Kansas notches comeback win at Arkansas
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.– Behind career-high kill totals from juniors Patricia Montero (16) and Zoe Hill (14), the Kansas volleyball team rallied from a two-set deficit to defeat Arkansas, 3-2 (21-25, 23-25, 25-20, 27-25, 15-8), Friday night inside Barnhill Arena.
In the first two sets combined, the Razerbacks posted a .257 hitting percentage, while only committing nine errors. However, in the final three sets of the match, Kansas turned on the defense. Arkansas combined for a .040 hitting percentage over those final three sets and added 23 errors, including 11 in the third set alone.
Sophomore Annika Carlson controlled the KU offense with 38 assists, while senior Gabby Simpson added 12. Junior Allie Nelson chipped in 26 digs, just two shy of her career high, while freshman Lacey Angello finished with 21. Hill and Mmachi Nwoke paced the Jayhawks will seven blocks apiece.
Arkansas was also plagued with 14 service errors during the match, while Kansas dished out five aces.
Head coach Ray Bechard
On his team’s performance:
“I think they served for the match in the fourth set, and we always seemed to have an answer. There was nothing pure about tonight, both teams with attackers and typical first-night jitters. But certainly we found a combination that started working for us about halfway through the match. The team believed in it, bought in and played really hard. As long as you play hard and give effort the execution hopefully will come.”
On a great way to start the season:
“Well down 2-0 on the road against a quality team and then figuring out a way (to win) will give us some confidence I hope, but we’ve got a lot of things to clean up. We didn’t pass very well, we can do some things better. But this time of year teams that work hard and together can get a good result. I know we will see a better Arkansas team on Sunday, so the Jayhawks will have to play better too.”
On playing a nonconference opponent in back-to-back games:
“Certainly when you see a team for the first time there are things you can try. But, there won’t be a lot of secrets with these teams tonight because we threw it all out there for about two and a half hours or two hours and forty-five minutes. I think it will be the team that passes and serves the best and executed when they get a chance to score points. It was a really good Arkansas effort, a really good Kansas effort and quite a way to start the season.”
Junior Allie Nelson
On the team’s highlights from match one:
“I am really proud of Lacey Angello. (We) have been switching off back defense, trying to get as many balls as much as we can. Her being a freshman coming in and killed it. I think she had 24 digs in the match. We work so well together and it has been such a difference of getting balls up that I didn’t think were possible. I am just so proud of her and I am so excited to work with her this whole season. But just passing and digging and the block all over. They were awesome.”
Junior Zoe Hill
On the difference of the match:
“I think it was the defense, especially toward the end of the match. Putting pressure to their hitters and digging balls, we dug like crazy. But I definitely think it was the defense that won us that game.”
- Sophomore Annika Carlson made her first-career start at Kansas and finished with a career-best 38 assists.
- Playing her first match since 2016, Patricia Montero led the Jayhawks with a career-high 16 kills.
- Montero also posted a career-best nine digs.
- Junior Zoe Hill finished with a career-best 14 kills.
- KU rallied from a two-set deficit for the first time since rallying against Iowa State last season on Sept. 27.
- The match was the first five-set season-opening match for Kansas since a 3-2 loss to Oregon in Reno, Nev., on Aug. 29, 1997.
- The first-set loss by the Jayhawks, was their first to open a season since 2013 against Central Arkansas in Tuscan, Arizona (L, 3-1).
- Freshman Lacey Angello made her Kansas debut and collected 21 digs.
- Kansas owns a 7-4 lead in the series against Arkansas, including a four-match win streak.
- The Jayhawks improved to 18-3 in season openers under Bechard, including winners in five straight.
- KU owns a 15-6 record in true road openers under Bechard and have six-straight road-opening victories.
Kansas returns home to Lawrence, Kan., to face the same Razorbacks for the second time this weekend Sunday, Aug. 26. This time for KU’s home opener, which will be broadcast nationally on ESPN+.
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