No. 9 Kansas drops five-setter at Santa Clara

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Kansas volleyball dropped a five-set decision on the road to Santa Clara late Friday night during the Santa Clara / San Jose Tournament at Leavey Center (22-25, 27-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-12).

“We got into a lot of 20-all scores at the end of sets, and it came down to them playing cleaner than us,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “We just weren’t as organized as we needed to be. Santa Clara deserves this match. They are a good team that played hard tonight and had better offensive balance than we had. I’m disappointed that we couldn’t be a little better in the end of sets that we lost.”

Kansas (10-2) drops its first match against an unranked opponent since Dec. 4, 2014 against Little Rock in the NCAA Tournament.

Senior right-side hitter Kelsie Payne recorded a match-high 22 kills on a .333 hitting percentage, while senior setter Ainise Havili nearly posted a triple-double with 50 assists, 16 digs and nine kills on a .533 attacking clip.

Senior middle blocker Taylor Alexander led KU’s front-line defense with eight blocks and 10 kills. Sophomore libero Allie Nelson posted a match-high 27 digs, one shy of her career high.

Santa Clara (7-4) held Kansas to a .189 hitting percentage, as the ninth-ranked Jayhawks become the highest-ranked team to lose to the Broncos on their home court. Setter Kirsten Mead dished 61 assists with 25 digs and Michelle Gajdka recorded a team-high 21 kills.

Kansas leads the series with Santa Clara, 2-1.

The Jayhawks conclude the Santa Clara / San Jose State Tournament and regular-season nonconference play on Saturday with a 1 p.m. Central time first serve against Idaho.




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