Kansas Claims Jayhawk Invitational Title for Second-Straight Tourney Win
LAWRENCE, Kan. –For the second-consecutive weekend, the University of Kansas volleyball team won its way to a tournament title as the Jayhawks defended their undefeated record, Saturday afternoon against South Dakota State, 25-11, 25-21, 25-23.
More than 1,200 fans watched the Jayhawks (6-0) race out to an early 1-0 lead using a commanding first-set victory. Kansas put together a blistering .500 attack percentage in the opening frame, while forcing six Jackrabbit (5-2) errors. Kansas would finish the match hitting over .300 for the fourth time this season.
“We put a lot of pressure on them with our serve, our block and our attack,” head coach Ray Bechard said. “Something we’ve got to figure out is to how to play that way even longer. Right now, we’re seeing that in spurts, which is a pretty typical early season issue.”
Senior outside hitter Allison Mayfieldalso made it a second-straight effort as she was named the Jayhawk Invitational MVP just one week following her MVP honors at the Georgia Bulldog Invitational. Mayfield crushed 43 kills for a 4.30 kills per set average and added 32 digs as a proven six-rotation player.
“She’s been great in all areas,” Bechard said. “Her passing, serving and attack percentages have all been great. She is doing a lot of good things for us. We’re happy with the way she’s been playing.”
Redshirt sophomore Caroline Jarmoc and junior Tayler Tolefreerepresented the Jayhawks’ talented middle blocking crew. Both were named to the all-tournament team after combining for 2.30 blocks per set over the weekend. As a team, Kansas averaged an impressive 2.90 blocks per set.
An offensive force, Jarmoc drilled 34 kills and hit for a team-leading .417 attack percentage to earn all-tournament honors for the second-straight week. Tolefree led the team with her 1.20 blocks per set, while shelling out 24 kills.
“They’ve been working hard,” Bechard said. “They’re physical kids that are working hard and they want to do well and know that’s an area that can really help our team. As a whole, I think our team is off to a better start blocking-wise than we have been for a long time.”
Sophomore setter Kara Wehrs also shined over the weekend, passing out 95 assists for a 9.50 per-set mark. She also racked up 11 kills and 25 digs. Fellow sophomore setter Erin McNortonmade the most of her playing time, averaging 4.0 assists per set.
All three of the Jayhawks’ all-tournament honorees and freshman outside hitter Sara McClinton joined forces for a red-hot start in set one, pushing KU out to a 17-7 lead while forcing South Dakota State to use its second timeout. A kill for fellow freshman outside hitter Chelsea Albershanded Kansas the ten-point advantage, 17-7.
The Jayhawks never looked back as a McClinton kill sparked four-straight SDSU errors to claim the set, 25-11. The Jacks bounced back to open the second set with an early 4-1 lead before consecutive kills from McClinton and Jarmoc ignited an 8-1 run. The duo would combine for eight kills to take the second set, 25-21.
Kansas, who has lost just one set in its first six matches, used an intense back-and-forth effort in the final set of the weekend. Neither team took more than a three-point lead in a set that included seven lead changes.
Down 18-15, Bechard called a timeout. Rallying their team, Mayfield, Tolefree and Jarmoc connected on kills to even the score, 22-22. Sophomore setter Erin McNortondished out a key assist to Mayfield to bring Kansas to match point and an attack error on SDSU’s side of the net closed out the match in favor of the home team, 25-23.
Kansas will hit the road for Cedar Falls, Iowa, for its third of four pre-conference season tournaments. No. 14 Northern Iowa will also welcome No. 11 Minnesota and St. Louis to the Northern Iowa Invitational, Sept. 16-17.
Allison Mayfield, KU (MVP)
Caroline Jarmoc, KU
Tayler Tolefree, KU
Kaitlin Klingemann, SDSU
Kelli Fiegen, SDSU
Meghan Forshey, ASU
Maggie Johnson, Belmont