Archive for Sunday, September 26, 2004

KU volleyball ‘run over’

September 26, 2004

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Kansas University volleyball coach Ray Bechard summed up his squad's 3-0 drubbing at the hands of No. 22 Texas in four short words.

"We got run over," a somber Bechard said after watching his Jayhawks look more like clay pigeons and less like the 21st-ranked team in the country against Texas' big hitters.

The Longhorns (11-0 overall, 3-0 Big 12 Conference) won all three games, 30-24, 30-20 and 30-15, Saturday night at Horejsi Center. They made big runs early and made sure Kansas never had a chance to rally. They outblocked KU, 11-6, held a 7-0 edge on aces and whacked a blistering .359 hitting percentage to a chilly .099 mark by Kansas.

The Jayhawks (10-2, 1-2) led just once all night, at 1-0 in game three, but that lasted only seconds.

"They just outplayed us in all phases," Bechard said, "and that's a tough lesson to take, but that's what we've got to deal with and move on."

Making matters worse for Kansas was that it played shorthanded again. Senior outside hitter Lindsey Morris is out indefinitely with an apparent knee injury. Sophomore outside hitter Jana Correa didn't play, either, and continued to rest an undisclosed injury. Both could have made a difference in the match, although probably not enough of an impact to alter the result.

Texas simply was too imposing.

Game one was close early, but after KU pulled within 6-5 on a Josi Lima kill, Texas blew the game open with an 11-6 run. UT maintained a comfortable seven-point most of the way after that, and the closest Kansas ever came to pulling even was at 26-22.

Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, it wouldn't get any prettier.

Texas opened game two on a 6-1 run, and Kansas never responded. Senior outside hitter Mira Topic and senior middle blocker Bethany Howden pounded kill after kill and paired together or with outside hitter Dariam Acevedo for blocks time after time and stuffed KU's attempts.

That seemed to wear on the Jayhawks mentally, and they appeared to lose focus. The UT lead ballooned to 27-14 before a flurry of kills by KU junior outside hitter Paula Caten made the score more respectable at 30-20.

"Each ball is a point, and we have to think about that," said Caten, who led Kansas with 11 kills. "I think we didn't do that today, think about each ball as a point, and we have to do that over and over and try to win each ball."

It was more of the same following intermission. Texas walloped more kills, and the Jayhawks seemed worn down and out of it mentally. UT used a 7-1 run to turn a tight 10-7 lead into a blowout.

"It's one of those deals where you wait for something to change or get better, and we ran out of games before it did," Bechard said. "That's the disappointing part, that we let them get on pretty substantial runs in each and every game. Against a team like that -- who is underrated by the way; that's probably a top-10 team pretty easily -- you just can't let that happen."

Kansas doesn't have much time to dwell on its loss. It plays host to No. 7 Nebraska at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

"You can go two ways with this thing," Bechard said. "You can come fighting back, or you can have a little bit of an emotional, physical hangover from something like this. Obviously we can't afford for that to happen."

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