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Archive for Sunday, November 7, 2004

KU earns much-needed win over Oklahoma

November 7, 2004

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Kansas University volleyball player Ashley Michaels said she was back to feeling 100 percent Saturday night after a trip to the chiropractor Friday helped her sore ribs.

The Jayhawks also looked healthier in their return to Horejsi Center after being swept on the road by rivals Kansas State and Missouri last week. Despite a slow start, they swept Oklahoma, 3-0.

"We were a little uneven in the first game, but we settled down and played well in Games 2 and 3," said KU coach Ray Bechard, whose squad improved to 14-9 overall and 5-9 in the Big 12 Conference with its 31-29, 30-20, 30-20 victory.

"We played much better in the second and third games, and I was really pleased with our defensive performance in Game 3. Our goal was to hold them under a .200 hitting efficiency, and we didn't do that at all in the first two games, but did a great job in Game 3."

The Jayhawks limited the Sooners to .031 hitting efficiency while tallying a .308 attack percentage to dispose of OU easily -- and possibly create the start of a momentum-building win streak with six conference games to go.

"I don't think it will really improve our confidence all that much because we already know that we can play well, but now we just have to do that every single night," said Michaels, who had been hindered by pain along her ribs during the last three games.

The senior showed she was feeling better, collecting 14 kills, five digs and two blocks.

Paula Caten's 15 kills led a balanced Jayhawk attack that featured four players who recorded double-digit kills. Josi Lima had 11, while fellow Brazilian Jana Correa added 10.

Early Saturday, it sure looked like a Jayhawk squad that can ill-afford any mistakes if it is going to make it back to the NCAA Tournament might be in for another struggle.

Oklahoma kept pace with Kansas point-for-point all the way through Game 1. Every time KU looked like it might close the match, OU responded.

That is, until Lima saw all six Sooners sneaking up front and placed a ball into the back row for the game-winning point.

"We've been a little slow lately at the start of matches," Lima said, "and once again that continued tonight. But the way we responded afterward, I think, could help spark us a little down the stretch."

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