Kansas Falls to FIU to Cap Day One of Jayhawk Volleyball Invitational

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Despite two players in double-digit kills and a career blocking performance from freshman Tayler Tolefree, the Kansas volleyball team could not find a way to defeat Florida International as the Jayhawks fell 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-22) to cap day one of the Jayhawk Invitational.

KU fell to 3-2 on the season while FIU, an NCAA Tournament team from 2008, improved to 4-1.

Neither team had a strong night offensively as the Panthers’ .128 attack percentage barely edged Kansas’ .079 hitting efficiency.

Despite the lack of accuracy, junior Karina Garlington recorded her third-straight match of double figure kills with a team-high 16. Sophomore Allison Mayfield joined her in double digits with 13 kills, her fourth consecutive match with 10-plus kills. She was just shy of a double-double adding nine digs in the effort.

Tolefree finished the evening with a match-best seven block assists. Junior libero Melissa Manda helped on defense digging up a team-high 14 balls.

In the opening frame, Kansas kept a lead throughout the set until FIU came back to tie the set at 21-21. One Panther point later, Hagan and Mayfield recorded back-to-back kills followed by a combined block from Tolefree and Nicole Tate to push KU ahead 24-22. After an FIU point, Tolefree tallied her first kill of the match to put the set away 25-23. Mayfield finished with seven kills in set one.

KU again looked strong in the second set using a 5-0 run to build a 14-10 lead over the Panthers, but Florida International eventually tied the score at 16-all and gave the Jayhawks trouble for the rest of the contest. Finally, at 23-23, KU made two attack errors to give FIU a 25-23 set two win.

The Jayhawks wouldn’t take a lead again until 7-6 in the fourth set. The teams battled back-and-forth taking turns with the lead but a handful of untimely errors doomed KU as FIU went on to win the fourth and decisive set 25-22.

Kansas will wrap up the Jayhawk Invitational Saturday, Sept. 5 versus Creighton at 1 p.m.