She gritted her teeth, pursed her lips and after Montana's Teresa Stringer served the ball, Rome set up under a Molly LaMere pass, jumped and hit the ball so hard it knocked a Grizzly on her backside.
The Jayhawks (7-0) beat Montana (2-4) in four games, 30-16, 21-30, 30-19,30-24, in the Hampton Inn-Jayhawk Classic on Friday at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center. Earlier, they beat Georgia Southern (3-3) 30-22, 30-20, 30-22.
After the Montana match, Rome, a sophomore outside hitter, had little to say about her play. Rome recorded a career-high 20 kills, but all she did was shrug her shoulders and whisper that she didn't know how many kills she totaled.
"Sarah stepped up and played well," coach Ray Bechard said. "Montana was keying on Dani (McHenry), and (Rome) did a good job of making up for it."
Molly Scavuzzo helped Kansas with 14 kills and a .250 attack percentage, while setter LaMere tallied 45 assists -- nine more than the entire Montana team.
"Every game Molly plays well," he said. "She doesn't always get recognized, but she is there every game."
Like Rome, LaMere was more than willing to defer affirmation for her play.
"Our passes were doing awesome tonight," LaMere, the team's only senior, said. "They did a good job blocking the other team and keeping check of their middle blockers."
When LaMere wasn't passing the ball to Rome and Scavuzzo to hit over the net, defensive specialist Jennifer Kraft was serving the ball to near perfection. The junior served six aces during the match, three of which came on one turn at the service line.
"Jennifer Kraft, as much as anybody on the team, provided a spark to help us win," Bechard said. "The six aces and all the defensive digs she had were very important to us."
Kansas finished with a .245 attack percentage and 11 service aces to seven service errors, something Bechard said he was happy with.
"That attack percentage is very acceptable, especially once we get into Big 12," he said. "The 11 aces is really good. Anytime you can get 10 over 6 or better is great."
Kansas will face Portland (2-3) at 3 p.m. today at the Horejsi Center.