🏐 Kansas Drops 3-1 to UNLV in Kansas Invitational
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The No. 19 Kansas volleyball team dropped its first match of the season to the UNLV Lady Rebels 3-1 (25-22, 27-25, 18-25, 25-19) Friday night in the final game of the Kansas Invitational at Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena. UNLV improved to 7-1 on the season, while KU fell to 8-1.
“UNLV’s serving game was solid,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “You see a lot of stats, but the first contact, how aggressive are we serving and how well are we passing. I thought they did a great job at that tonight and it shifted the match in UNLV’s favor.”
The Lady Rebels kicked off set one with an error to put the Jayhawks ahead 1-0. KU sophomore Kennedy Farris served the first ace of the match to extend the lead 4-2. An impressive dig by sophomore Caroline Bien fellow teammate super-senior Anezka Szabo to tally a kill for the Jayhawks. UNLV was able to collect a one-point lead heading into a media timeout, 15-14 and maintained the lead from there. The Lady Rebels took set one 25-22.
The first point of set two originally went to UNLV, but the Jayhawks challenged a touch to reverse the call and taking the first point of the set. Kansas would then go on a 3-0 run to take an early lead. The Lady Rebels crept up to take the lead from Kansas 11-10. Redshirt-freshman Ayah Elnady tied up the score 20-20 with back-to-back service aces to put Kansas back in the match. KU sophomore Camryn Turner and graduate transfer Lauren Dooley’s each recorded kills to put Kansas ahead 25-24 but it wasn’t enough as UNLV scored three straight point to win set two 27-25.
To start set three, the Lady Rebels took hold of a 6-0 run. Kansas was able to go on a 7-1 run to tie up the match 9-9. Back-to-back kills by Bien forced a UNLV timeout. A block by the Jayhawks was challenged by UNLV, ending in a replay. However, Bien made sure to get the point back to Kansas with a kill, 11-10. UNLV made sure to keep close with the Jayhawks, but sophomore Karli Schmidt entered the match to elevate Kansas 20-16. KU maintained control and won set three 25-18.
UNLV took an early lead 8-4. A block solo by junior Kim Whetstone kept Kansas within two, 10-8. Whetstone added another and a block assist by Dooley and sophomore London Davis allowed Kansas to take the lead 12-11. The lead was short lived for KU as UNLV took home set four 25-19.
- Sophomore Caroline Bien led Kansas with 16 kills, hitting .400.
- Junior Kennedy Farris contributed 19 digs.
- Leading in blocks was junior Kim Whetstone with six total blocks.
“We were down 2-0, so we felt like we should shake it up a bit,” Bechard said. “We were trying to create some opportunities in some other areas. I thought Kim Whetstone responded pretty well. We thought we needed more defense on the back row, so I think Brynn Kirsh did a great job.”
Kansas will take a short break before hosting Omaha, UCF and Lipscomb for the Jayhawk Classic on September 15-17. The Jayhawks will play Lipscomb first on September 15 at 6:30 p.m. CT, followed by UCF on September 16 at 6:30 p.m. CT and rounding out the tournament on September 17 at 2:30 p.m. CT against Omaha. Shortly following the match between Kansas and Omaha, the Jayhawks will retire the jerseys of Ainise Havili and Kelsie Payne.