Jayhawk Volleyball Conquers Oklahoma in Five Sets

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Four players finished with double-digit kills and three finished with double-digit digs in Kansas volleyball’s 3-2 win versus Oklahoma Wednesday night for the Jayhawks’ first conference victory of the year.

KU improved to 8-3 on the season and 1-1 in Big 12 play, while the Sooners dropped to 9-3 and 2-1 in the conference.

“I was really proud of the way we never gave up tonight,” said head coach Ray Bechard. “We bounced right back against a really good team and I really like the effort we had.”

Junior Melissa Manda posted a team-high 29 digs followed by sophomore Nicole Tate who dug a career-high 21 balls. Senior Katie Martincich also recorded 19 digs for the Jayhawks.

Junior Karina Garlington led the attack with 28 kills, marking the second straight game she’s recorded 20 kills or more and ninth time in her career. Also contributing for the Jayhawks was senior Paige Mazour (14) and sophomores Allison Mayfield (13) and Lauren Hagan (10). Mazour also added a team-best six total blocks, including three solos, for a career high.

After losing the first four points of the first set, Kansas slowly came back, posting four kills from four different players in nine points. At 18-23, the Jayhawks went on a 3-0 run, but it was not enough and they dropped the first set 25-21.

Kansas opened the second set with a Hagan kill and immediately pulled ahead. At 4-2, the Jayhawks went on a 5-1 run, featuring three blocks from Mazour. Garlington found her rhythm, recording nine kills to lead the team to a 25-20 second set victory.

Oklahoma started strong in the third set, coming out winning the first three points. Freshman Tayler Tolefree stepped up with two consecutive blocks for the Jayhawks, fueling them to a 4-0 run at 7-8 and another 3-0 run at 15-13. Kansas limited its errors and finished the third set with 54 digs to win 25-22.

In the fourth set, the Jayhawks lost the first two points, but came back with a 6-1 run at 6-7. Despite five different players recording kills, the Jayhawks were not able to finish on top as they fell 27-25 to push the fifth set.

In the fifth and final set, the two teams were never further than two points of each other. As KU trailed 10-9, Garlington posted three of the final six points in a 6-0 run to help the Jayhawks to a 15-10 victory to win the match.

Kansas will continue Big 12 Conference play at No. 24 Baylor on Saturday, Sept. 26. Game time is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.