No. 11 Kansas volleyball sweeps TCU, 3-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas volleyball turned in an efficient performance during a straight-set victory against TCU on Saturday afternoon at Horejsi Family Athletics Center to earn its 17th-straight win over a Big 12 opponent (25-22, 25-17, 25-21). The 11th-ranked Jayhawks swung for a .386 hitting percentage and held TCU to a .130 clip during the last two sets.
Kansas (14-2, 3-0 Big 12) was led by pin hitters Kelsie Payne (11 kills), Madison Rigdon (10) and Jada Burse (nine), who combined for 30 of KU’s 45 kills. Senior setter Ainise Havili recorded 39 assists on the way to directing KU’s offense to the second-highest hitting percentage (.386) of the season and the highest during Big 12 play since posting an astronomical .597 clip against West Virginia on Oct. 3, 2015.
“Our hitters showed some impressive consistency today. If we can keep making progress there with our hitting efficiency, we will continue to be a little closer to the team we want to be at the end of the season,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said.
Sophomore libero Allie Nelson recorded a match-high 13 digs, while three Jayhawks — Rigdon, senior middle blocker Kayla Cheadle and sophomore middle blocker Zoe Hill — posted three blocks each to lead KU’s defense.
“I thought defensively, Allie was great,” Bechard continued. “On top of that, six blocks is a good number for this team in three sets. We rested Taylor (Alexander) and I thought Zoe and Kayla stepped up at that middle blocker position in a big way.”
TCU middle blocker Anna Walsh led the Horned Frogs (8-6, 0-3) with 12 kills on a .364 hitting percentage. The Horned Frogs, who have made two-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, were held to a .204 hitting percentage on the day.
Before Kansas pulled away with a 25-22 first-set victory, TCU challenged with a season-high 15 ties in the opening set alone. The Jayhawks and Horned Frogs went back and forth as both offenses operated at a high level to open the match. TCU began with a .353 hitting percentage, while the Jayhawks started with a resounding .517 clip led by five kills from Rigdon.
Neither team led by more than three points in the first set until TCU went on a 3-0 run to take a 15-12 lead. The Jayhawks responded with a side-out kill from Burse, while senior defensive specialist Addison Barry served up the first of three KU aces on the day from to tie the set at 15. Havili added another ace for a 17-16 KU lead, but it wasn’t until consecutive kills from Payne and Rigdon that the Jayhawks took a go-ahead lead, 20-18. Hill notched a set-point kill to clinch the first-set win, 25-22.
KU’s defense stepped up in the second set, holding TCU to a .029 hitting percentage behind three team blocks and 13 digs, to pave the way to a 25-17 second-set triumph. Much of the second-set momentum was thanks to senior defensive specialist Tori Miller, who served a 3-0 run with an ace to begin the set. KU later took ownership of the second set with a 6-0 run that included an ace from Payne. The Jayhawks also took advantage of seven TCU attacking miscues down the stretch, including on set-point.
Set three was all Kansas as the Jayhawks took an early 6-1 lead and didn’t look back. The Jayhawks maintained control of the final set with 14 kills on a .355 hitting percentage to secure the sweep.
The Jayhawks travel to Morgantown, West Virginia to start a two-game road swing. Kansas faces off with the Mountaineers first on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at 5 p.m. Central before trekking to Norman to face Oklahoma on Saturday Oct. 7.
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