Kansas Rolls Past Liberty at Georgia Bulldog Invitational, 3-0
ATHENS, Ga. –An impressive .700 team attack percentage in the final set capped off a powerfully efficient morning as the University of Kansas volleyball team swept Liberty at the Ramsey Center on the University of Georgia campus Saturday morning, 25-21, 25-13, 25-9.
Kansas (2-0) executed its game plan against a tough Liberty (0-2) opponent fresh off of its fourth-straight Big South regular-season title in the teams’ second match of the weekend. The third-set victory not only highlighted a potent Jayhawk offense that connected on 14 kills and zero errors, but also showcased a lockdown defense that held Liberty to a -.031 attack percentage.
Kansas finished the match hitting .387 as a team while holding Liberty’s squad to a .057 percentage. The 25-9 victory marked the first time Kansas held an opponent to a single-digit set score since the 2006 season when the Jayhawks knocked off Alabama A&M, 30-17, 30-8, 30-14 on Aug. 25, 2006.
“When you hit .700 in a set with no errors, we really felt like we were seeing what we wanted to see,” head coach Ray Bechardsaid. “Liberty is a good program. They won 25 games last year and are picked to win their league. They will do well in their league and we needed to play well against them, and we did. We saw a big step up for this team from match one.”
Senior outside hitter Allison Mayfieldlooked the part of the team’s leading offensive returner, notching six kills in each of the first two sets and finishing the morning match with 17 kills off of a career-best .484 (17-for-31) attack percentage. She also knocked down a pair of block assists and a solo block to tally 19 points for the Jayhawks.
Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc also enjoyed a career day, swinging for a personal-best .900 percentage (9-for-10), while collecting five block assists and three service aces. Kansas connected on 10 service aces on Saturday.
“We were able to really put pressure on them from the service line and then follow that up with a very good offensive performance,” Bechard said. “Our game plan wasn’t extensive, but they followed it.”
The Jayhawks got out to a quick start in the opening set, building a 6-2 early lead using a pair of Mayfield kills. An ace from Liberty’s side of the floor capped the team’s rally to knot the score, 9-9, before the Flames took the slight advantage in the middle of the first set.
In the first start of her career, freshman outside hitter Chelsea Albers and Jarmoc picked up where they left off the night before, assisting each other with a block to pull Kansas within a point. Junior defensive specialist Morgan Boub’sace tied the game, 14-14. Boub landed four aces on Saturday morning.
Sophomore setter Kara Wehrsexploited open territory for a well-placed kill to highlight a 3-0 Kansas run for the Jayhawks’ largest lead to that point, 17-14. Wehrs’ kill only supplemented her proficient handling of the offense as Kansas recorded 13 kills on 13 assists in the first set.
Relentless, the Flames battled back with one, 21-20, to force Bechard to call his first timeout of the match.
The quick break worked. Mayfield, who swung for a .455 attack percentage in the opening frame, logged another kill to help the Jayhawks push its way back to a 23-20 advantage. Called upon for the last serve, sophomore defensive specialist Jaime Mathieuexecuted her job flawlessly as her ace closed out the first set, 25-21.
In the second set, Jarmoc forced a continued ball back over the net for her third kill of the match and followed that with a service ace to knot the score, 4-4. Back-to-back Mayfield kills gave KU a little room before the joint effort of junior middle blocker Tayler Tolefree and freshman outside hitter Sara McClintonresulted in block en roué to the 9-6 lead.
A pair of Liberty errors backed by a block from Mayfield and Jarmoc stretched the lead to 13-8, forcing Liberty coach Shane Pinder to call a timeout. Ready to roll, Mayfield returned from the timeout to connect on a kill, reaching double digits only midway through the second set. Jarmoc followed with one of her own and another ace to propel Kansas to its largest lead of the morning, 18-9. Wehrs opened up for an ace and crafty kill to add to the advantage, 22-10.
Mayfield’s 12th kill of the match gave the Jayhawks the second set handily, 25-13.
With the 2-0 lead in hand, sophomore libero Brianne Rileygave the Jayhawks their ninth ace of the day and Albers tallied back-to-back kills for the quick 4-0 lead in the third set. Albers finished the match with six kills and three block assists.
Hitting full-stride through the final set, Mayfield and Jarmoc attacked for back-to-back kills before Mayfield and junior middle blocker Tayler Tolefreeblocked the 2010 Big South Freshman of the Year Jade Craycraft’s attempt. With the commanding 11-3 advantage, the Jayhawks forced another Liberty timeout.
The pause did little to affect the Jayhawks’ momentum, McClinton’s first solo block of her career handed Kansas the 18-6 advantage. The lead would stand as Boub landed her fourth ace of the morning. A pair of Liberty attack errors handed Kansas the compelling victory, 25-9.
-Freshman Chelsea Albers made her first-career start on Saturday morning. Fellow rookie Sara McClinton started along side her for her second-career start.
-Kansas hit for a .700 attack percentage in the final set and did not commit an attack error. Due to statistical programming, team attack percentages by set cannot be verified as a program record.
-Senior Allison Mayfield’s previous attack percentage career-high was .444 (twice, last at Iowa State, 11/29/08). Redshirt sophomore Caroline Jarmoc’s previous was .500 at Baylor, 10/13/10.
Kansas will face tournament-host Georgia in the final game of the Georgia Bulldog Invitational at 6 p.m. CT. The match will be live streamed with audio on Georgia All-Access free of charge.