Resilient Jayhawks Net First Conference Victory Over Texas Tech, 3-1

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Fueled by 21 kills from senior Allison Mayfield, the University of Kansas volleyball team roared back from an early deficit to take down the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Saturday evening at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center, 22-25, 25-23, 25-11, 25-19.

Behind 60 kills as a team the Jayhawks (13-8, 1-7) racked up 25 more kills than Texas Tech (14-9, 0-8) to power their way to the team’s first Big 12 victory of the season. After surrendering 12 kills to the Red Raiders’ in their first-set victory, the Jayhawks allowed their opponent just 23 kills in the final three sets to erase a 0-1 deficit for the 3-1 win.

“We’re done with the first half of the Big 12 and in no way are we satisfied with how that went, but there’s a lot we can take from it,” head coach Ray Bechardsaid. “Now, we have to flip it. In those matches where it takes a little more concentration and a little more effort or execution to finish, that’s what we need to do. Eight matches left and we need to grab all that we can.”

KU continued to perform well defensively at the net as the Jayhawks recorded 10 blocks as a team, three more than the Red Raiders who entered the match as the league’s blocking leader. At the serving line, Kansas chalked up five aces, including two from sophomore libero Brianne Riley. Riley set the defensive tone on the back row as she led the floor with 18 digs.

Offensively, the Jayhawks had three players finish with double-figure kills, led by Mayfield’s 21, moving her into seventh-place all-time on the Jayhawks’ career kills list. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc and junior middle blocker Tayler Tolefreeadded 13 and 12 kills, respectively. Jarmoc was on point, leading all scorers with a .478 attack efficiency.

Senior setter Nicole Tateled the Jayhawks with 45 assists, while also adding 11 digs for her second double-double of the season.

In the opening frame, both teams traded points to start the set. The Red Raiders then used a 4-0 run to build a 10-7 lead before Mayfield hammered a kill from her outside hitting position to spark a 4-0 run for the Jayhawks. Both teams used small runs throughout to keep the score close. Trailing 21-19, Kansas relied on its senior leader, Mayfield, as she came up with three big kills to regain the lead, 22-21, forcing the Red Raiders to use a timeout.

Following the pause, Texas Tech regained the momentum as the team quickly scored four points giving the Red Raiders the win, 25-22. Mayfield tallied seven kills in set one to lead all hitters. The league’s top-two blocking teams each recorded four blocks in the first set.

Trailing 0-1, the Jayhawks began set two inspired and on a mission, as they put the Red Raiders in a 6-0 hole to start the set. Tech quickly used a timeout to try and slow down Kansas. The Jayhawks would tack on another point to take a 7-0 lead, but a service error ended the 7-0 run.

Tech capitalized on a couple miscues by Kansas to cut the lead to five, but KU quickly used a 3-0 run giving KU an 18-10 advantage. Leading 24-15, Texas Tech mounted a furious comeback to cut the lead, 24-23 before Mayfield slammed the winning kill, giving KU the 25-23 win. The Jayhawks would lead by as many as nine during the second set as they tied the match up at one game apiece.

Jarmoc led the Jayhawks with five kills in the second set, while freshman Sara McClintonand Mayfield each added four.

For the second-straight set, Kansas started out extremely hot as the Jayhawks built a 7-2 lead early on in set number three. Mayfield collected another kill early in the set moving her into seventh place all-time in Kansas volleyball history for kills in a career. Leading 16-9, Tate sent a cross-court set to McClinton and she slammed it to the floor, giving the Jayhawks an eight-point lead.

From there, the Jayhawks would increase their lead to as many as 13 and end the third set on a 9-2 run, taking the third set, 25-11. Mayfield led the Jayhawks again with five more kills. As a team, KU had an attack percentage of .345 in set three.

The Red Raiders weren’t going to leave Lawrence without a fight, though. TTU jumped out to an early 10-7 advantage in set number four as both teams were fighting for its first conference win of the season. Kansas put three-straight points together to tie it up, but Tech responded with a 4-0 run of its own. With Kansas trailing 14-10, the Jayhawks mounted a 10-2 run to take a 20-16 lead. Mayfield put an emphatic end to the match with a thunderous kill from the outside giving KU a 25-19 win in the fourth and final set.

After an efficient attacking third set, the Jayhawks were even better in the fourth. As a team the Jayhawks racked up 19 kills with an attack percentage of .371. Tolefree led the attack with six kills, while Jarmoc and Mayfield each added five apiece.

“We just said battle was a key word tonight because that’s what Tech is going to do. When we watched Tech on tape, they would make a charge, but the other team kept battling, and eventually we won out on some big rallies.”

Kansas hits the road again next week with a trip to Ames, Iowa on Wednesday to face No. 15 Iowa State. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m. Next weekend, the Jayhawks will play their only Sunday match of the conference season against Texas A&M. The Oct. 30 start time is slated for 2 p.m.