Rigdon Leads No. 22 Kansas to 3-1 Win Over Northern Colorado

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LARAMIE, Wyo. – Sophomore outside hitter Madison Rigdon notched KU’s first kill-dig double-double of the season to help guide No. 22 Kansas Volleyball to a 3-1 (25-20, 25-23, 16-25, 25-20) win over Northern Colorado to open Pistol Pete’s Showdown on Friday on the campus of the University of Wyoming.

Rigdon recorded 12 kills and a career-high 15 digs as a six-rotation player for the Jayhawks. In the last two matches, Rigdon has totaled 29 digs and 21 kills.

“Madison had a great effort today,” Kansas Head Coach Ray Bechard said. “Anytime we can get that kind of production from middle-back, it is a great thing. We have asked a lot of her as a six-rotation player, and she has been delivering.”

Senior outside hitter Tiana Dockery posted a season-high 18 kills with seven digs and seven blocks, while junior middle blocker Janae Hall added seven blocks to help Kansas set a season-high 11.0 team blocks. But it wasn’t all perfect in KU’s first match at 7,220 feet above sea level. The Jayhawks (7-0) maintain their best start to a season since 2010, despite a season-low .186 attack percentage and not recording an ace for the first time in over a year (Sept. 5, 2014 against Bradley).

Kendra Cunningham led Northern Colorado (2-5) with 17 kills, 15 digs and four blocks. Kansas held the Bears to a .154 attack percentage.

KU and Northern Colorado traded a pair of runs start the first set before the Jayhawks prevailed with a 25-20 victory. Reigning Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week Kelsie Payne paced Kansas with two early kills. UNC later erased a four-point deficit to tie the set, 18-18. KU gained control with a 5-0 run, including two kills from Dockery and a setter’s dump from Ainise Havili, who finished with over 40 assists for the third time this season (43). Dockery polished off KU’s 7-2 run by clinching the set with her sixth kill. 

The Jayhawks nursed a three-point lead for most of the second set and staved off a late rally from the Bears to take the set, 25-23. A kill from Dockery, a KU double-block involving Dockery and Janae Hall, and an attacking UNC error gave KU set-point at 24-20. UNC regrouped for a 3-0 run after calling a time timeout, but committed a service error to give KU the second-set victory.

Kansas fell behind early in the third set, 7-3, which included a 4-0 UNC run fueled by three Kansas errors. The Bears kept Kansas at bay for the remainder of the third set and won, 25-16. It ended an 11-set winning streak for the Jayhawks, which spanned four matches.

Northern Colorado jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth set, but Kansas quickly responded with a kill from Rigdon, a solo block by Tayler Soucie and a kill from Soucie for a 3-2 lead. The deciding set would be tied two more times by UNC, but KU never surrendered its lead on the way to a 25-20 match-clinching victory. Soucie recorded four of her seven total kills in the fourth set. Dockery registered her 18th kill on the final point of the match.

KU will play its second match of the day in Pistol Pete’s Showdown against host Wyoming at 8 p.m. Central.

• KU’s seven-match winning streak to begin the season is now tied for the sixth-best start in program history  with the 1978 and 2010 seasons.
• KU recorded a season-high 11.0 team blocks.
• Senior outside hitter Tiana Dockery recorded season highs of 18 kills and seven blocks.
• Sophomore outside hitter Madison Rigdon recorded KU’s first kill-dig double-double of the season with 12 kills and a career-high 15 digs.
• Junior middle blocker Janae Hall posted a season-high seven blocks.

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