Volleyball's Offense Shines as Bechard Grabs Win No. 900

LAWRENCE, Kan- – Sophomore Allison Mayfield’s team-high 14 kills powered the University of Kansas volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-22) sweep over in-state rival Kansas State Saturday afternoon. The win, which was KU’s first conference road victory of the season, marked head coach Ray Bechard’s 900th career win.

KU stopped a five-match losing skid against KSU as it improved its record to 10-8 overall and 3-6 in the Big 12. K-State dropped to 7-11 on the season and 1-7 in league play.

“Getting career win number 900 is nice, but what’s really important is the fact that the team won a conference match on the road,” said Bechard, who is in his 12th season at KU. “We played well in all phases of the game today and we had a good balance on offense.”

“Late in the sets we made some good volleyball plays,” Bechard added. “From start to finish I thought we played very consistent.”

The Kansas offense had its best showing in eight outings recording a .312 attack percentage. Four Jayhawks hit better than .300 led by senior Paige Mazour’s .643 hitting efficiency. Sophomore Lauren Hagan followed at a .500 clip.

KU’s back court also put together a solid effort as the team out-dug the Wildcats 47-38 and held a 7.0-5.0 block advantage. Sophomore Nicole Tate tallied a team-high 13 digs to go along with 38 assists in her seventh double-double of the year. Senior Katie Martincich also reached double digits with 10 digs during the contest.

At the net, senior Brittany Williams recorded a season-high four block assists. Tate, Mazour and Hagan added three more a piece.

Both teams battled for some early momentum in the first set. With score knotted at 9-9, Williams came away with back-to-back kills to give KU a lead it would never surrender. Kansas State threatened the Jayhawks’ lead coming within one point at 20-19 and 21-20, but KU held on to its advantage as Mazour capped the 25-21 set one victory with a service ace.

Mayfield and Martincich each came away with a seven on the stat sheet in the opening frame. Mayfield had seven kills while Martincich tallied seven digs.

Kansas wasted no time getting ahead in the second set as it jumped to an early lead, which it was able to hold onto in large part due to its impressive offensive outing. The Jayhawks made just two attack errors in the frame for a .565 attack percentage. It is the first time KU has hit over .500 in a single set since Nov. 15 of last season when the team hit .522 versus Texas Tech.

Despite the dazzling offensive showing, K-State did not make KU’s set two win easy as the Wildcats came back to tie the score at 20-20. Kansas was clutch down the stretch however nabbing five of the last six points. Mayfield and Jenna Kaiser came away with back-to-back kills and Tate and Williams teamed up for a block before a KSU attack error and serving error gave KU the victory.

In the third and final set, KU spoiled a five-point advantage as KSU worked its way back into the lead at 22-20. Not phased by the change in momentum, KU answered right back with four unanswered points jump started by a kill from Kaiser, who finished with six kills on the day.

Plagued with errors throughout the match, Kansas State committed its 20th hitting error in the final play of the frame to award KU the 25-22 victory. The Wildcats also had 10 service errors in the match.

Kansas will continue its road swing next Wednesday, Oct. 21 at Texas Tech. The Jayhawks’ match up with the Red Raiders is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.