Kansas Takes Down Texas Tech in Four, 3-1
LUBBOCK, Texas – Senior outside hitter Allison Mayfield tied a career-high in kills as the University of Kansas volleyball team rebounded from a first-set loss to defeat Texas Tech at the United Spirit Arena, Saturday evening, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-16.
In a near-replica of the teams’ first meeting, Kansas (14-12, 2-11) quickly bounced back from a loss in the opening frame to overpower the Texas Tech Red Raiders (15-13, 1-12) in the final three sets. It marked the third time this season – and the second time against Texas Tech – that a resilient Kansas team has come from behind to win.
Two of the Big 12’s top-three blocking teams put on quite a show at the net on Saturday. With three of the league’s top-five blockers on the floor, two of which wearing Kansas jerseys in middles Caroline Jarmoc and Tayler Tolefree, the match saw 23 total blocks between the two teams.
Jarmoc and Tolefree each moved up the Jayhawks’ all-time, top-10 list for block assists in a single season with six each. Jarmoc added a solo block to lead the floor with seven total, while freshman outside hitter Chelsea Albers also chipped in six block assists. After Texas Tech went up for seven blocks as a team in the opening set, Kansas didn’t surrender a single block to the Red Raiders in the second, and the Jayhawks went on to out block the home team, 13-10.
Mayfield’s dominant performance came just one kill shy of breaking the career-high she set earlier this season against Valparaiso. She kicked off the match at a grueling pace with eight kills in the first set. Her 22 kills wiped out just two attack errors and her efficient .400 attack percentage led all scorers on Saturday. The senior also got it done on the defensive side as she tallied her eighth double-double of the season with 13 digs.
Senior setter Nicole Tate also checked in with double-double numbers with 15 digs to match her 45 assists – her fourth double-double of the year. Not only to Mayfield, but Tate also dished out heavily to Jarmoc and freshman outside hitter Sara McClinton, who each tallied 13 kills.
Texas Tech was led by senior outside hitter Amanda Dowdy’s 14 kills as the Jayhawks held the Red Raiders to 49 kills compared to their 61. Big 12 blocker leader Dravon Rangel had just two blocks against the Kansas attackers.
Tolefree notched the first point of the evening for Kansas en route to a rocky start to the match as a pair of consecutive aces put the Red Raiders ahead early, 5-1. Without skipping a beat, Mayfield punched in a kill and sophomore libero Brianne Riley connected on an ace of her own to close the early gap.
Three-straight kills from the home team pushed the limit, however, and trailing 15-12, head coach Ray Bechard wanted the timeout. Mayfield immediately responded with a kill to the middle of the court. A kill and a solo block would keep Texas Tech in front, but Mayfield and Tolefree’s block prompted a timeout from the home bench as the Jayhawks trimmed their deficit to two, 18-16. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, a kill from Breeann David and the Red Raiders’ seventh block handed Texas Tech the first-set victory, 25-20.
Mayfield launched a kill that erased the 4-0 deficit KU faced to start the second set, and turned it into an 8-7 lead. Tolefree struck again with the block when she joined Albers to reject a Red Raider attack, bringing the Jayhawks within one, 13-12. Jarmoc took over in the next stretch, showing off her blocking expertise when back-to-back rejections handed Kansas its first lead of the match, 17-14.
The Canadian kept rolling, two more kills and another block assist from Jarmoc powered Kansas ahead, 23-16, the largest lead for either team to that point. Tech would mount a slight rally, but another Mayfield kill would finish off the set in favor of the Jayhawks, tying the match at a set apiece heading into the break, 25-19.
Kansas won the opening point for the first time in the third set and found no reason to slow down. Jarmoc and Tate teamed up for the block that put KU up, 6-4, but a pair of Jayhawk attack errors knotted the score.
Although Tech would battle, Kansas took control from there. Mayfield, who finished the third set hitting an impressive .421, and Tolefree sandwiched kills around a service ace from Tate to power KU to a two-point lead. Unrelenting, Texas Tech tied it up again before Mayfield and freshman outside hitter Sara McClinton shot out three-straight kills to force a TTU timeout.
The pause did little to curb the Jayhawks’ momentum, who went on to take a five-point lead that would bring them to match point. Again the Red Raiders scratched a couple more points across, but McClinton’s final kill of the third set gave Kansas the 2-1 lead, 25-21.
Again Kansas won the first point of the set, and again, the Jayhawks took the lead and ran with it to start the fourth. Texas Tech still refused to allow the visiting team much extra room until Jarmoc and Tate rattled off three-consecutive kills to help KU pull away, 10-6, forcing a Red Raider timeout. Mayfield, however, had the Jayhawks on a roll. Her 20th and 21st kills of the evening put Kansas up six, 15-9, and another Kansas block prompted TTU to use its last timeout.
With the set comfortably in tow, Mayfield tied her career high when her 22nd kill of the evening put the Jayhawks in front, 20-12. She wouldn’t have the chance to break her all-time best, however, as her teammates took over to power the Jayhawks to victory. McClinton and Jarmoc finished it up with a pair of kills to take the lopsided fourth and final set, 25-16.
Kansas returns home to host No. 25 Oklahoma on Wednesday, Nov. 16. The Jayhawks will look to avenge the nationally-ranked Sooners’ five-set comeback win in Norman, Okla., on Oct. 15. Metro Sports will televise the match and first serve is set for 6 p.m.