🏐 Kansas Takes No. 1 Texas to the Limit, Falls 3-2

LAWRENCE, Kan. – It was a gutsy performance from Kansas volleyball as the Jayhawks took No. 1 Texas to the limit before falling two points short in a 3-2 (25-18, 25-21, 21-25, 19-25, 13-15) match on Saturday afternoon at the Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena.

An electric crowd of 1,622 saw Kansas (11-5, 3-2 in Big 12) take the top-ranked Longhorns (12-3, 3-0) to their first five-set match of the 2021 season.

For the match, Texas edged Kansas in hitting efficiency, .312-.287 and hit .324 or better in the final three sets. KU won the first two sets hitting .429 in the first and .275 in the second. KU out-blocked UT 14-7 for the match.

Freshman Caroline Bien led KU, posting career-highs in kills with 21 and attacks with 53 for the match. Super-senior Jenny Mosser and sophomore Caroline Crawford each recorded 12 kills, while senior Rachel Langs had 10 kills. KU went with combo setters as sophomore Elise McGhie led the Jayhawks with 30 assists, while freshman Camryn Turner had 25. Senior Lacey Angello led KU with 18 digs, while Mosser was next with 15. Crawford had six block assists and multiple times teamed up with redshirt-senior Anezka Szabo, who had four block assists.

"I’m proud of them, but disappointed. You can be both. What you saw was Texas responded, really, really well. In the third, fourth and fifth sets, it was like pulling teeth to earn a point because they would side out at a very high level. I think that was a really good version of us and who we are and how we compete."

Kansas Head Coach Ray Bechard

Kansas won the opening set, 25-18, behind a .429 hitting percentage to Texas’ .138. Langs and Bien each recorded four kills for the set. Up 18-16, Kansas scored five-straight points behind two kills from Bien and a kill from Crawford and combo block from Crawford and Szabo to make the score 23-16.

Kansas took a 2-0 set lead with a 25-21 win in the second frame. With the set tied at 15-15, KU turned to Bien, who tallied six of her seven kills down the stretch. Farris and McGhie each added an ace as KU scored six of the final seven points of the set.

The third set was highly competitive with Texas edging KU 25-21. UT built a three-point lead on three occasions only to see KU fight back. A Camryn Turner ace tied the match at 18-18. Then a Langs booming kill knotted the game at 19-19 and a Crawford kill tied it at 21-21. Texas would score the final four points via kills to win the set.

Texas forced a fifth and deciding set winning game four 25-19. Down 5-4, Kansas went on a 6-0 run highlighted by two Bien kills, an Angello ace and a combo block by Davis and Crawford. UT answered and tied the set at 11-11. KU would get within one at 20-19 on a Crawford kill but Texas would score final five points of the set.

Texas edged Kansas in the fifth and the deciding set 15-13. With the score 3-3, UT went on a 4-0 run that included two aces and two kills. Down 9-5, Kansas went on a 3-0 run with back-to-back kills from Crawford and Davis to make the score 9-8. The game would be tied three more times including 13-13 following a Mosser kill. Texas closed out the match with a kill and KU hitting error.

Kansas and Texas will conclude their 2021 series Sunday, Oct. 10, at 3 p.m. at the Horejsi Family Athletic Arena. The contest will be televised on ESPNU.