Kansas drops home opener to Arkansas, 3-1
LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Kansas volleyball team was defeated by Arkansas in a rare home-opening loss on Sunday afternoon in front of a sold-out crowd inside Horejsi Family Athletics Center, 3-1 (13-25, 24-26, 25-21, 27-25). The four-set decision is KU’s first home-opening loss since 2013 and the second in 25 seasons.
Leading the way for Kansas was junior Patricia Montero, who notched a career-high 19 kills to cap off her returning-from-injury weekend with a total 35 kills in two matches. Montero missed all of the 2017 season with a knee injury.
Junior Ashley Smith collected 13 kills on a .400 hitting percentage and junior Zoe Hill zipped 10 kills on a .643 clip with 5 blocks to round out KU’s double-figure point earners.
Arkansas’ Hailey Dirrigl paced the match with 25 kills.
The Jayhawks (1-1) and Razorbacks (1-1) split their home-and-home series to open the 2018 season, with both team winning on the road.
- Kansas maintains an 8-5 lead in the all-time series against Arkansas.
- Junior Patricia Montero registered a new career high in kills (19) for the second-straight match. Her previous career-high was 16 on Friday during a five-set win at Arkansas.
- Kansas falls to 23-2 in home openers since 1993, including a 19-2 mark under head coach Ray Bechard. In the 20th and final season of Horejsi Family Athletics Center, Arkansas is the only team to defeat KU during a home-opener in 2013 and 2018.
- Freshmen Rachel Langs and Audri Suter both made their collegiate debuts on Sunday. Langs registered three kills and two blocks in two sets played.
- Freshman Lacey Angello wore the alternate-colored libero jersey for the first time as a Jayhawk as she and junior Allie Nelson switched roles at the start of the third set.
Arkansas opened the match with 25-13 decision in the first set behind four aces and a .464 team hitting percentage.
Kansas jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second set and kept a four-point scoring margin throughout the set until Arkansas closed the set on a 10-2 run that included three KU set points before a 26-24 decision. Ashley Smith posted five kills on eight swings for the Jayhawks in the second set despite the loss.
Kansas attacked early in the third set, coming out with an 11-5 lead. Zoe Hill registered a terminal five kills on six swings. Kansas switched up its front-line to bring in freshman middle blocker Rachel Langs. Langs added two kills during her collegiate debut to help finish KU’s 25-21 third-set win.
Patricia Montero recorded nine of her 19 kills in the fourth set while the Jayhawks recorded 20 kills in the final set, but it wasn’t enough as Arkansas again rallied from a late two-point deficit, 23-21, to clinch the match with a 27-25 fourth-set victory.
Kansas travels to Lexington, Kentucky, for the Bluegrass Battle next weekend. The Jayhawks will face Dayton and College of Charleston on Friday, Aug. 31, followed by a primetime matchup against host No. 5 Kentucky on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. Central.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.