Jayhawks drop five-set thriller to OU on Senior Day

LAWRENCE, Kan. – On a day celebrating the careers of two Kansas seniors, Kansas volleyball fell 3-2 in a five-set thriller to Oklahoma inside Horesji Family Athletics Center, closing out the 2018 regular season 15-12 overall and 8-8 in Big 12 Conference play.
The Jayhawks couldn’t get going offensively to begin the first set, trailing by as many as eight at one point in the set. Junior outside hitter Ashley Smith sparked a 6-1 Kansas run with a kill assisted by freshman Lacey Angello to pull the Jayhawks within three. The Sooners didn’t go away, however, and went a 6-2 run of their own to take the set, 25-18.
After failing to own the advantage in the first set, the Jayhawks took a 10-8 lead for the first time on the day during a 4-0 run that was capped by three-straight OU attack errors. Kansas and Oklahoma battled back and forth with neither team leading by more than three points throughout the set, but it was the Jayhawks who came out victorious in the second set, 25-22, and tying the match at one set apiece.
The Sooners took a 2-1 match advantage in set three behind 15 kills, despite having seven errors, and claimed the set by four points, 25-21.
On the edge of elimination, the Jayhawks battled in set four with neither team leading by more than two points until Kansas took an 18-15 advantage behind a 4-0 run that led to an Oklahoma timeout. KU forced a set five, ending the fourth set on a 4-1 run to claim the 25-22 win.
The Jayhawks were able to hang through the midway point of the final set before Oklahoma ran away with a 15-8-win, handing Kansas its fifth-straight loss.

  • The Jayhawks’ loss ended an eight-game winning streak against the Sooners and six-game winning streak against OU inside Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
  • Kansas’ win in the second set was its first set victory since playing Kansas State (11/14).
  • The Jayhawks have recorded five or more aces on 10 separate occasions in the 2018 season, including in today’s matchup with the Sooners.
  • With 11 kills on the day, freshman Rachel Langs has recorded 10 or more kills in three matches this season.
  • Langs‘ 11 kills put her at 128 kills for her young Jayhawk career, surpassing the 125-kill milestone.
  • Senior Gabby Simpson‘s 29 assists Saturday marked her 14th match this season and 10th-straight match with 20 or more assists.
  • Simpson‘s 11 digs moved her to 852 digs in her career, surpassing the 850-dig milestone.
  • Sophomore Jacqui Mostrom registered two service aces against the Sooners, tying her previous career high set against Dayton (8/31).

Head coach Ray Bechard on what Gabby Simpson has meant to Kansas volleyball … 
“As I mentioned to Gabby (Simpson), no matter what I have asked her to do she was happy to do it. There was a time we asked her to attack, needed her to set and needed her to be our primary pass. She did a great job blocking today. Gabby is a consummate team player because she will do whatever is asked of her and will try to help the team in any way she can.”

The Jayhawks’ postseason fate will be determined Sunday at 7:30 p.m. (CT) during the NCAA Volleyball Selection Show. The show will air on ESPNU and is available for streaming online via ESPN3.

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