A run-away, three-set victory over UMKC gives Kansas University’s volleyball team three victories in four matches heading into Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. showdown against No. 25-ranked Texas A&M in Horejsi Center.
“It’s a huge match. I guess it falls on Halloween. We’ll look forward to it. Hopefully we can trick ’em,” KU coach Ray Bechard said with a smile after Tuesday night’s 25-14, 25-16, 25-21 home rout of the Kangaroos.
“We just talked with the team about our next block of matches: A&M, at Colorado, (at) Oklahoma and K-State, how we can prepare for that. It’s what we look forward to.”
Tuesday, the Jayhawks (12-9 overall, 4-7 in Big 12) rolled in a tune-up to their match versus the Aggies (13-5, 6-4), who swept KU on Oct. 3 in College Station, Texas.
Nicole Tate recorded her second consecutive double-double (13 digs, 39 assists, with four kills) and ninth of the season. Melissa Grieb had a season-high 18 digs in her first match at libero. Morgan Boub had a career-best five digs.
Also, Allison Mayfield and Karina Garlington had 12 and 10 kills respectively.
“It was fun. There were a lot of long rallies,” Grieb said. She replaced Melissa Manda, whose back tightened up during warmups. “(I’m a) little worn out, but it’s a good experience.”
She’s looking forward to Saturday’s rematch with A&M.
“In the past (on Halloween), we’ve been at Baylor. Their fans dress up and get a little crazy, so we’ll see what happens here,” said Grieb, a senior out of Olathe South High School.
“I think it’ll be a fun time. There’s always extra competition when a ranked team comes into your house.”
Mayfield, who has led KU on offense in three of the last four outings, collected her 12 kills on a .333 attack percentage.
“I think it’s good to get some momentum, have this one under our belt,” said Mayfield, a sophomore out of Overland Park’s St. Thomas Aquinas High. “We had a tough loss on Saturday (versus Missouri) and a big match this coming Saturday against A&M.”
Bechard may have given the Aggies something to think about, using a new lineup that included hitters Mayfield, Garlington and Jenna Kaiser (four kills) at the same time.
“We hadn’t done it in a while and wanted to see what that looked like,” Bechard said. “I didn’t think it was great early on. They got comfortable, better as the game went on.”