Kansas Records Career-Best Nights in Loss at Baylor
WACO, Texas – Despite career-best nights for sophomore libero Brianne Riley and redshirt sophomores Catherine Carmichael and Caroline Jarmoc, the University of Kansas volleyball team was unable to hold off the Baylor Bears, Saturday night at the Ferrell Center, 23-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-22.
For the first time this season, Kansas (11-4, 0-3) fell to an unranked opponent, while Baylor (12-6, 1-3) picked up its first Big 12 Conference victory of the season. After jumping out to the program’s best start since the 2002 campaign, the Jayhawks fall to an 0-3 Big 12 start for the first time since the 1997 season,
The loss did not come without several positives for the Crimson and Blue. Riley set her previous career-high in digs against Texas last season, but her 34 digs against Baylor set a new personal best. Additionally, Jarmoc’s 16 kills and Carmichael’s 10 established new respective career-highs for each of them.
The Jayhawks also received outstanding performances from senior outside hitter Allison Mayfield and sophomore setter Kara Wehrs. Mayfield recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 17 kills and 11 digs. Wehrs posted her fifth with 42 assists and 13 digs. A true team effort, five different Jayhawks tallied double-digit digs, a feat that hasn’t happened since Oct. 29, 2009 against Oklahoma.
After watching the Bears take an early 3-1 lead, the Jayhawks responded quickly to grab the 5-3 advantage. A heads-up tip by Mayfield and a hard swing from freshman outside hitter Chelsea Alberspushed KU out to a 10-7 advantage, prompting a timeout from Baylor head coach Jim Barnes.
The timeout sparked a 3-0 run for the home team, knotting the score at 10-10. Carmichael slammed a quick kill to put her team ahead, 12-11, triggering the back-and-forth scoring battle that would ensure for the remainder of the set.
Mayfield scrambled into the crowd seats lining the court to save a ball that kept the play alive and would later result in a kill for herself. She went on to tally six kills in the first set. The senior captain had help, as Carmichael connected on another kill and a BU attack error put KU up, 20-18. Sensing the KU momentum rising, Barnes used his last timeout of the set.
Jarmoc placed a pretty kill down the line to inch KU closer to set point, but a Baylor rally again tied the score, 22-22. This time it was Kansas head coach Ray Bechardwho wanted the timeout. BU’s Alyssa Dibbern and Briana Tolbert blocked a Kansas attack before an error handed the first set to the Bears, 23-25.
Carmichael and Jarmoc paired up for two kills apiece to open the second set with a 4-2 lead. Mayfield and junior middle blocker Tayler Tolefreeteamed up for a big block to continue to show the Jayhawks’ eagerness to tie the match. Carmichael, who hit for a .571 attack percentage in the opening frame, tied her career-high kills mark in set two. She notched another, while the Bears committed consecutive errors to take a 13-9 lead, Again, Barnes wanted a timeout.
Mayfield and Tolefree went back-to-back to power the Jayhawks to their largest lead of the evening, 19-12. A Dibbern kill cut BU’s deficit to three, but Carmichael swung past the Bears’ defense as she attempted to keep the home team at arm’s length.
Although a Tolbert kill capped a 4-0 Baylor run that knotted the score, 22-22, Kansas held on. Jarmoc’s seventh kill of the set sent the teams to break in a 1-1 tie.
Jarmoc picked up where she left off in the opening points of the third set, notching an early kill, but it was Baylor who jumped out to the 6-3 lead. Kansas caught the wrong end of a pair of unlucky plays and the Jayhawks found themselves trailing, 10-6. After watching his team’s deficit stretch to six, Bechard motioned for the timeout.
Riley hit the floor to dig out a ball late in the set, but it later converted into a Baylor kill as the third set amounted to be a long list of plays that didn’t fall the Jayhawks’ way, 17-25.
Facing a 2-1 deficit, Kansas went to work in the fourth. Bechard wasted no time regrouping his team with a timeout as the Bears took a 6-3 lead for the second-straight set. Tolefree found a hole on Baylor’s side of the net to help Kansas even the score, 7-7. Unyielding, the Jayhawks continued to apply pressure, forcing a Baylor error and taking the 12-10 lead.
In a must-win situation, Jarmoc and Kara Wehrsteamed up for block to keep the score tight. Mayfield cranked out two-straight kills to again swing the lead in KU’s direction. Kansas received little more room when a swing from Mayfield flew off the hands of a Baylor defender and into the crowd. One BU error later, Kansas found itself ahead, 20-17.
Refusing to go down quietly on their home floor, the Bears rallied to once again tie the score, 22-22, before a block assist gave Baylor its first lead since early in the set. Despite a constant fight from the Jayhawks, Baylor was on a roll. The Bears took the final set, 25-22.
The Jayhawks will take a brief break from conference action when they welcome Nebraska-Omaha to the Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Tuesday. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.