No. 22 Kansas Sweeps Marquette, Remains Undefeated
LARAMIE, Wyo. – Kansas Volleyball continued its undefeated start to the season by winning its third non-conference tournament title in as many weekends after sweeping Marquette on Saturday afternoon, 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-16), in the finale of Pistol Pete’s Showdown, hosted by the University of Wyoming.
“We were just solid all-around today,” Head Coach Ray Bechard said. “Marquette is a very physical team, but we made runs in each set that gave us the opportunity to win. From last night’s match into this morning, I thought the team handled the quick turnaround very well. This winning streak is a credit to our players managing our opponent’s different styles and playing at the tempo we want to play.”
Sophomore outside hitter Madison Rigdon earned Tournament MVP honors with 3.7 kills per set and 2.7 digs per set through three matches in Laramie. Rigdon capped her weekend with another balanced effort on Saturday, registering 12 kills on a .321 attack percentage, seven digs and an ace.
“Madison was just really solid – very steady effort in all three matches while attacking well out of the back-row,” Bechard said. “I’m really proud of her. We had great balance as a team this weekend, but Madison is very deserving of MVP honors.”
Junior middle blocker Tayler Soucie and sophomore setter Ainise Havili joined Rigdon on the event’s All-Tournament team. Soucie totaled 15 and averaged 2.0 kills per set blocks in three matches. Havili guided KU’s offense with 13.0 assists per set, including 46 on Saturday – a career-high for a three-set match.
The Jayhawks’ 9-0 record is now tied for the second-best start to a season in program history with Coach Bechard’s 2000 squad. KU’s best start was a 10-match winning streak to begin the 2001 season.
Marquette (6-2) was led by two players with nine kills on Saturday – Joy Miley and Taylor Louis. The Golden Eagles opened the season with a straight-set win at Iowa State and received votes in the latest AVCA Coaches’ Poll.
KU and Marquette traded runs throughout the first set that went to the Jayhawks, 25-23. Kansas came out of the gates to take a 3-0 lead with Havili at the service line, but the Golden Eagles went on to take a 10-6 lead. Coming out of a timeout, KU countered with a 13-4 run, including the Jayhawks’ first service ace of the weekend from Havili, to take a 19-14 lead. Kansas kept their lead for the remainder of the set, despite a late push from Marquette.
In the second set, Kansas trailed 10-7 but used a 7-1 run fueled by serving from Havili and two kills from sophomore right-side Kelsie Payne to gain control of momentum with a 14-11 lead. Payne tallied seven kills in the second set alone help Kansas to a 25-21 decision going into intermission.
The Jayhawks finished their effort in Laramie, Wyoming on a strong note by recording a .500 attack percentage and holding Marquette to a .143 clip in the third set. The teams played to a 10-10 tie to begin the set before Kansas pulled away with a 9-2 run to win the set, 25-16, and clinch its ninth-straight victory.
Kansas returns to Lawrence next weekend to host the Jayhawk Classic at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center, Sept. 18-19. The two-day round-robin tournament will feature South Dakota State, Gonzaga, and Missouri State.
“We start over on Monday in practice to do the little things better each and every day,” Bechard said. “We’ll see some good teams in Lawrence.”
PISTOL PETE’S SHOWDOWN
ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM (Kansas)
Madison Rigdon – MVP
• KU’s 9-0 record is now tied for the second-best start to a season in program history with Coach Ray Bechard’s 2000 squad. KU’s best start was a 10-match winning streak to begin the 2001 season.
• KU’s Pistol Pete’s Showdown title is the third consecutive non-conference tournament title this season. Kansas previously won the Arkansas Invitational (Aug. 28-29) and the Kansas Invitational (Sept. 4-5).
• The Jayhawks are the last remaining undefeated team in the Big 12 Conference.
• Kansas improves its set record to a Big 12 Conference-best 21-2 (.913).
• Saturday marked the first meeting between Kansas and Marquette.
• Sophomore setter Ainise Havili set a career high in assists for a three-set match (46). Havili also recorded KU’s first service ace of the weekend in the first set, finishing with a team-high two aces.
• Sophomore right-side hitter Kelsie Payne finished with a team-high 15 kills on a .367 attack percentage. Her 15 kills is a career-high for a three-set match.
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