No. 7 Kansas suffers rare home loss to No. 9 Creighton, 3-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Seventh-ranked Kansas volleyball fell to No. 9 Creighton on Saturday night (25-20, 25-16, 29-27) in the final match of the Kansas Invitational in front of a sold-out crowd at Horejsi Family Athletics Center. Kansas finished the week 2-1 against top-20 opponents after losing a three-set home match for the first time in six years.
Creighton (7-2) hands Kansas (9-1) its first loss of the season and becomes the first team to sweep KU at home since No. 16 Iowa State did so on Sept. 28, 2011. The Bluejays capture the Kansas Invitational title as the winners of a three-way tiebreaker between Kansas and No. 17 Purdue – all which finished with a 2-1 record during the tournament. The tiebreaker was decided by set winning percentage.
Senior All-American outside hitter Madison Rigdon led the Jayhawks on Saturday with 11 kills and 14 digs for her sixth double-double of the season to earn All-Tournament Team honors. Sophomore outside hitter Jada Burse added 11 kills and senior All-American right-side hitter Kelsie Payne registered 10.
Despite hitting .310 as a team in the first set, Kansas dropped the opener to Creighton, 25-20. Senior middle blocker Taylor Alexander contributed three early kills as Kansas made its way to a 9-7 lead. But an ace by Creighton’s Brittany Witt tied the set at 13 and powered a 5-0 Bluejay go-ahead run after eight ties and four lead changes.
Creighton jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the second set, but the Jayhawks responded with a block-assist from sophomore Zoe Hill and Burse, pulling KU within two, 10-8. Behind a .418 hitting percentage, the Blujays pulled away to a 25-16 second set win. It marked the first time KU lost the first and second sets of a home match since Oct. 5, 2014 against No. 2 Texas.
Between the second and third sets, Kansas welcomed past players onto the court to recognize them for their vast contributions to the program and celebrate 50 years of women’s athletics at KU. Members in attendance included Kansas legend Marlene Mawson and members of nearly every season of head coach Ray Bechard’s 20 years of leading Kansas volleyball.
After the first two sets, Creighton was hitting .414, but the Jayhawks responded by holding the Bluejays to a .130 clip in the third set. Despite the improvement in defense, Creighton rallied from a 21-17 KU advantage to force extra points in the third.
In the hotly-contested final moments of the match, Kansas withstood two CU match points before Rigdon and Alexander combined for a block to give KU set point, 26-25. After KU and CU traded kills, a net violation tied the set at 27. Creighton closed the match with the final two points coming from a block and a kill for the 29-27 victory.
Kansas concludes the nonconference portion of its schedule at the Santa Clara / San Jose Tournament the Bay Area of California next weekend, Sept. 15-16. The event features San Jose State, Santa Clara and Idaho.
Kansas Invitational Standings
Kansas Invitational All-Tournament Team
MVP: Jaali Winters, Creighton
Brittany Witt, Creighton
Taryn Kloth, Creighton
Danielle Cuttino, Purdue
Azariah Stahl, Purdue
Madison Rigdon, Kansas
Arianna Person, Belmont
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