Fayetteville, Ark. Kansas University’s volleyball team suffered a four-set loss to Arkansas in the championship match of the Arkansas Invitational on Saturday at Barnhill Arena.
Earlier Saturday, the Jayhawks claimed a sweep of UT-Martin.
Against UA, Kansas (2-1) dominated the first set and forced set-point in sets two and three, but Arkansas — bolstered by a crowd of over 1,200 fans — rallied.
“Anytime you can get a team down, 2-0, or even 2-1, when you’re on the road, obviously that’s going to be helpful,” KU coach Ray Bechard said. “But once they were able to come back in two and three, it became a little too much to overcome. There was some really high-level volleyball, but the disappointment is that we did have opportunities in games two and three. If we don’t learn from that, we’re going to be in that situation a bunch in the league that we play in.”
Sara McClinton had 16 kills and Catherine Carmichael 14 for KU.
Senior Tayler Tolefree again came with a strong hitting percentage in the final match of the tournament, leading the floor with a .368 average (8-for-19) in addition to her team-high eight blocks. Despite the loss, Kansas hit for a better average, connected on more aces and out-blocked the Razorbacks by a sizable margin, 16-5.
For their consistent blocking and scoring performances over the weekend, both Tolefree and fourth-year junior Caroline Jarmoc were named to the all-tournament team. Junior libero Brianne Riley ended the match with a season-high 26 digs, giving her 66 for the weekend. Her 6.60 digs per set mark earned her Libero of the Tournament honors.
The Jayhawks also outdid the Razorbacks in service errors, committing 11 to UA’s eight.
“We also had four aces to offset those errors, but really it was the timing of those errors more than anything,” Bechard said. “Overall our left sides did a nice job as did our middles, but it’s the first weekend out. We will be tough to defend. The disappointment lies in that we felt like we outplayed a team that came away with the win.”
Against UT-Martin, Jarmoc led KU with 13 kills, and four Jayhawks had nine apiece.
Kansas will start a seven-match home stand on Friday.