Kansas Aces Baylor 3-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Behind a stellar first set, six aces and a shutdown defensive performance, Kansas raced past Baylor in straight sets Wednesday night inside the Horejsi Family Athletics Center, 25-10, 25-14, 25-23.
Individually, junior outside hitter Tiana Dockery was the only player on the floor to register double-digits in the kill column with 12 on a .310 hitting percentage. However, as a team Kansas (17-7, 5-5) dispersed the stats evenly across the board against Baylor (13-12, 3-7) as the Jayhawks outdid the Bears in every category on the final box score.
“It was a balanced effort,” head coach Ray Bechard said. “I thought Sara (McClinton) took some swings that were as good as I’ve seen in a while, (Chelsea) Albers with eight kills and no errors, (Tayler) Soucie was good. I thought Ainise (Havili) controlled the tempo and how she was trying to set kept Baylor off-balance. It’s good to play well and get a 3-0 win this time of year against a good team. Baylor came in here having won two in a row.”
Senior outside hitter Chelsea Albers contributed eight kills on 15 swings for a .533 attack percentage to go along with 11 digs defensively. Fellow senior outside hitter Sara McClinton tossed in nine kills while sophomore middle blocker Tayler Soucie knocked home seven kills and rejected five Baylor attacks. Freshman setter Ainise Havili anchored the offense after distributing a game-high 38 assists to go along with eight digs.
Andie Malloy led the Baylor offense with nine kills on a night the team struggled to establish an offensive rhythm. No player swung for 10 or more kills and the team finished the match with an .068 attack percentage. On the defensive side of the net, Baylor was out-blocked, 6.0-2.0
Tayler Soucie and Tiana Dockery team up
for one of KU’s six team blocks against Baylor.From the match’s first serve, Kansas was firing on all cylinders storming out of the gate to a 6-1 advantage after four of the first seven points were claimed by Dockery, who contributed three kills and a block. The Jayhawks forced a timeout from the Bears after a string of errors catapulted KU to an early 8-1 lead. KU never let off of the gas pedal after the timeout. Following a span of three-straight points on two kills from Hall, KU put together an 8-4 run forcing another Baylor stoppage in play, this time trailing 16-5. The second timeout did nothing to faze Kansas as it once again continued its dominance. The Jayhawks used two separate 3-0 runs thanks to Albers, Soucie and Dockery to take the opening period by 15 points – tying the largest margin of victory for KU in a single set this season, 25-10.
Early on, the second set sang a much different tune than its predecessor. KU jumped all over Baylor during the first five points for an early 4-1 lead after two McClinton kills and a Havili ace. Baylor was resilient, battling back into the set to trail by one point, 10-9, midway through the second session. The turning point for the Jayhawks came after Hall slammed her fourth kill to take a two point lead, 11-9. Havili then followed that up with her second and third aces of the match. On the next point a long rally ensued that saw both teams land bodies on the floor to save a point. The play finally concluded with a thunderous applause from the Horejsi crowd thanks to McClinton throwing down a kill to give Kansas a hard-fought 14-9 lead. From that point on the Jayhawks never looked back ending the set on an 11-5 run, claiming the second set 25-14 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The first 10 points of the third set weren’t anywhere near what played out in the first two. Coming out of the intermission, both teams battled back-and-forth never allowing each other to build more than a three-point lead.
“We ran out and it was no doubt in the first two sets, but it’s tough,” Bechard said. “You want to come out and be dominant like that, but you know in volleyball there are momentum swings. We’ve just got to control those and tonight we did enough to control it and get out of here in three.”
The squads continued to trade points up until the scoreboard read 17-15 in favor of the Jayhawks. Albers played the role of closer and emphatically put Kansas in the driver’s seat to earn its third sweep in Big 12 play after three late kills made the score 22-19 in favor of the Jayhawks. However, just like before, Baylor clawed back with two-straight points and only trailed by one, 22-21 forcing Bechard into a timeout. The dramatics were short lived as Baylor recorded an error on its serve and McClinton put the finishing touches on the match with her ninth kill of the night, 3-0, 25-14.
- With nine kills against Baylor, senior outside hitter Sara McClinton passed Emily Brown for seventh on KU’s all-time career kills list. McClinton now has 1,174 for her career, while Brown who played from 2004-07 had 1,168. McClinton is one of two players in the Big 12 with 1,000 career kills (Haley Eckerman, Texas).
- The Jayhawks chalked up their ninth sweep of the year Wednesday against Baylor. Reversely, KU has been swept just twice in its last 67 matches (Washington 12/13/13, Penn State 9/13/14).
- Wednesday’s match against Baylor took the crown for KU’s fastest match in conference play this season, lasting just one hour and 21 minutes, besting the previous time of one hour and 27 minutes set against Texas Tech on Oct. 25.
- KU’s six service aces were one short of a season-high seven aces which was set in the season-opener against Utah Valley. Including Wednesday, the Jayhawks have served six aces three times in 2014.
Kansas will play its third-straight Texas team on Saturday, Nov. 8 when the Jayhawks travel to Lubbock for a meeting with Texas Tech. First serve from the United Supermarkets Arena is slated for 3 p.m.
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