Jayhawks Roll Past UALR, Take Second in Kansas Invitational
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the second-straight match, sophomore Tayler Tolefree collected a career-high 11 kills to help lead the Kansas volleyball team to a sweep of Arkansas- Little Rock in the final match of the Kansas Invitational Saturday afternoon. Tolefree was also named to the all-tournament team along with senior Karina Garlington.
KU, which won by scores of 25-19, 25-13 and 25-19, took second in the tournament as it improved to 9-2 on the season. UALR fell to 2-8 overall and placed third. No. 18 Northern Iowa took the title, while Winthrop finished fourth.
“We played everybody on the roster today,” said head coach Ray Bechard, who is just one win shy of his 200th victory at Kansas. “Sometimes when you do that, things get a little uneven and momentum changes. But we did block extremely well and we gave everybody an opportunity, which we wanted to see some people in different situations heading into Big 12 play on Wednesday.”
Tolefree tallied her team-high 11 kills on a .450 attack percentage committing just two hitting errors during the match. Garlington chipped in with nine kills and had two solo blocks. Junior Allison Mayfield helped spread out the offense adding eight kills of her own as well as eight digs.
The Jayhawks out-played the Trojans in every statistical category, including a 12.0-4.0 advantage in blocks. Redshirt freshman Caroline Jarmoc led all players with five rejections on the night and Tolefree followed close behind with four.
Garlington and Tolefree got things rolling for Kansas in the opening set as junior setter Nicole Tate found the pair for five kills a piece on a .714 and .625 hitting efficiency, respectively. It marked Tate’s first start of the season. The team overcame a slow start with a five-point run near the end of the set to turn a one-point lead into a 23-17 advantage en route to its 25-19 win.
In set two, KU again strung together a strong effort down the stretch scoring seven unanswered points to take a commanding 22-11 lead before ultimately winning the frame 25-13. The Jayhawks’ defense combined for 6.0 blocks in the set, while freshman libero Brianne Riley was busy in the back court digging up six balls. She finished with a team-high 10 digs. KU also limited the Trojans to a -.125 attack percentage as they committed 12 hitting errors.
Freshman Jaime Mathieu made her first appearance as libero in the third and final set digging up four balls for KU. Tolefree paced the offense with five more kills as the Jayhawks notched a 25-19 win to finish the match.
Kansas will open its Big 12 Conference season when it travels to in-state rival Kansas State on Wednesday, Sept. 15. Match time is slated for 7 p.m. from Ahearn Field House.