No. 7 Volleyball’s Unprecedented Winning Streak Ends at No. 2 Texas

Box Score (PDF)

Inside the winning streak:
• Longest winning streak in program history (W19)
• Highest ranking in program history (No. 7)
• Best start in program history (19-0)
• 54-5 set record

AUSTIN, Texas – No. 7 Kansas Volleyball’s unprecedented winning streak has come to an end.

The Jayhawks’ 19-match winning streak ended with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-14) loss to No. 2 Texas on Friday night at Gregory Gymnasium. KU’s 19-0 record entering Friday night’s match, the first top-10 pairing between two Big 12 teams since 2010, will go down as the longest winning streak in program history and best start to a season in program history. KU’s climb to No. 7 in the AVCA Coaches Poll during the streak is also a program high.

Kansas (19-1, 7-1 Big 12), which had only lost five sets during the entire season before Friday, recorded a season-low .155 hitting percentage while Texas (18-1, 8-0) attacked on a .336 clip – the first time a KU opponent has hit over .250 this season.

“If this motivates the team to create more opportunities to improve in practice, then it would be a learning opportunity,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “Simply to come in and experience this and not change the way we are going about our business wouldn’t be productive, so we are hoping that’s the case.”

Sophomore right-side hitter Kelsie Payne led the Jayhawks with 10 kills on a .391 hitting percentage. UT outside hitters Paulina Prieto Cerame (16 kills) and Amy Neal (14) combined for 30 of the Longhorns’ 48-kill output during the match.

Kansas led the Big 12 in aces per set entering the match, but their aggressive service game didn’t pay off in the first set. The Jayhawks recorded five service errors on the way to a 25-16 first-set loss. Kansas cut its deficit to two points, 11-9, after a kill from sophomore Madison Rigdon but another service error from KU opened the gates for a 9-4 Texas run. The 25-16 decision marked the first time Kansas lost an opening set since August 29 at Arkansas.

The ‘Payne train’ was rolling at the start of the second set. Payne, an Austin native, lifted Kansas to an early 5-point lead by accounting for all six points — five kills and a block-assist — during a 6-1 run to begin the set.

Kansas maintained its lead with the help of five blocks in the second set alone. Rigdon tooled off a Texas block for one of her seven kills on the night to give Kansas a five-point KU lead in the second set, 17-12.

But Texas responded with a 13-2 run to close the set, 25-19, and head into intermission with a two-set advantage.

Kansas kept pace with Texas to a 10-10 tie to begin the third set before Texas clinched the match with a 25-14 victory in the final set.

Kansas faces Iowa State on Wednesday night (6 p.m., ESPNU) in Ames, Iowa.