Jayhawks Sweep North Texas in Arkansas Volleyball Tournament Opener

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – – A balanced offense and solid defense helped the Kansas volleyball team to a 3-0 sweep (25-15, 25-16, 25-20) of North Texas Friday evening during the first match of the Arkansas Tournament.

The Jayhawks improved to 5-2 on the young season, while NT continues to look for its first win of 2009 having dropped to 0-8.

KU matched a season-high hitting percentage with a .324 attack percentage during the match led by freshman Tayler Tolefree, who, while making her second career start, swung at a .462 attack percentage recording seven kills on 13 attempts and making just one error. Tolefree also had five blocks, one less than sophomore Lauren Hagan, who blocked a career-best six balls.

The Jayhawks collected 44 kills in the contest compared to North Texas’ 27. Karina Garlington led all players with 10 kills. Sophomore Allison Mayfield added eight more as Hagan ended with seven.

Defensively, KU out-dug the Mean Green 56-41 and was led by junior libero Melissa Manda’s 15 digs. Sophomore Nicole Tate joined her in double figures tallying 11 digs along with 38 assists for her second double-double of the year.

KU quickly dismissed North Texas in set one by a score of 25-15, setting the tone for the rest of the match. Trailing 13-12 in the first set, Kansas turned up the intensity and scored 14 of the set’s last 16 points. The Jayhawks used a 7-0 run to take an 18-13 lead. North Texas next scored back-to-back points but KU put together a string of seven points to close out the set.

Senior Paige Mazour was successful on 50 percent of her attempts collecting four kills and no errors in set one. Senior Katie Martincich recorded a pair of service aces, including one for set point.

In the second set, Kansas was forced to play behind early but knotted the score at 10-10 before taking over a lead it would never relinquish. The Jayhawks soon put the set out of reach for the Mean Green with a 7-0 run to increase their lead to 20-12. Two NT errors and a kill from Garlington ended the frame at 25-16.

KU hit at a match-best .375 clip in set two, while taking advantage of nine Mean Green hitting errors. Manda was already at double-digit digs with 10 after two frames.

After taking a commanding 18-7 lead in the third and final set, Kansas had trouble putting the match away. North Texas scored five straight points and then put together a 7-1 run shortly after to put the score at 23-18. The Jayhawks were able to hang on however as an NT attack error and Mayfield kill down the stretch finished the match, 25-20.

Kansas will continue play in the Arkansas Tournament tomorrow, Saturday, when it takes on Jacksonville State at 1 p.m. and host Arkansas at 7 p.m. Live stats for both matches, as well as video for the Arkansas match, are available on www.KUAthletics.com.