🏐 Kansas Sweeps Kent State and Wins Kansas Invitational
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas finished off the Kansas Invitational by sweeping Kent State, 3-0, in claiming the tourney title Saturday afternoon at Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena.
Kansas picked up its third consecutive win, all by 3-0 sweeps, to improve to 5-3 on the season. Kent State dropped to 3-6 in 2021.
“The mission was to win the tournament and be a better team on the back side than when we started,” KU head coach Ray Bechard said. “I thought we started to build some good momentum last night (vs. Wichita State). It was a little choppy today. We know our best volleyball is ahead of us, but we saw some good growth this weekend.”
Kansas hit .309 for the match as a team, which included 51 kills on 123 attempts. Jayhawk freshman Caroline Bien led the attack with 14 kills, while super-senior Jenny Mosser added 11 and led KU with 21 digs. Junior Kennedy Farris added 11 digs, while Bien had 11. Senior Rachel Langs added six total blocks and redshirt-senior Anezka Szabo had five. Sophomore Elise McGhie paced KU with 40 assists. Kansas’ defense shut down Kent State keeping the Golden Flashes to a .168 hitting percentage.
Kansas came out on fire in the first set starting the game on a 9-2 run. Bien had three big kills during this early run. The Kent State defense slowed down the hot Jayhawks and the Golden Flashes clawed their way back to the first set at 20-20. Kansas retaliated going on a 5-1 run, winning the first set. Kansas was given a boost by Farris and senior Lacey Angello both getting a serving ace in the first set.
Kansas had a slow start to the second set trailing 8-2. The Jayhawks battled back going on a 6-1 run to tie the set at 13-13. The sent then went back and forth and a kill by KU sophomore Caroline Crawford gave the Jayhawks a 25-24 lead. A Mosser kill ended the set 26-24 in favor of the home team.
“The thing I like best is we were down 8-2 in the second set and we didn’t panic,” Bechard said. “We trust this group right now that they’ll manage the situation and create a good opportunity.”
Kansas was on fire coming out in the third set, going up 4-0 early. The Kansas attack continued their dominance as Mosser got a kill to increase Kansas’ lead to 14-8. Freshman London Davis ended the final set by getting a kill to give Kansas the set win and match.
Kansas will host its second-straight tournament next weekend at the Jayhawk Classic, Sept. 16-18. KU will host Kansas City on Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m., Missouri State on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. and Albany on Sept. 18 at 11 a.m. All three matches will be televised on Big 12 NOW on ESPN+.