Shockers Fall Short Against #22 Jayhawks

WICHITA, Kan. — Wichita State battled back from a 2-0 deficit to take set three and a lead deep into set four, but #22 Kansas held on for a 25-22, 25-19, 22-25, 25-23 win on Thursday night at Charles Koch Arena.
The Jayhawks (4-1) got a combined 39 kills from Reagan Cooper and Ayah Elnady, while the Shockers (3-3) got 14 terminations from Sophia Rohling and 10 apiece from Morgan Weber and Natalie Foster. Kansas out-hit the Shockers just .206 to .196, but racked up six aces to just one for Wichita State.

In the final frame, Wichita State led 18-17 following a kill from Morgan Stout, one of five for her in the fourth set. But the Jayhawks strung together three consecutive points to take a 20-18 lead they would hold the rest of the way. Trailing 24-21, the Shockers fought off two match points thanks to kills from Rohling and Weber, but Cooper powered home her 21st kill on the succeeding point to clinch the win for Kansas.

Wichita State got off to a slow start, falling into a quick 13-6 hole early in the opening set. But a 6-1 run midway through the frame, highlighted by two Rohling kills and a Weber block, pulled the Shockers within 19-15. Kansas restored the cushion to 22-15 with three straight, but the Shockers rattled off six in a row to cut the Kansas lead to 22-21 following a trio of blocks from Emerson Wilford. After trading points to reach 23-22, Kansas put the set away with a kill from London Davis and a WSU attack error.

Kansas gradually extended an early lead in the second set, building a 17-12 advantage despite not putting together more than three consecutive points. Wichita State’s final surge cut the deficit to 20-18 on a Weber kill, but Elnady had the answer for Kansas with a kill and an ace to give the Jayhawks a 2-0 advantage heading to the intermission.

The Shockers found their footing in the third set, hitting .212 while taking advantage of five Kansas serve errors to fend off a late Jayhawks charge. WSU led 19-16 after Barbara Koehler put away her second kill of the set, but Kansas fired back with three in a row to even the score at 19-apiece. Foster and Weber put Wichita State back in command with consecutive kills for a 21-19 lead, and a pair of Kansas serve errors plus a Cooper attack error helped the Shockers force a fourth set.

Wichita State had 10.0 blocks to 7.0 for Kansas, and out-paced the Jayhawks in digs, 64-63. Gabi Maas led the Shockers with 18 pick ups, while Annalie Heliste joined her in double-figures with 10. Rohling set a career high for a second straight match, racking up nine digs to match Weber’s total.

The Shockers are back in action on Saturday night against Colorado. First serve from Charles Koch Arena is scheduled for 7:00 pm.