Jayhawks Go Undefeated in Bluejay Invite, Garlington Named MVP
OMAHA, Neb. – Senior Karina Garlington collected 13 kills in Saturday’s finale to help the Kansas volleyball team defeat Creighton 3-1 and go undefeated during the Bluejay Invitational. Garlington averaged 4.00 kills per set on a .290 attack percentage in three matches over the weekend to earn Most Valuable Player accolades.
KU improved to 3-0 on the season for the first time since 2005 when the Jayhawks opened the year with four-straight wins. Creighton fell to 1-2 with the loss.
After splitting the first two sets, Kansas came out of the break with strong efforts in the third and fourth frames to top the Bluejays in four.
“We played well at the right times,” said head coach Ray Bechard. “I thought our transition offense in set three was terrific. We play a lot of young kids and our veterans did a good job of meshing with them. That mix will help us mature as a team.”
In the third set, the Jayhawks took the early lead but could not shake the Bluejays as Creighton stayed close behind. With the score tied at 12-12, KU finally pulled away scoring 13 of the set’s final 15 points to earn a 25-14 win.
Morgan Boub played an important role down the stretch from the service line collecting a pair of aces, while junior Allison Mayfield chipped in five kills, four digs and an ace in the frame.
Set four was very similar with KU taking the first lead out of the gate. The relentless Bluejays managed to come back from a five-point deficit and evened the score at 18-18 and eventually took the lead at 20-19. Creighton’s lead didn’t last long as sophomore Tayler Tolefree, senior Jenna Kaiser and Garlington each scored consecutive kills to put Kansas back on top 22-20. CU made things interesting coming within two again at 24-22 but the Jayhawks hung on as Mayfield ended the match with her team-best 14th kill.
Mayfield also added 20 digs for her first double-double of the season to go along with four total blocks as she was named to the all-tournament team. Senior Melissa Manda led all defenders with 21 digs. Freshman Brianne Riley contributed 13 in the effort.
Kansas battled from behind to start the match trailing by two to three points through the first half of the opening set. Down 15-13, the Jayhawks strung together five unanswered points to gain an advantage they would never lose. Though the Bluejays threatened at 23-21, Kaiser recorded back-to-back kills to finish the set at 25-21.
Trailing 22-15 in set two, the outlook looked bleak for the Jayhawks. However, Kansas battled back going on a 9-2 run to lock the score at 24-all. KU took advantage of six Creighton errors in the rally. The teams tied again at 25, 26 and 27 but a pair of attack errors by Kansas ended the set at 29-27 in CU’s favor.
Manda and Riley were solid in the back court collecting seven digs a piece during the second set.
Kansas will have two days to rest before it welcomes UMKC to the Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 6:30 p.m. The Jayhawks’ home opener, it is the first match of an eight match homestand for KU.