Kansas Downs UMKC on Jarmoc’s Milestone Night, 3-1

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It took just 15 minutes for redshirt senior Caroline Jarmoc to collect the four kills needed to reach the 1,000 career milestone. The middle blocker went on to post a match-high 19 kills to lead Kansas past UMKC inside the Swinney Recreation Center Tuesday night, 25-17, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21.
Playing on the Roos’ turf for the first time since 2004 – and the first time since long-time KU assistant coach Christi Posey took the head coaching job at UMKC – Kansas (3-1) fought off a scrappy UMKC (1-3) squad for the team’s third-straight win.
“That program is going in a great direction,” head coach Ray Bechard said. “Coach Posey must have gotten some good schooling along the way. They are young, but they are doing everything the right way and they are going to be extremely competitive in their league this year. It is exciting to watch their program grow and I’m sure they are excited about it.”
Jarmoc led the Jayhawks with 19 kills and 10 blocks for her second career double-double. Joining her on the leaderboard as junior outside hitter Chelsea Albers, who cranked out her third double-double in the season’s first four matches with 15 kills and 16 digs. Redshirt senior outside hitter Catherine Carmichael posted 12 kills and seven blocks, while senior setter Erin McNorton dished to each of them, also putting up double-double numbers with 50 assists and 11 digs.
Defensively, both teams put on a good show with 16 team blocks apiece. Behind the front line for KU was senior libero Brianne Riley with 15 digs, which ties her for 10th all-time in the Big 12 for career digs (1,568, Jennifer Saleaumua, Nebraska, 2002-05).
Making her first start as a Jayhawk, freshman middle blocker Tayler Soucie connected on KU’s first kill of the match, sparking the 7-0 run that pushed KU to a win in the opening frame. UMKC would have something to say about it when the ‘Roos stormed back to tie the match at a set apiece in set two, their first set victory against the Jayhawks since 2008. The Jayhawks bounced back in set three, holding off the surging ‘Roos in a tight race and sealed the deal with a win in set four.
Before collecting her milestone kill, Jarmoc’s presence was all over the court. She and Carmichael went up for a block and followed that with an ace, powering Kansas to a 13-5 lead and forcing UMKC to use its second timeout of the set.
Kansas kept rolling when Jarmoc’s career marker put the team up, 17-11, and her next one saw KU sail ahead by three more points. The ‘Roos put a slight dent in the deficit, taking 4-of-5 points as the Jayhawks approached the end of the set, but KU put it away, 25-17.
The second set saw UMKC display its blocking prowess. Entering Tuesday’s meeting, the ‘Roos were averaging an impressive 3.33 blocks per set, and it showed as the home team used a pair of blocks to take a 9-6 lead to open set two. A long rally that ended in another Jarmoc kill knotted the set, 12-12.
KU never seized control due to UMKC’s continuous rallies and potent blocking. While UMKC hit just .122 in the second set, Kansas countered with a dismal .056, making it difficult to find offensive rhythm.
A solo block by sophomore Sydney Crimmins tied the set at 15, and the ‘Roos used that momentum to win the race to 20 points, 20-18. Kills from rookies Cassie Wait and Soucie evened the set yet again. The two teams locked up at 20-20, 21-21, 22-22 and 23-23 until a UMKC block ultimately ended the set in favor of the home team, 25-23.
Midway through the third set, McNorton’s solid decision to get the ball out wide for an Albers’ kill handed KU the slight 13-11 lead. A 4-0 UMKC run quickly halted the energy Kansas had gathered, however, prompting Bechard to call a timeout with his team trailing, 15-13.
It worked, two kills from Jarmoc along with a block from her and McNorton put Kansas on a 4-0 run of its own to reclaim the advantage. By the time the Jayhawks stretched their lead to 20-16, Posey wanted a timeout, as well. The ‘Roos pushed back out of the pause, but again McNorton used good judgment with a setter dump shot to open the gap, 22-18. One last kill from Carmichael handed Kansas the win, 25-22, and the two-sets-to-one lead.
Ready to wrap it up, Kansas shot out to a 7-1 lead in the fourth and final set. Again the ‘Roos battled and narrowed their deficit multiples times, getting as close as 22-20 in the closing minutes, but Kansas was steady. A kill and an ace from McNorton wrapped up the set, 25-21, and the 3-1 victory.
–      Redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc’s 1,015 career kills are the second-most among current Big 12 players. She trails fellow senior Kaitlynn Pelger from Kansas State.
–      Jarmoc’s 10 blocks on Tuesday pushed her past former KU volleyball player Josi Lima (418) for second all-time on the Kansas career blocks list.
The road tripping continues when the Jayhawks travel to Fayetteville, Ark., to face the Arkansas Razorbacks, Thursday at 7 p.m.
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