No. 4 Kansas falls at No. 14 Purdue, 3-1

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Fourth-ranked Kansas dropped its first regular-season nonconference match since 2014 at the hands of No. 14 Purdue, 3-1 (25-21, 24-26, 25-19, 25-14), on Friday night inside Holloway Gymnasium during the Stacey Clark Classic. KU’s regular-season nonconference winning streak ends at 25 matches.  

The Jayhawks (10-1) lose for the first time this season despite a match-high 16 kills from junior outside hitter Madison Rigdon. Entering Friday night, Kansas had held all 10 opponents to a hitting percentage under .200; the Boilermakers (9-1) left the gym with a .331 clip and seven aces while out-digging the Jayhawks, 67-45.

“We played a good team tonight,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “They were prepared and ready. We weren’t. We competed in spurts, but we got out-dug by 22. Purdue is going to have a great season. This is a great environment to play in. Bottom line is, we have to learn from what we saw tonight.”

Purdue led by as many as four in a tight first set which featured seven ties, but aces from Anderson and Rigdon kept the Jayhawks within striking distance down the stretch. After a Rigdon ace, freshman Jada Burse registered a kill coming out of a Purdue timeout to bring KU within one, 18-19. The Boilermakers closed the first set on a 6-2 run to hand KU its first first-set loss of the season.

Kansas fell behind 15-10 in the second set, but didn’t give in. Junior All-American setter Ainise Havili got creative on the offensive end with a setter’s dump coming out of KU’s first timeout – a foreshadow of things to come. Facing set point, 24-21, Havili won a joust to put the Jayhawks within two, 22-24. Followed by a bad set, Purdue called timeout with the Jayhawks nipping at their heels, 24-23. Coming out of the timeout, Rigdon tied it at 24 with a kill, while Havili found the right seem in Purdue’s defense for another setter’s dump to give KU a 25-24 lead. Havili and Soucie teamed up for a block to close out the set.

KU’s slow rally culminated in a 5-0 run to set the set, 26-24, and equalize the match, 1-1.

Kansas started the third set neck-and-neck with Purdue, exchanging leads three times with eight ties. The Boilermakers pulled away with a 4-0 run to take a 19-15 lead by using a lethal offensive effort in the third set of 20 kills on a .444 hitting percentage.

Kansas recovered from a 5-1 Purdue lead in the fourth set to tie it at 10. After junior All-American right-side hitter Kelsie Payne registered her 10th kill of the night which brought KU within two, 15-13, Purdue went on a 10-1 run to clinch the four-set victory.

The Jayhawks conclude the Stacey Clark Classic on Saturday against Southeastern Louisiana (Noon Central).

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