No. 11 Kansas volleyball defeats Texas Tech, 3-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. — No. 11 Kansas volleyball notched its 14th-straight win over Texas Tech with a quick three-set decision on Saturday afternoon in front of a sold-out Horejsi Family Athletics Center (25-22,25-18,25-14). Senior All-American outside hitter Madison Rigdon led the Jayhawks offensively, recording 14 kills and two aces in the one-hour and 11-minute sweep.
“Madison continues to produce for our offense not only from the pins but from the service line,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “She really put the pressure on them with her service game today.”
Before first serve, senior All-American setter Ainise Havili was presented with a commemorative volleyball by Coach Bechard in front of her home crowd for breaking KU’s all-time assists record last week. Havili added 34 assists to her career record — currently at 4,872 — along with 11 digs for her 18th double-double this season during Saturday’s victory.
KU’s defense was led by sophomore libero Allie Nelson, who recorded 17 digs — a career high in a three-set match for the Chicago native.
The Jayhawks limited the Red Raiders to 29 kills on a .105 hitting percentage. KU closes a strong week of defense by holding Tech and No. 24 Baylor to a combined .096 hitting percentage during a pair of sweeps.
The Jayhawks (18-3, 7-1 Big 12) conclude the first half of Big 12 play as winners of 26 of the last 28 league matches. In addition to 14-straight wins over the Red Raiders (13-8, 2-6), KU has won 16-straight sets in the series dating back to 2014. The Red Raiders were led by Sarah Redding’s 10 kills on a .304 hitting percentage.
“Tech has made as big as an improvement from last year to this year as any team in our league,” coach Bechard said of the Red Raiders. “(Second-year head coach) Tony (Graystone) is doing an outstanding job. They played well despite not having their starting setter available today.”
The Jayhawks and Raiders went back-and-forth in a first set that featured 11 ties and six lead changes before KU prevailed, 25-22. Rigdon, sophomore outside hitter Jada Burse and sophomore middle blocker Mmachi Nwoke tallied four kills each in the first set as Kansas hit for a .316 efficiency to open the match. With KU up 23-22 late in the first, Nwoke shut the door on the Red Raiders with back-to-back kills to reach set point and to clinch set point, respectively, for the Jayhawks.
Texas Tech recorded the first point of the second set for a 1-0 lead, but that would be the last time the Red Raiders would hold a lead for the remainder of the match.
The Jayhawks responded with a 6-0 run that included two aces from senior defensive specialist Tori Miller. Later, senior All-American right-side hitter Kelsie Payne recorded back-to-back aces to give KU an 11-5 lead. Rigdon added four more kills and KU’s defense held TTU to a .028 attacking clip during the 25-18 second-set victory.
Kansas dominated in the third set, starting off with a 6-2 run and not looking back. With Kansas holding a 21-12 lead, freshman setter Annika Carlson subbed in for Havili to run the offense during the closing moments of the match. Playing in her second-career match, Carlson recorded three assists as Kansas secured the match. Burse, normally a three-rotation outside hitter, attempted her first-career serve on match point before Carlson assisted Payne with a match-clinching kill for the 25-14 third-set victory.
Kansas begins the second half of the Big 12 Conference’s double-round-robin play as Oklahoma visits Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Wednesday night (6:30 p.m., JTV/ESPN3).
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