Kansas didn't knock off No. 8-ranked Texas in Big 12 volleyball on Wednesday night.
But the unranked Jayhawks did make the Longhorns sweat, winning the first game, 16-14, then falling 9-15, 3-15, 8-15, in a two-hour match contested before a loud crowd of 807 at KU's Horejsi Center.
"Kansas came to play. They were swinging at everything, definitely digging everything I had to put out there," Texas senior Erin Aldrich said after blasting 15 kills.
"They gave us a hard time. We need to play in adverse situations and they definitely made it an adverse situation for us," Aldrich added.
Kansas' win in Game One marked the Jayhawks' first against the Longhorns since Oct. 25, 1996 in Austin, Texas.
"That's what you strive for. It's what you hope the new Horejsi Center would provide, right? Some exciting volleyball," KU coach Ray Bechard said after the Jayhawks fell to 9-3 overall, 0-1 in the Big 12. Texas is 7-2, 1-0.
"Obviously I think there was a little buzz from the people here. It was a whole different environment than this team has experienced before. We played very well. We made big plays when we needed to."
Texas grabbed an 11-2 lead in the second game. The Jayhawks, however, made it 11-9 before fading.
"It was more Texas maybe sensed we were a little more formidable than they envisioned," Bechard said. "They raised their level. We did not concede. In the past we might have rolled over. There was fight in the Hawks tonight."
So much fight senior Amanda Reves was totally spent after KU's 15-8 setback in the fourth and final game.
"It was draining," said Reves, who had 17 kills, five more than teammates Danielle Geronymo and Amy Myatt. Reves also had 12 digs, while Mary Beth Albrecht contributed 11 kills.
"I was having a hard time catching my breath sometimes. Just the intensity I felt. We had a lot longer rallies than I've ever had with a team of that caliber. Usually it's one hit, one kill. This was back and forth," Reves added.
Texas sophomore Kathy Tilson may have saved the Longhorns from a shocking defeat. She had 19 kills against no errors.
"We did as good a job as anybody on Aldrich," Bechard said. "We were so worried about Aldrich and Tilson goes bonkers on us. We didn't have an answer for her."
Texas coach Jim Moore was disturbed by his squad's play. Texas, now 10-0 against KU all-time, had dropped a pair of decisions at No. 2-rated Penn State last weekend.
"Our serving was just ridiculous all night. We could have underhanded it tougher than that," Moore said. "It's incredibly disappointing, but the mistakes weren't all us for sure. Kansas played good defense.
"KU has a very good team. They put the ball on the floor. I told them (Longhorns) Kansas had a good team. I guess nobody believed me."
Moore liked the atmosphere. "You put this many people in Allen Fieldhouse and they get swallowed up," Moore said. The new Horejsi Center seats 1,300 for volleyball. "It's great for KU."
Now the Jayhawks plan on winning some big matches at home before the careers of seniors Reves, Albrecht, Anne Kreimer, Kristi Kiyabu and Tori Holtmeier end.
"It's a sight of where I want to be competing before I leave here, a glimpse," Reves said. "It's a taste of it.
"It takes a lot of work to know and feel like you believe when you haven't the last four years. This gives us a huge amount of motivation and confidence to keep working harder so we can play that way three games or five games."
"On the first day of practice we talked about, 'How long can we play well?''' Bechard said. "Right now Texas can play pretty well a couple hours. That's what we're striving for."
Also for KU, Molly LaMere totaled 50 assists and seven kills, while Albrecht had 12 digs.
KU travels to Missouri on Saturday for a 2 p.m. match. The Jayhawks are hoping Geronymo will be able to play. The junior standout out of Barton County CC sprained an ankle late in the match.
-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org