🏐 Career-Highs Dominate in Senior Day Victory
LAWRENCE, Kan. – In front of a sold out crowd on Senior Day, the Kansas Jayhawks reverse swept the Iowa State Cyclones 3-2 (22-25, 22-25, 25-14, 25-18, 15-7) at Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The Jayhawks move to a record of 18-9 (8-7 Big 12) while the Cyclones drop to 18-11 (9-6 Big 12).
Redshirt freshman Ayah Elnady had a career-high 19 kills and a double-double in kills and digs (18). Freshman Rhian Swanson collected a career-high 13 kills in five sets.
The Kansas defense was led by junior Kennedy Farris with 24 digs while graduate transfer Lauren Dooley tallied six total blocks. Sophomore Camryn Turner earned her 15th double-double of the season with 40 assists and 12 digs.
“We were disappointed to be down, 2-0, but we were playing well enough and then this group wasn’t going to go away without a fight,” stated head coach Ray Bechard. “We were pretty dominant in the last three sets. It was a struggle to get kills early and then we settled in. Rhian Swanson helped us today off the bench and Ayah Elnady has no fear going after it. It was definitely a group effort.”
Kansas kicked off the match with a 4-0 scoring run, highlighted by a kill from Dooley and Elnady.
The Cyclones were able to get on the board, but Turner and Elnady collected two more kills for the Jayhawks, moving Kansas to a 6-2 lead.
Elnady had back-to-back service aces followed by a kill from super-senior Rachel Langs to advance Kansas to 11-5 before ISU called for a timeout. Shortly after the timeout, the Cyclones came back to go on a 5-0 run to tie up the set at 12.
Iowa State soon took the lead 14-13 before a service error put Kansas at 14. A double block by super-senior Anezka Szabo and Dooley allowed Kansas to regain the lead, 15-14.
The set was back and forth with four ties until the Cyclones took the lead 21-18 after a 4-0 run. It wasn’t until Elnady tallied a kill to bring the ball back to Kansas 21-19. Sophomore London Davis and Langs rejected Iowa State’s offense for a KU block, making it 22-20.
Back-to-back kills by Swanson tied up set one at 22 apiece. ISU went on to close out the set with a 3-0 scoring run, finishing the set with a score of 25-22.
A rally ending with a kill by Dooley started set two, 1-0. A 4-0 run by the Cyclones quickly followed until a block by Langs and Elnady brought Kansas within two, 4-2.
Kills by both Turner and Elnady, followed by a dual block from Dooley and Turner took Kansas within one, 7-6. The Jayhawks continued to remain close with the Cyclones. Dooley had her third kill of the afternoon, taking the score to 10-8.
The Cyclones led 14-12, but Swanson answered back with her second kill of the match to keep Kansas in the game, 14-13. Three attack errors in a row by KU forced a timeout, 17-13.
Coming out of the timeout, Iowa State earned two more points before kills by Swanson and Elnady, along with a solo block by Dooley moved Kansas within three, 21-18.
Szabo and Dooley blocked Iowa State’s attempt for a kill while Elnady had another kill to tie the score at 21, making ISU call for a timeout.
Iowa State came out on top in the end, 25-22.
ISU started set three with a kill, but KU was on the board following a Cyclones service error. Kansas was able to pull away, 4-2, after an ISU error.
The Jayhawks continued the lead 6-3 with more Cyclone errors. An ace from Elnady advanced KU to 7-3.
Iowa State took the ball back, but Swanson and Turner earned a kill each to keep the rhythm going, 10-5. Szabo quickly followed behind with her own kill, making it 11-5.
Another round of back-to-back kills for Elnady allowed Kansas to remain in the lead 16-8. ISU responded with a kill of their own, but Swanson had her seventh kill of the afternoon to take Kansas to 18-11.
Iowa State thought it was able to get back the ball, but Dooley was right there at the net, ready for a kill of her own, making it 20-12. Redshirt freshman Bryn McGehe had her first ace of the match to move KU ahead, 23-14.
The Jayhawks were able to finish set three on top with a kill by Langs, 25-14.
Elnady opened set four with a kill to lead the set 1-0. Iowa State was able to go on a 3-0 run to take the lead, 3-1.
A 3-0 scoring run for the Jayhawks quickly followed, highlighted by a kill from Elnady and a double block by Elnady and Langs brought Kansas back on top 4-3. Another run for Kansas ensued with a kill by Swanson, forcing the Cyclones to regroup and call for a timeout, 7-4.
An ace by Elnady and an error for the Cyclones continued the 5-0 run for Kansas, 9-4. The crowd went wild when Dooley tallied a kill and advanced KU, 12-7.
An overpass by the Jayhawks forced the Cyclones to go for an immediate attack, but Turner was right there to block ISU for a solo block, 13-8. Another ISU timeout was enforced after kills by Swanson and Szabo, making it 15-8.
The energy continued for Kansas as it led the set 18-13. Not too long after, Elnady had another kill for herself to move the score to 19-13. The Cyclones were able to block the Kansas offense, but then Swanson put the ball to the floor to make it 21-16.
The end of the set was all KU as the Jayhawks tied up the match at two sets apiece, 25-18.
Szabo came out in set five with a bang, starting off the final set with a solo block and a double block with Dooley, 2-0. ISU earned its first point with a kill, but Elnady had two kills of her own to keep Kansas ahead 4-1.
Elnady had another kill as well as a block with Langs coming out of the Iowa State timeout, making it 6-1. Kansas’ 6-0 run was paused as the team’s switched sides on the court, 8-1.
At 9-1, the Cyclones halted the Jayhawks scoring run for a point of their own, 9-2. ISU challenged that the ball was inbounds at 11-3, however, the call was confirmed as the point remained with Kansas.
Dooley pushed KU to match point with a kill, 14-6. A few points went to Iowa State, but Kansas ended up victorious 15-8.
The Jayhawks hit .476 while keeping the Cyclones at .115.
“I think the sum was better than the parts today,” said Bechard. “We had people in the right places and things went well for us.”
Kansas will close out the regular season on the road in Lubbock, Texas on Friday (November 25) as the Jayhawks take on Texas Tech. First serve will take place at 6 p.m. CT and will be broadcasted on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.