No. 11 Kansas rallies past No. 18 Iowa State, 3-2
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Eleventh-ranked Kansas volleyball came from behind to top No. 18 Iowa State, 3-2, for its third top-25 win of season on Wednesday night at Horejsi Family Athletics Center (25-27, 20-25, 25-20, 25-16, 15-11). The Cyclones won the first two sets, but Kansas rallied for its first come-from-behind win after a 2-0 set deficit since Sept. 13, 2013 at No. 25 Wisconsin.
Senior right-side hitter Kelsie Payne recorded a match-high 22 kills on a .306 hitting percentage, while senior outside hitter Madison Rigdon notched a 20-kill, 14-dig performance for her seventh double-double of the season.
“This is our house and we knew we had to come back with some fire and get the crowd into it because that really helps us,” Rigdon said. “Kelsie was great, we definitely feed off of each other.”
A total of five Jayhawks reached double-figure digs, led by sophomore libero Allie Nelson’s 24, as KU’s defense held Iowa State to under a .200 hitting percentage in the last three sets. Senior setter Ainise Havili reached 60 assists for the second time this season, while adding 17 digs for her 13th double-double of the year.
The first set began as a back-and-forth battle, but as it progressed Kansas got into a groove that Iowa State couldn’t match. A 4-0 Jayhawk run put KU up 15-8, but just as Kansas earned a comfortable lead, the Cyclones found their zone. Iowa State went on an 8-0 run to take a 22-21 lead over Kansas, a team that once led by eight. The matchup was closely contested from that point on as the Jayhawks and Cyclones traded kills to close out the set. One final 3-0 run by Iowa State would secure their first set victory, 27-25.
The second set was controlled entirely by the Cyclones beginning with a 3-0 run to take an early 5-1 lead. After trailing for the entirety of the game, the Jayhawks went on a 3-0 run to cut Iowa State’s lead to three. The Cyclones answered with another 3-0 run of their own to take a steady 16-10 lead. Kansas was never able to cut the lead to less than three in this matchup, despite going on multiple runs. Iowa State notched the second set victory.
KU maintained a close lead throughout the third set, but an attack error by ISU middle blocker Grace Lazard put the Jayhawks up by three, 14-11, and forced an Iowa State timeout. The Jayhawks and Cyclones played to a 20-20 tie before Kansas slammed the door with a 5-0 run to take a 25-20 third set win. Rigdon tallied eight of her 20 kills in the third set alone to carry the Jayhawks’ offense.
Kansas and Iowa State traded runs in the fourth set, keeping the game close throughout. Kansas scored 10 straight points, including an ace by senior Tori Miller, to win set four and force a fifth and final set to determine the match.
KU’s second-straight five-set match set would follow the same similar back-and-forth pattern as the previous sets. After trailing 7-5, the Jayhawks went on a 7-0 run to take control of the set, 12-7. The Jayhawks momentum and the energy in Horejsi would be too much for the Cyclones down the stretch as Kansas completed a five-set comeback victory behind a terminal offense — recording 12 kills on a .385 hitting percentage to take the match-clincher, 15-11.
The Jayhawks stay at home this weekend to welcome TCU to Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Saturday, Sept. 30 (12 p.m., FOX Sports Network).
• This is KU’s fourth — and second-straight — five-set match this season (3-1).
• KU is 3-1 against opponents ranked in the AVCA Coaches Poll this season.
• Kansas recorded a season-high 93 digs, led by five Jayhawks with double-figure digs.
• Wednesday marked the first time Kansas came back to win after losing the first two sets of a match since defeating No. 25 Wisconsin on Sept. 13, 2013, in Madison.
• Kansas has won six-straight matches in the series against Iowa State.
• Kelsie Payne is now second at KU career kills (1,336), passing Caroline Jarmoc (2009-13; 1,333).
• Tori Miller tied her career high in digs (16).
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