No. 11 Kansas volleyball sweeps No. 24 Baylor, 3-0
WACO, Texas — Senior All-American outside hitter Madison Rigdon recorded 18 kills on a .400 hitting percentage as No. 11 Kansas volleyball thwarted No. 24 Baylor in three sets on Wednesday night at Ferrell Center, 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-14).
Kansas (17-3, 6-1 Big 12) held the Big 12’s most productive offense to a .088 hitting percentage with 11.5 blocks and 55 digs to earn a program-record fourth victory over a top-25 opponent this season. Baylor entered Wednesday as the league leader in kills per set.
“This was a great opportunity for us tonight,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “To control the momentum on the road against a ranked opponent by the way we defended was crucial. We had a week since a very, very disappointing loss to No. 5 Texas — you never know how your team is going to respond after a match like that. It was evident from the get-go that we were up to the challenge tonight.”
Kansas held Baylor to its lowest hitting percentage of the season (.088), while on the offensive end recording an attacking clip over .300 for the fourth time during Big 12 play this season.
KU’s defensive front line was led by sophomore middle blocker Zoe Hill’s match-high seven blocks. Senior All-Americans Ainise Havili and Kelsie Payne notched co-match highs of 12 digs each. Sophomore libero Allie Nelson and senior defensive specialist Tori Miller added 10 digs each for a total of four Jayhawks reaching double-figure digs.
Kansas set a season high for digs in a three-set match, out-digging BU, 55 to 43.
“We slowed Baylor down with one of our better defensive efforts of the season,” Bechard continued. “I thought we put the ball where we wanted to, and that started with Ainise and Madison.”
Rigdon started fast and furious with nine kills in a 25-14 first-set win. Fittingly, Rigdon registered her ninth kill of the first set on set-point, needing just 12 errorless swings to reach that number. It was Rigdon’s second-straight nine-kill set after posting nine in the fifth set against Texas last Wednesday, Oct. 11.
“Welcome to the Madison Rigdon show,” Bechard glowed. “Ainise was getting the ball to her in good situations — Madison got some kills in the back row and mixed up her shots quite a bit. She just goes hard. She is a great example of what it is to be all-in all the time, as well as being a great teammate and a great competitor.”
Kansas responded to an early 6-2 Baylor lead in the second set by stringing together a 6-2 run of its own to tie the set at eight apiece. Sophomore outside hitter Jada Burse led KU with five second-set kills. The Jayhawks withstood seven ties before breaking a 21-all score to end the second set on a 4-1 run and winning 25-22.
Havili needed just two sets to record her 60th career double-double, going into the third set with 24 assists and 12 digs.
Kansas controlled the third set from start to finish with a .444 hitting percentage and an 84 percent side-out rate. The Jayhawks began the final set with a 5-0 run, powered by a two blocks and a kill by Hill, forcing a Baylor timeout. KU kept the pressure on BU throughout and concluded the match with an 11-point scoring margin in the third set, 25-14.
The Bears fall to 16-5 overall and 6-2 in league play after its nine-match home winning streak came to an end at the hands of the Jayhawks. The Big 12 leader in kills per set, Katie Staiger, was held to eight kills on a -.034 hitting percentage. Aniah Philo and Jana Brusek led BU with 12 digs each.
After defeating Baylor for the ninth-straight time, KU leads the all-time series with BU, 24-22. Wednesday was the first-ever top-25 matchup between Kansas and Baylor.
KU’s program-record four top-25 victories this season includes wins over No. 13 Kentucky, No. 17 Purdue, No. 18 Iowa State and No. 24 Baylor. The Jayhawks are 4-2 against top-25 opponents this season.
Kansas returns to Lawrence to play host to Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon (1 p.m., JTV/ESPN3).
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