No. 10 Volleyball Sweeps Iowa State, Continues Dominance
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 10th-ranked University of Kansas volleyball team continued its unprecedented winning streak on Saturday evening with a straight-set victory over Iowa State, 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-21), in front of a sold-out Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
The Jayhawks (17-0, 5-0 Big 12) extend the program’s longest winning streak to 17 matches behind the efforts of senior outside hitter Tiana Dockery’s 12 kills, junior middle blocker Janae Hall’s eight kills with no attacking errors, and sophomore right-side hitter Kelsie Payne’s nine kills.
Sophomore setter Ainise Havili finished one dig short of her sixth double-double of the season, tallying 33 assists and nine digs. Havili also recorded four of KU’s five service aces, including an ace on set-point, which gave Kansas a two-set advantage going into intermission.
The Cyclones (10-6, 3-2) became just the second opponent to record a hitting percentage over .200 against the Jayhawks this season, finishing with a .232 clip on Saturday. Jess Schaben recorded 10 kills on a .500 attack percentage to lead Iowa State, which entered the week ranked No. 25 in the first NCAA RPI release of the season.
“I think Iowa State is the best, most balanced team we’ve played so far this season,” Bechard said. “Our aim is to win the Big 12 title, and defeating a team like that is a step in the right direction. We can’t lose at home, period.”
The Cyclones jumped out to a 5-2 lead in a physical first set that included extended rallies and firm defense on both sides. Kansas put together a 5-0 run to regain the lead, 7-5. After miss-firing on her first two attack attempts of the match, Payne connected on four kills during KU’s first eight points to spark the offense. KU went on to win the first set, 25-20.
“I thought the first five points dictated how the match was going to be played,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “We hadn’t seen a team that had dug that well and transitioned that well, so we had to do what was necessary to manage that. It might not have been a thing of beauty, but we won a majority of the big points.”
ISU libero Caitlin Nolan reached for 11 digs in the first set before KU attackers adjusted their aim, giving Nolan just five digs for the remaining two sets of the match.
The Jayhawks’ blocking game played a large role in a 25-17 second-set victory. Three KU blocks helped fuel a 14-6 early advantage for the home team, while Iowa State’s hitting percentage dipped to .174 in the second set. Dockery recorded half of her 12 kills in the second set victory.
Offensive opportunities opened up for Hall in the final set, as she recorded five kills on six errorless swings to help Kansas to clinch the match with a 25-21 third-set win. Kansas posted a .357 hitting percentage to close out the match.
The Jayhawks take their 17-match winning streak on the road to Baylor on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT.
• At 17-0, Kansas continues its best start in program history and longest overall winning streak. The previous best start was 10-0 in 2001, and the previous longest winning streak was 15 matches in 1991.
• KU’s set record improves to 51-4. 13 of KU’s 17 victories have been sweeps (three sets), including Saturday’s victory over Iowa State. The Jayhawks have yet to play a five-set match this season.
• Iowa State leads the all-time series, 47-39-1. Kansas has won the last two matches in the series. The Jayhawks hold a 20-15-1 series advantage in Lawrence.
• Kansas is one of two undefeated teams in NCAA Division I (USC).
• Kansas recorded five aces on seven service errors for its best aces-to-errors margin during Big 12 play (-2). KU entered the match averaging a -6.8 aces-to-errors margin in conference matches.
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