No. 24 Kansas Loses Battle at No. 1 Texas, 3-1

No. 1 Texas 3, No. 24 Kansas 1
Gregory Gym // Austin, Texas
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Kansas 16 25 22 21
Texas 25 15 25 25

Box Score (.pdf)

Statistical Leaders
Kansas Texas
Riley – 21 Digs Palmer – 14
McNorton – 47 Assists Allison – 40
Carmichael – 13 Kills Eckerman – 25
Jarmoc – .346 Hit % Eckerman – .333
Jarmoc – 3 Blocks Bell – 7
Stats Comparison KU UT
Kills 59 54
Hitting Pct. .191 .293
Assists 56 48
Service Aces 2 3
Digs 65 56
Total Blocks 4.0 13.0

AUSTIN, Texas – Redshirt senior outside hitter Catherine Carmichael’s 13 kills led the 24th-ranked Kansas’ balanced offense against defending NCAA Champion Texas, but it couldn’t offset the unbalanced performance that powered the Longhorns to a 3-1 win Saturday inside the Gregory Gym, 16-25, 25-15, 22-25, 21-25.
Kansas (19-6, 9-3) met up with a Texas (18-2, 11-0) squad that hasn’t lost in nearly two months, good for 14-straight wins after Saturday and a flawless record in league play. KU’s second-set win marked just the third set the Longhorns have surrendered at home in Big 12 play this season, while the double-digit margin of victory was KU’s biggest against UT since Nov. 8, 2003. In fact, it marked the first time Kansas had taken a set in Austin since Set. 21, 2005.
Tied at 1-1, Texas made the plays needed to win the next two closely-contested sets and walk away with first-place standings in the Big 12 Conference firmly secured.
“The match was up for grabs, it was tied at a set apiece and we were up 16-13 in the third set,” head coach Ray Bechard said. “So it’s competitive, but now we’ve got to take that next step. Going from good to great doesn’t sound that hard, but it is. So we’ve got to clean up some little things. Each of us are responsible for that, from staff to each player, to find what things we can adjust to make us that little bit better.”
Although Kansas hit under .200 for only the fifth time this season (.191), Carmichael was backed by a balanced offense as she was one of four different Jayhawks to record double-digit kills in the loss. Redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc, freshman middle blocker Tayler Soucie and junior outside hitter Sara McClinton each contributed 11 kills. Senior setter Erin McNorton guided the offense with 47 assists and added three kills of her own.
Defensively, senior libero Brianne Riley led the floor with 21 digs, and junior outside hitter Chelsea Albers was one kill shy of a double-double with nine kills and 13 digs. At the net, Jarmoc led the Jayhawks with three blocks – but couldn’t do much to offset the Longhorns’ 13.0-4.0 blocking advantage.
Where Kansas was balanced, Texas was led by a dominant performance from its pair of All-American outside hitters in senior Bailey Webster and junior Haley Eckerman. The reigning Big 12 Player of the Year, Eckerman, led all players with 25 kills, while Webster added 16 as the duo finished with 41 of the team’s 54 kills.
The Jayhawks landed just one kill out of their first 11 swings, digging themselves an early hole, 9-3, and prompting their first timeout of the afternoon. KU’s offense responded immediately, coming out of the break on a 5-1 run thanks to kills from Soucie and Jarmoc. With KU slicing into the home team’s lead, 10-8, Texas took its turn at a timeout.
Kansas shook off its early-going errors as strong swings from McNorton and Jarmoc kept Kansas within three, 14-11. The closeness stopped there, however, as the Longhorns took advantage of nine Jayhawk hitting errors in the first frame compared to just one of their own. Texas closed the set on an 11-5 run to take the 1-0 lead.
The second set couldn’t have started any more differently. Kansas erupted from first serve, getting kills from Carmichael and Jarmoc to take its first lead of the afternoon, 5-2, forcing an early Texas timeout. The Jayhawks kept coming, led by a phenomenal run from McClinton. The junior rattled off three-straight kills and Jarmoc added another to power KU to a sizable lead, 10-4.
Putting their foot on the gas, McClinton and Jarmoc led the charge as they led the set with seven combined kills for the set, but the defense had equal ownership in turning the match around. Albers came up with seven digs in the second set, helping the Jayhawks fend off countless Texas attacks. When Jarmoc and McNorton teamed up for KU’s first block of the match, the Jayhawks were in control with a 19-13 advantage. Preventing Texas from finding a rhythm, KU held the Longhorns hit a mere .051 in the frame. McNorton connected on an ace and Albers sealed the lopsided win with the last kill of the set, 25-15.
With the momentum in full shift, Kansas picked up where it left off to start set three. A well-placed kill from McNorton and a block by Soucie and Carmichael put KU in front, 8-7. Jarmoc picked up back-to-back kills to maintain the edge and by the set’s media timeout, KU held on to a 15-12 lead.
As predicted from the country’s best team, Texas fought back. A 5-0 run returned the lead to the Longhorns, 18-16, and caused the Jayhawks to use a timeout just moments after the media timeout. The lead was a far from comfortable, however, as Carmichael crushed a cross-court kill to tie the set, 20-20. Another kill from Carmichael and a crucial block by Jarmoc and McNorton saw KU fight back from a 23-20 deficit, closing the gap to a single point, but Eckerman and Webster proved to be too much – combining for 14 kills in the set. A block by setter Hannah Allison and middle blocker Khat Bell ended the set in Texas’ favor, 25-22.
The fourth set provided no stress relief, as it took no time for another back-and-forth battle to ensue. Out of the gate, the teams held each other accountable for every point. By the time the set reached 10 points apiece, the score had already been knotted six times. After the Jayhawks broke free for a 4-0 run and the 12-10 lead, the Longhorns called for a timeout.
Carmichael came out of the pause for another kill, but back-to-back kills from Webster and Eckerman tied the score at 13-13. From there, every point was challenged as the teams tied at 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17. Though the Longhorns took the next two points, Carmichael and McClinton responded again with kills to keep Texas from gaining more ground. Trailing 22-20, Kansas surrendered two-straight points to bring the Longhorns to match point. One last kill from Soucie fought off match point once, but that would be the last time as KU fell 25-21 in the final frame and 3-1 for the match.
– Senior libero Brianne Riley’s 21 digs moved her closer to sixth all-time on the Big 12 Conference’s career digs list (1,932), now only 65 digs of former Missouri standout Tatum Ailes (1,997; 2004-07).
– Riley now has double-digit digs in 51-consecutive matches.
– Redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc’s 1,249 kills rank sixth all-time for career kills at Kansas. 
– With three blocks against Texas, Jarmoc increased her lead as KU’s all-time block leader (527).
UP NEXT                                                                                                          
Kansas will receive its midweek bye next week and resume action in Lawrence, when the Jayhawks welcome the Kansas State Wildcats to the Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Saturday, Nov. 16. The match will serve as Kansas Volleyball Alumni Night and will honor the 10-year anniversary of KU’s first NCAA Tournament team. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.  The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.