MANHATTAN, Kan. – In the first road Big 12 match of the season, the Kansas volleyball team defeated in-state rival Kansas State 3-2 (25-19, 25-23, 20-25, 20-25, 15-7) in the Dillons Sunflower Showdown at Bramlage Coliseum on September 24.
Kansas advances to an overall record of 11-3 (1-1 Big 12) while K-State drops to 9-5 (0-1 Big 12).
“I thought we played pretty well in the beginning and then K-State really picked up,” stated head coach Ray Bechard. “In the fifth set, we did a lot of things right and the ball fell our way.”
Junior Kennedy Farris kicked off the match with a kill followed by a kill from redshirt freshman Ayah Elnady to advance KU 2-0. Sophomore London Davis took the Jayhawks to the next level by putting the ball past the Wildcats for a Jayhawk kill. A double block by Elnady and super-senior Rachel Langs moved KU to a 5-1 lead. K-State was able to tie the set up at five, but a service error allowed Kansas to regain the lead 6-5. The Wildcats took the lead 11-9 after blocking sophomore Caroline Bien. A kill by Davis forced a K-State timeout with the Jayhawks ahead 13-11. Coming back from the timeout, Davis added another kill to her tally, moving Kansas to 14-11. The Jayhawk defense continued to shut down K-State as sophomore Camryn Turner and graduate transfer Lauren Dooley blocked the Wildcats, taking the Jayhawks to 24-16. K-State attempted a comeback, but Bien closed out the set 25-19.
K-State began set two with a 2-0 run. A service error allowed Kansas to be on the board 2-1. The Jayhawks and Wildcats remained close with numerous ties in the set. The Wildcats were ahead 11-8 before Kansas called a timeout to regroup. K-State went on a 7-0 run before super-senior Anezka Szabo and Dooley blocked K-State’s attempt for a kill. Bien began closing the gap with a kill and moving Kansas to 15-12. Langs and Szabo rejected the Wildcats offense to put Kansas within one 19-18. An attack error by the ‘Cats tied up the set at 20. The Jayhawks took the lead 22-21 after a service ace by Turner. A kill by Davis finally shut down set two 25-23.
The third set began with a 4-2 Wildcat advantage. After back-to-back kills by K-State, Kansas called for a timeout, 11-7. Coming out of the timeout, Davis put down the ball to move the Jayhawks on the board 11-8. The Wildcats had a 14-11 lead before Bien got a kill of her own, 14-12. Back-to-back kills by Langs put KU back into the match 17-14. Turner set the ball to Dooley for a Kansas point, advancing the Jayhawks to 19-17. Two errors by K-State and a kill by Davis tied up set three 20-20, forcing the Wildcats to call for a timeout. K-State was too strong as they took set three 25-20.
The Wildcats came out strong, but an error tied up the set 4-4. After K-State went on a 4-0 scoring run, the Jayhawks called a timeout to slow them down. A tough rally between Kansas and K-State ended with a strong kill by Elnady. Dooley kept the Jayhawk offense going to responding with a kill of her own to make the score 10-7. Coming out of the timeout, Davis helped the Jayhawks to a side out point with a kill. The momentum from Kansas was short lived as K-State closed out set four, 25-20.
For the second match in a row, the Jayhawks found themselves playing to a fifth set. A blocking error by K-State put Kansas on the board first 1-0. Right after, Dooley collected a solo block for herself to edge K-State. A kill by Elnady and an assist by Turner took Kansas to 5-1. KU had the lead in the beginning and never slowed down. Davis took home the win for Kansas 15-7.
- Sophomore London Davis led the Jayhawk offense with a career-high 21 kills, hitting .647.
- Sophomore Camryn Turner recorded a double-double with 41 assists and 16 digs.
- Junior Kennedy Farris also had a double-double with 17 digs and 11 assists.
“I think we played cleaner,” said Bechard. “Our blocking was more organized and pretty error-free in that fifth set. We built a little lead in the fifth set and I think that relaxed us and gave us a little more competitive confidence.”
Kansas will remain on the road as they take on the Oklahoma Sooners on September 28 in McCasland Field House at 6 p.m. CT in Norman, Oklahoma. The match will be streamed on SoonerVision on ESPN+.