Kansas Gives Top-Ranked Nebraska Tough Time Despite 3-0 Loss
Oct. 20, 2007
LINCOLN, Neb. –
Despite a 3-0 sweep by the nation’s top-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers, the <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Kansas volleyball team commanded respect with strong performances in the final two games to make it a close match. After falling 30-16 in the opening contest, Kansas came out with renewed confidence in games two and three as they were edged 30-25 and 30-26 by the Huskers. It was the first time all year that a team tallied 25 or more points in consecutive games on Nebraska’s home court.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
Kansas dropped to 10-11 with the loss and 3-8 in the Big 12. Nebraska improved its unblemished record to 18-0 and 11-0 in league play.
Freshman Jenna Kaiser led KU as the only Jayhawk in double-digit kills with 10. Senior Emily Brown followed with nine and Karina Garlington and Flavio Lino added eight a piece. Lino also hit a team-best .500 on 8-for-12 hitting with just two errors, while Garlington led on defense digging up 13 balls. Freshman libero Melissa Manda also reached double-figure digs tallying 11.
“We’re not into moral victories,” said head coach Ray Bechard, “but we felt the team took a pretty good step forward in a lot of areas tonight competing in an extremely enthusiastic environment against the top team in the country.”
Nebraska rattled off four points to open the match in game one before Kaiser put Kansas on the board with a kill on a set from Katie Martincich. KU could not produce the defense it needed to stop the Cornhusker offense as NU continued to hit a match-high .533, including a perfect 7-for-7 attack from NU senior Sarah Pavan, as Kansas fell 30-16.
The Jayhawks didn’t make it easy for the Huskers in game two giving a note-worthy performance. With Nebraska up 7-6, KU strung together four unanswered points on a pair of Kaiser kills and two NU attack errors to take a 10-7 lead and force the Cornhuskers into a timeout. KU matched Nebraska’s next five points to maintain a 15-11 advantage. A strong Kansas defense refused to give up its lead while kills by Kaiser, Lino and Garlington on the offensive end kept the Jayhawks ahead at 22-19. It wasn’t until 23-all that Nebraska finally caught up and tied the score. After a long rally that ended in a Nebraska point, the Cornhuskers took their first lead of the game since going up 7-6. KU came back and tied the score at 24 and 25, but a 5-0 run in the end earned NU the 30-25 victory.
Kansas’ 25 points in game two were the most tallied by the Jayhawks against Nebraska since Nov. 12, 2004 when KU was defeated by scores of 30-27, 30-24 and 30-26. Lino and Kaiser were instrumental in game two’s effort adding six and five kills, respectively. As a team, Kansas held a 25-15 advantage in digs and matched Nebraska with 19 kills.
Nebraska jumped to a 7-2 lead in the third contest, but Kansas used a 6-2 run to come within one at 9-8. Six points later, a kill by Kaiser pushed the Jayhawks ahead 12-11 and an NU attack error added another Kansas point. KU did not fall behind again until Nebraska took a 20-19 edge on a KU attack error and pulled ahead with a 4-0 run. Lino tallied a pair of kills and Kaiser added a point to bring the score within one at 26-25. However, Nebraska once again made a strong push at the end using a 5-1 rally to win 30-26.
“We didn’t respond well in game one,” said Bechard. “But after that we were first to 20 in both games two and three. We talked after the match was over on how we needed to be a little cleaner, a little crisper, and a little more technically sound from 25 [points] on.”
Kansas will wrap up its short road stint Wednesday night in College Station, Texas. The Jayhawks go up against Texas A&M at 6:30 p.m.