Kansas Upsets No. 18 Oklahoma; Stops Six-Match Losing Skid
Nov. 3, 2007
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Kansas volleyball used a balanced attack of four players with double-figure kills to upset No. 18 Oklahoma and stop a six-match losing skid in Saturday’s volleyball action at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center. KU hung on to defeat the Sooners in five, 30-26, 28-30, 20-30 and 15-10 to improve to 11-14 for the season and 4-11 in Big 12 matches. OU dropped to 18-7 overall and 10-5 in the conference.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
<?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Kansas’ win marks the Jayhawks’ first win over a top-25 team since Sept. 7, 2006 in a 3-0 sweep of then-No.16 BYU. Saturday’s win was also KU’s first victory over a ranked Big 12 opponent since defeating Kansas State on Nov. 5, 2005 when the Wildcats were ranked 24th in the country.
Freshman Jenna Kaiser led the KU attack with 18 kills followed by junior Natalie Uhart with 14, 12 from freshman Karina Garlington and 11 more from senior Caitlin Mahoney.
Sophomore Katie Martincich and senior Emily Brown each chipped in double-doubles. Martincich notched a team-high 16 digs, as did libero Melissa Manda, to go along with 23 assists. Brown tallied a career-best 38 assists to go with 15 digs. Also digging up double-digit digs was Garlington with 15.
Game one was an evenly matched contest between the teams, but a 5-0 run early on by the Jayhawks gave KU enough distance to keep the Sooners out of reach as Kansas tallied a 30-25 win.
During the second game, KU battled back from a 3-7 deficit to take a 15-11 lead off a 5-0 run. The Sooners answered back with five straight points of their own as they continued to build a three point lead at 24-21. However, Kansas responded once again and used a service ace from Garlington to tie the score and a Mahoney kill to push the Jayhawks ahead 25-24. The teams tied a couple more times but as game point approached, Kansas ran out of time to catch up and fell 28-30.
OU jumped to an early three point lead in game four which they were able to hang on to for the rest of the game as they took a 2-1 lead in the match with a 30-20 win.
In game four, KU trailed by two and three until the end of the contest. Kills by Uhart and Savannah Noyes followed by an Oklahoma service error tied the score at 26. Two more OU attack errors gave KU its first lead since the first point of the game. Noyes capped the game with a huge hit off a set from Martincich to notch the 30-27 win and force a game five.
Four of KU’s first five points came out of OU attack errors as the Jayhawks took a 5-3 advantage in the final game. The scored was tied up at seven but Mahoney gave KU an 8-7 lead right before the teams switched sides. Kansas extended its lead to three with a pair of kills from Kaiser and another from Brown to make it 12-9. Another Sooner attack error forced OU to take a time out, but the Jayhawks finished with a 3-1 run to win the game 15-10.
“The whole thing turned at 20-15 in game four,” said head coach Ray Bechard. “It appeared we didn’t’ have much life, Oklahoma had all the momentum, but for whatever reason we made enough plays to turn the momentum and made enough to make it five games; we were really good in game five.
“The kids were so happy in the locker room, and that’s what its all about. They needed an opportunity to celebrate. They’ve been working extremely hard and we haven’t been getting the results we wanted lately until tonight. You look back at this and its just a blur of teamwork and six people working together to make it happen.”
Next up for Kansas is No. 3 Texas Wednesday night at the HorejsiFamilyAthleticsCenter at 7 p.m.