Kansas Defeats Baylor on a Historic Senior Night, 3-1
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Behind a record-setting performance by senior Allison Mayfield, the University of Kansas volleyball team defeated the Baylor Bears on senior night at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Saturday, 24-26, 25-23, 25-18, 25-9.
Mayfield provided a performance that the Jayhawk faithful, including a large section of friends and family, could appreciate in her last game at the HFAC. She led the floor with 17 kills en route to breaking the all-time single-season kills record at Kansas with 462. The record stood for 11 years after former Jayhawk Amy Myatt set the previous record in 2000.
“You can’t really script it any better than that,” head coach Ray Bechard said. “Lauren Hagan hasn’t been able to play much this year and she comes in and gets a kill, Allison Mayfield breaks the single-season kills record and Nicole Tate made some great plays so I’m happy for them. All three of those have been contributors their whole careers in so many different ways.”
For the third-straight year, Kansas (15-14, 3-13) finished the regular season with a winning record and did so in dominant comeback fashion on Saturday. After dropping another closely-contested two-point set to start the match, the Jayhawks rallied to win three in a row, including an overpowering 25-9 win to seal the victory. That marked the first time since the NCAA changed the scoring rule to 25-point sets, that Baylor (18-14, 5-11) was held to a single-digit score. It also marked the second time the Jayhawks have held an opponent to a single-digit this season. Jarmoc ended the regular season tied for third all-time on Kansas’ single season block assists list (115), while Tolefree is seventh (109).
“That nine just means that there’s a team playing at a really high level,” Bechard said. “As coaches we’re a little bit frustrated because you don’t want to see the season end when you’re playing that well, but that’s what happens when you don’t take advantage of opportunities a little bit earlier in the season.”
Middle blockers Caroline Jarmoc and Tayler Tolefree joined the list of Jayhawks that contributed significantly, both cranking out double-digits kills in the contest. The duo combined for 26 kills and nine blocks to ensure the Jayhawk seniors would end their career at Horesji on a good note.
For the third time in Big 12 play, four different Jayhawks recorded double-digit kills as freshman outside hitter Sara McClinton chalked up 10 in the win. Senior setter Nicole Tate dished out 47 assists, while sophomore libero Brianne Riley posted her ninth 20-plus dig effort of the year with 28. Tate’s 3,554 career assists stand at fifth all-time at Kansas.
In the opening set, the Jayhawks jumped out to an early 10-4 lead until the Bears fought back to tie the score at 14. The score remained close as the two teams traded points. The margin between the two teams stayed slim throughout the first set as Baylor finally edged out the Jayhawks 26-24 to take the first set.
Throughout the second set, the two teams continued to keep the score close as neither team gained a lead larger than three. The Jayhawks took advantage of this and were able to capture the second set 25-23. Mayfield continued her offensive dominance recording another five kills to move her total to 11 on the night, two away from the all-time single-season kills record.
The record would fall early in the third set as the Jayhawks took a 2-1 lead against the Bears. The Jayhawk offense, led by Mayfield and a seven-kill breakout set from Tolefree, was simply too much for the Bears, and they could not keep pace, falling 25-18.
The Jayhawks came out firing on all cylinders in the fourth set. A 3-3 tie early in the frame was blown away by a 10-1 run that saw Kansas pull ahead 13-4. A pair of Baylor errors would send KU past the 20-point mark before Jarmoc’s pair of kills and a service ace from sophomore defensive specialist Jaime Mathieu brought the Jayhawks to match point.
A fitting end to a historic night, Mayfield finished the match with a kill to seal the win.
Kansas will learn its postseason fate when the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Selection Show airs live on ESPNU, Sunday at 6 p.m.