Jayhawk Volleyball Downed in Season Opener

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Despite 12 kills from junior Karina Garlington and tying the match at 1-1, the University of Kansas volleyball team fell 3-1 (25-16, 18-25, 25-19, 25-18) to Middle Tennessee State in both teams’ 2009 season opener during the MTSU Invitational.

With Kansas trailing 21-13 in the fourth set, the Jayhawks tried to string together a comeback scoring four of the next five points but it was too late as the Blue Raiders hung on to win the set (25-18) and the match.

Junior Karina Garlington led all Jayhawks with 12 kills and senior Brittany Williams added seven.

On defense, junior libero Melissa Manda dug up a team-high 14 balls. Sophomore setter Nicole Tate, who tallied 33 assists and five kills, totaled four blocks on the night along with senior Paige Mazour. Mazour also made just her fourth career start in the match.

KU had a tough night on offense hitting just .082 compared to Middle Tennessee’s .276 hitting efficiency.

Kansas trailed two to three points for much of the third set but fought back to knot the score at 10-10 and again at 19-19. However, the Blue Raiders rattled off six straight points to promptly end the set.

After going back-and-forth to start set two, Kansas scored seven of nine points to build its first lead of the match at 12-8. The Blue Raiders battled back within one at 14-13 but KU scored five straight points, two off Jenna Kaiser kills and three from MTSU errors, to keep a comfortable lead. The Jayhawks took advantage of three more Blue Raider errors towards the end of the set while Williams, Tate and Garlington each added a kill to help KU win 25-18.

KU took advantage of 10 Middle Tennessee errors, while hitting a match-high .292 attack percentage.

In the opening set, KU had to shake off some early season rust. Despite matching MTSU’s 11 kills in the set, the Jayhawks committed 13 hitting errors. MTSU had just one attack error.

The Jayhawks play again Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. versus Xavier and then play Murray State at 5 p.m. to conclude the tournament.