Jayhawks Overcome UCF in Four Sets

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Powered by three players with double digit kills, the University of Kansas volleyball team improved to 3-2 after defeating Central Florida (2-3) in four sets (25-23, 25-10, 20-25, 25-17) Saturday at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center. The victory gave KU a 2-1 record in the Jayhawk Invitational and a second-place finish for the tournament.

Freshman Allison Mayfield and sophomore Karina Garlington paced the team with 11 kills a piece. Senior Natalie Uhart added 10.

Also in double figures was sophomore libero Melissa Manda who dug up a season-high 14 balls. Freshman Nicole Tate ran an efficient KU offense tallying 43 assists.

“Overall it was a pretty good match,” said head coach Ray Bechard. “I was really excited about our performance in the second set. We took a break in game three but we responded well in set four when we needed to. I liked our balance.”

The first set saw six ties and three lead changes before the Jayhawks finished strong to close out the set on top, 25-23. Karina Garlington and Natalie Uhart had three kills each to lead the team.

The Jayhawks opened the second set with a quick 10-6 advantage before UCF called a timeout. This did not stop the bleeding as KU responded with a 15-3 run to win the set 25-10. Uhart had back-to-back serving aces in the middle of the set to jump-start the Jayhawk charge.

The ten points allowed by the Jayhawks were the fewest by an opponent since August 25, 2006 (eight vs. Alabama A&M). It is the second time this season that KU has held an opponent to under 13 points.

Central Florida responded well in the third set with a 25-20 win. Janie Williams and Stephanie Serna had four kills a piece to lead the Knights, while the Jayhawks committed eight errors.

The fourth set was back and forth before the Jayhawks used a 7-1 run to close out the contest with a 25-17 win.

“I’m pleased with our performance this weeked, but I know we have a lot to work on,” said Senior Natalie Uhart. “I know we will continue to get better.”

Uhart and Karina Garlington were selected to the all-tournament team. Oregon middle blocker Neticia Enesi was selected as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

The Jayhawks return to action Tuesday, Sept. 9, as they take on the University of Missouri – Kansas City in Lawrence at 7 p.m.