Courtesy of KUAthletics
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas volleyball team put up a fight against No. 1 Texas, but would drop 3-2 (23-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-22, 15-9) on Wednesday evening in their first Big 12 match of the season.
KU drops to 10-3 (0-1 Big 12) while Texas continues their win streak 9-0 (1-0 Big 12).
“There’s a lot of people getting excited about playing for two hours and 40 minutes, but the margin for error against No. 1 Texas is small,” stated head coach Ray Bechard. “We were uncharacteristic in moments we needed to be solid, so it is disappointing.”
Texas came out with the first point of the match, but Kansas quickly responded with a kill by sophomore London Davis. KU maintained the lead for a bit before the Longhorns were able to take the lead back 8-5. A double block by super-senior Anezka Szabo and graduate transfer Lauren Dooley put the Jayhawks within one, 9-8. Texas extended their lead 14-9 heading into a timeout. It didn’t take long for Dooley to put the Jayhawks within one, 22-21. A double block by Dooley and Szabo tied up the match at 22. An ace by sophomore Camryn Turner allowed Kansas to regain the lead 24-23. Davis closed out the set for a Jayhawks victory 25-23, giving Texas their fourth set loss of the season.
KU took an early lead in set two 3-0. Dooley and Davis teamed up for a double block to reject the Longhorns offense. A kill by Szabo advanced the Jayhawks to an 8-4 lead. Kansas found their defensive rhythm as Dooley and Szabo turned down the Longhorns attempt for a kill. KU continued their momentum with a block by super-senior Rachel Langs and Dooley, moving the Jayhawks to a 14-9 lead. Back-to-back kills by redshirt freshman Ayah Elnady and Szabo forced a Texas timeout 17-11. The Longhorns attempted a comeback 18-16 before KU called for a timeout of their own. UT would eventually go on a six-point run to take the lead 19-18. Elnady ended the Texas run with a kill of her own. A block by sophomore Caroline Bien and a kill by freshman Katie Dalton took the Jayhawks to victory 25-23.
Turner started off set three with an ace, the Jayhawks fourth of the match. Bien took Kansas to a 3-1 lead with a kill. The Longhorns recorded a service ace to take KU ahead 9-6, but the lead didn’t last long as Texas advanced to 11-9. A 6-0 run by the Longhorns was halted after a service error. Turner moved KU within one, 12-11, after a service ace. An attack by Davis was rejected by the Texas defense, allowing the Longhorns to continue the lead 15-12. Langs tallied a kill to close the gap 17-14. The Longhorns were too far gone as they finished set three 25-18.
Texas came out with a kill, but Davis and Elnady were able to put Kansas on the board and tie up the set 2-2. UT was able to move ahead 7-5 to take control of set four. Bien made sure to put the Jayhawks within two with a kill, 8-6. Kansas had no choice but to call for a timeout at 11-7. Elnady moved the Jayhawks closer to the Longhorns 14-11. Soon enough, Langs put the ball past the Longhorns defense for a Jayhawk kill, 15-12. A service error by Texas helped Kansas to a side out point and allowed KU to get close to Texas 16-14. A kill by Bien and an ace by freshman Molly McCarthy tied up the set 16-16. The KU momentum was shortly lived after Texas took the lead once again 19-17. A miscommunication between the Longhorn players tied up the set at 19 and made Texas call for a timeout. Elnady was able to earn a kill to put the Jayhawks back into the set 20-20. UT ended up taking set four 25-22, tying the match up at two.
For the first time in the 2022 campaign, both Texas and Kansas went into set five. Davis and Dooley created a wall to stop Texas from gaining too much of a lead, tying the set 2-2. Langs recorded the first kill of the set for Kansas as she moved the Jayhawks to 3-3. A kill by Langs put KU within two, 7-5. Elnady was able to move Kansas on the scoreboard to 10-6, but Texas finished out the set 15-9.
- Kansas is the only team who took No. 1 Texas to five sets this season.
- Redshirt freshman Ayah Elnady led the Jayhawk offense with 15 kills, hitting .209.
- Super-senior Anezka Szabo and graduate transfer Lauren Dooley tallied six total blocks in five sets.
- Super-senior Rachel Langs and sophomore Caroline Bien recorded 11 kills apiece.
“I think there is a lot to hold onto,” said Bechard. “The level of play forced them into things they obviously didn’t want to do, but we feel like we left some things on the table tonight. We served tough and I think they worked through their lineup and found their best lineup.”
The Kansas Jayhawks will travel to Manhattan, Kansas to face off against in-state rival Kansas State on September 24 in Bramlage Coliseum. The match will begin at 4 p.m. CT and will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.