorry to hear that , I know we will be fine but anytime you lose a player of this caliber it's a hit. -Well Good luck Ladies let's get after it again next year. Good Luck Carolyn - -gonna miss ya , thanks for how you played

11 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bville Hawk

It's inexplicable

11 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

That would seem to indicate that maybe chemistry wasn’t quite what they were commenting on the last couple weeks. Really disappointing.

11 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dale Rogers

First team Big12 last year, Second team this year. Another player getting All American recognition and most of the media attention. So, maybe pouting? Feeling hurt? I agree it sounds like a chemistry issue.

11 months, 2 weeks ago

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Andy Godwin

Maybe she is getting recruited by a top 5 program - time will tell. Everyone is open game these days. Why the transfer portal has changed college athletics forever. When players had to sit out a year if they planned to transfer they at least had to think twice about bailing. Coaches now need to spend time re-recruiting the players they want to return. C'est la vie.

11 months, 2 weeks ago

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Layne Pierce

Still
You take the last 5 years of KU Volleyball and look at the transfers of very talented people,, and you have to ask yourself, if something in the program is just not right.

Pouting, doesn't seem like Crawford. Especially on such short notice.

RCJH

11 months, 2 weeks ago

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Doug Roberts

Better NIL money elsewhere? Hope not, but this is where we're at.

11 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bville Hawk

This is my main gripe with Bechard's program. I'm talking Jada Burse, Morgan Christon, Camryn Ennis, and now Crawford. All players in the last 3 years enjoying significant success and playing major roles and then departing.

Everyone understands players transferring who aren't getting playing time, but that is not the case with any of these players.

The associate AD for volleyball (Nicole Corcoran) needs to have a serious conversation with Crawford and see what her gripe is and then remedy the situation pronto and if that involves dismissal of coaches then so be it.

I agree with Layne that something is not right in the program, the head man needs to take ownership and responsibility.

11 months, 2 weeks ago

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David Kelley-Wood

An "exit interview" makes a lot of sense. Mutual appreciation likely..

11 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

Bville - That sounds similar to the football inquisition of 2009.

11 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bville Hawk

Not even close...

11 months, 2 weeks ago

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Layne Pierce

Dirk
Do you see no problem with all those talented players leaving the program.? No explanation from Coach Bechard, no comment. Just bad luck I guess, or there is something rotten in the program.

And please don;t copare this to 2009. Even supporters of Coach Bechard should be concerned.

RCJH

11 months, 2 weeks ago

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