Kansas Pulls Comeback to Sweep Nebraska-Omaha

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Facing a four-point deficit at match point in the final set, the University of Kansas volleyball team posted a fierce comeback to complete the sweep against Nebraska-Omaha, Tuesday evening at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center, 25-20, 25-16, 28-26.

Nearly 800 fans were on hand to witness the Jayhawks build a 2-0 lead heading into the third set as Kansas (12-4) looked for the team’s eighth sweep of the season. Late in the final set, however, the Jayhawks found themselves behind, 20-24, as the Mavericks battled to force a fourth set.

The Jayhawks refused. Senior outside hitter Allison Mayfield threw down three kills, while middle blockers Caroline Jarmoc and Tayler Tolefreetallied one kill a piece for the Jayhawks’ final five points of the match. What once was a 20-24 third-set deficit resulted in a 28-26 victory.

“It is a good thing for this team to have the opportunity to do something like that,” head coach Ray Bechardsaid. “We had to stay under control, stay composed and make some good volleyball plays. It was good to see. We’ve been on the other end of that a couple times in the last few matches so it was good to see our team turn that around.”

Kansas snapped its first three-match losing skid of the year with the victory, using a total team effort to make it happen. Senior setter Nicole Tatecame in the final set to dish out a season-high 10 assists, while Mayfield collected her fifth double-double of the season with a team-high 14 kills and 16 digs.

Sophomore libero Brianne Riley continued her warpath in the digs column, as she led the team with 20. In the last two matches, the sophomore has racked up 54 digs. Sophomore setter Kara Wehrswent a perfect 4-for-4 on kills on Tuesday, while Tolefree and Jarmoc teamed up for 15 kills.

Freshman outside hitter Sara McClintonmade her first appearance since the Texas match on Sept. 24 and posted four kills and a block assist.

In the opening set, the Mavericks were able to hold Kansas close as KU maintained a 7-6 lead early. The Jayhawks reeled off five straight points to make it an 11-6 score, but would relinquish their comfortable margin as UNO tied things up at 16 and took their first lead of the set a point later at 17-16.

The Mavs’ lead would get no larger than a two-point lead as the Jayhawks surged back with a crucial kill from Jarmoc and eventually retook the lead at 19-18. After another tie, Kansas would score six of the next seven points to take the first set 25-20.

The second set would start differently for the Jayhawks as they sound themselves in a 4-2 hole early. Becahrd’s crew would not panic as they quickly regained the lead by scoring four straight to make it 6-4. After another tie, the Jayhawks would score four straight points again to pull ahead, 10-6.

Kansas would maintained the lead through the heart of the set until a kill from Mayfield gave her team their largest lead of the match, 17-10. That lead would stretch to 10 on an emphatic swing by Jarmoc as Kansas took control, 20-10. KU would wrap up the second straight set, holding off a minor Mavericks rally, 25-16.

The third set began much like the second, with the Mavericks grabbing an early lead, this time 6-3 over KU. Kansas needing only one more set to close out UNO, would claw its way back, eventually taking the first lead of the set at 10-9.

The Mavs would keep things close, knotting up the Jayhawks at 10-10, 12-12 and 14-14, until they regained the lead at 15-14. KU would tie UNO three more times in the third set, but not take the lead until 25-24, after coming back from the 24-20 hole. The Mavs and Jayhawks would trade points – and the lead – for the remainder of the match until a clutch kill by Tolefree gave KU the sweep, 28-26.

Kansas stays at home for its first back-to-back home matches since Labor Day weekend. The Jayhawks will welcome Texas A&M to Horejsi Family Athletics Center for the annual “Jayhawks for a Cure” match. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.