K-State sweeps KU
Wildcats halt Jayhawks' home winning streak
Kansas University’s volleyball team knew something had to give.
It was Kansas State, though, that pushed a little harder.
KU, winner of its first eight home matches, couldn’t stop K-State’s road winning streak, losing in three games, 30-27, 30-25, 30-22, Wednesday in front of a sold-out crowd of 1,300 at Horejsi Center.
The Jayhawks (14-3 overall, 5-3 Big 12), though not overmatched, couldn’t manage to win a game. They suffered their third loss of the season, all by sweeps.
“It’s not that we played badly,” KU coach Ray Bechard said, “but I think we got in our own way a little bit tonight. We overcompensated and we didn’t trust our teammates a little bit.”
On paper, the match looked even. Both had identical conference records, both were just short of the AVCA national rankings. And the intensity of a rivalry matchup balanced the scale just a little more.
It was the Wildcats, though, that took advantage of Jayhawk blunders. K-State (10-6, 6-2) capitalized on several rallies and a .297 hitting percentage, to win their 15th in a row over Kansas, dating back to 1995.
“We thought this year was definitely a great opportunity to play K-State and win the in-state rivalry,” junior Abbie Jacobson said. “Tonight wasn’t our best night.”
Jacobson (10) and Sarah Rome (11) were the only two Jayhawks with double-digit kills. KU frequently had trouble penetrating K-State’s blocking game, posting just a .170 hitting percentage on the evening.
“Their blocking system was a little different,” Bechard said. “They bunch a little bit and they try to take the middle part of the court away from you. They effectively did that with some of our middles.”
Jacobson said it wasn’t the blocking that irritated her.
“It’s more frustrating that they were good out of transition,” she said. “When we blocked them, it wouldn’t end their play.”
Wednesday’s match started a stretch of three tough Big 12 matches for Kansas. They travel to No. 22 Missouri on Saturday, then tangle with No. 4 Nebraska next Tuesday.
“Our goals are still ahead of us,” Bechard said. “Obviously this was one of them, but we still got many, many goals ahead of us. I know Missouri isn’t going to feel sorry for us, so we’ll have to be ready for that challenge as well.”