Volleyball Sweeps UMKC, Kansas Invitational
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Junior libero Cassie Wait recorded 23 digs in just three sets to help lead Kansas volleyball to a sweep over UMKC, 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-16), in the finale of the Kansas Invitational on Saturday evening at Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
The Gardner, Kansas native took home Tournament MVP honors after leading KU (6-0) to another stout defense effort against UMKC (3-3). The Jayhawks held to Roos to a .171 hitting percentage, continuing a trend of no KU opponents recording a hitting percentage above.200 this season.
“The goal is to come out and play our best every game,” Wait said. “It’s all about controlling our side of the court. It’s such a big part of the game and I think when we do that we give ourselves the best opportunity to come out and win like we did this weekend. It’s pretty awesome.”
Sophomore right side Kelsie Payne registered 13 kills on 26 swings with no attacking errors (.500 hitting percentage) to earn All-Tournament honors, and sophomore setter Ainise Havili came up with her second double-double of the season with 44 assists and 11 digs. Senior outside hitter Tiana Dockery posted a team-high 14 kills on the night.
UMKC, coached by former KU assistant Christi Posey, took Kansas to the wire in the second set in which the Roos produced 15 kills on a .300 clip. The Roos erased a six-point deficit from down 13-7 to eventually tie the second set, 20-20. But the Hawks never forfeited the lead, taking the second set by a score of 25-23.
“The culture of their team is pretty scrappy,” head coach Ray Bechard said of UMKC’s squad. “We said if we can out-dig that we’ll have some success.”
Kansas did just that, out-digging their opponent to the tune of 67-to-50.
Payne came out swinging on all cylinders in the third set, recording five early kills to lift Kansas to a 9-3 advantage. UMKC regrouped and came out of a timeout to cut KU’s deficit to three, 12-9, but Kansas pulled away by putting together its best single-set hitting percentage of the night (.350). The Jayhawks went on to take a 17-11 lead and clinched the win on a Dockery kill.
UMKC was led by All-Tournament selection Sydney Crimmins, who registered a double-double of 11 kills and 10 digs.
KU was crowned the Kansas Invitational champion after sweeping Western Illinois, Duke and UMKC over a span of two days which opened the Jayhawks’ 2015 home schedule. Kansas continues its best start since 2011, having won 18-of-19 sets so far this season.
Kansas visits Laramie, Wyoming, for Pistol Pete’s Showdown, hosted by the University of Wyoming, Sept. 11-12. The Jayhawks will face Northern Colorado, Wyoming, and Marquette over a two-day span at the event next weekend.
Kansas Invitational All-Tournament Team
Cassie Wait, Kansas (MVP)
Kelsie Payne, Kansas
Tayler Soucie, Kansas
Leah Meyer, MB – Duke
Sasha Karelov, L – Duke
Sydney Crimmins – UMKC
Sierra Bauder, M/RS – Western Illinois