Kansas outlasts Dayton in five sets, 3-2
LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Kansas volleyball team rallied from a 2-1 deficit to defeat Dayton in five sets on Friday morning inside Memorial Coliseum on the first day of the Bluegrass Battle, 3-2 (25-21, 23-25, 22-25, 25-20, 15-7).
Kansas (2-1) earns its second five-set victory of the season and hands Dayton (3-1) — a program that has earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament in nine of the last 11 seasons — its first loss of 2018.
A silence fell over Memorial Coliseum when junior Patricia Montero exited the match in the fourth set due to injury with KU leading, 13-9. At the time she left the match, Montero led KU in kills and had a double-double of 12 kills and 11 digs.
Despite the loss of KU’s reliable six-rotation player, the Jayhawks closed out the fourth set, 25-20, and assembled behind junior Ashley Smith during a dominating 15-7 victory in the deciding set. Smith recorded four of her 14 total kills in the fifth set, while the Jayhawks posted a .360 team hitting percentage and a 7-for-8 side-out clip in the final frame.
Junior outside hitter Jada Burse tallied a season-best 15 kills to lead a quartet of Jayhawks in double-figure kills. KU’s four players in double-figure kills included Burse, Montero, Smith and junior middle blocker Zoe Hill, who came up with 11 kills and eight blocks.
Senior right-side hitter and setter Gabby Simpson posted her first double-double in a Kansas uniform with 32 assists and 10 digs. Simpson was one of three Jayhawks to guide KU’s offense from the setter position as sophomore Annika Carlson (12 assists) started the match and freshman Camryn Ennis (14 assists) made her collegiate debut.
The Flyers were led by 18 kills from Lauren Bruns, while Kendyll Brown played a part in nine of UD’s 13 team blocks.
KU head coach Ray Bechard
General thoughts on KU’s five-set victory …
“We faced adversity and had to do some rearranging with the lineup when Patricia came out, but you look at four Jayhawks in double-digit kills — that is good balance. The number of newcomers who were on the floor today was significant. With that, there is going to be some inconsistency. The last set-and-a-half we really controlled the match and played well. That was good to see.”
On the quality win over Dayton …
“Dayton will compete against anybody. At the end of the season, you will see the Flyers going after their league championship with about 25 wins. This was a good win for us today.”
On Patricia Montero exiting the match …
“We will evaluate Patricia and hope for the best. She left the court and we had to replace her with someone who has never played that role before. For the team to hold it together in a situation that you can’t practice was good to see. In the fifth set, when we got a lineup out there that everyone was a little more comfortable with, we did a really good job at finishing the match.”
- Freshman Lacey Angello made her first-career start as KU’s libero and led the Jayhawks with 18 digs. Through three matches, Angello is averaging a team-best 4.14 digs per set.
- Camryn Ennis made collegiate debut late in the second set and recorded a pair of assists on her first two touches.
- Sophomore Jacqui Mostrom recorded a career-high two aces.
- Kansas takes a 2-1 lead in the all-time series against Dayton. The last meeting prior to Friday was 15 years ago, which was another five-set victory for KU on a neutral site (Minneapolis) in 2003.
- Dating back to last season, Kansas has played a fifth set in four of the last five matches
The Jayhawks return to the floor of Memorial Coliseum on Friday evening during the Bluegrass Battle, facing College of Charleston at approximately 5:30 p.m. CT. The Bluegrass Battle concludes on Saturday evening against Kentucky at 6 p.m. CT.
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