- #9 Kansas def. #14 Kentucky 3-0, (25-23 25-20, 25-20)
- Lawrence, Kansas
- Horejsi Family Athletics Center
- Attendance: 1,302
- Match Stats
#9 Kansas picks up Labor Day win over #14 Kentucky in top-15 match up to start 2017 with a 7-0 record.
The first set of the match saw the Jayhawks trailing the Wildcats until late, with a number of errors riddling the Kansas side. Kentucky stayed ahead by two or three points until Kansas got the score tied up at 17-17, taking the lead on a Kelsie Payne kill. The Wildcats held off three set points until Ainise Havili put down a kills to end the first set 25-23.
The second set began much the same as the first, but Kansas was able to recover quickly to tie things up at 7-7 before taking a 9-7 lead off Taylor Alexander and Jada Burse kills. They continued to grow their lead before a Kaz Brown attack error ended the second set 25-20.
The third set was close until Kansas pulled away ay 14-11 following a Payne kill. The Jayhawks continued to chip away at the set, finishing with Payne and Madison Rigdon kills at 25-20.
Kansas led the match in almost every statistical category, including 50-39 in kills and 39-31 in digs.
Rigdon led the way for the Jayhawks with 16 kills and seven digs while Payne chipped in another 14 kills and two blocks. Havili dished out 40 assists and eight digs while Allie Nelson picked up a match-best 10 digs.
For Kentucky, Avery Skinner put down 14 kills while Leah Edmond added another nine.
Courtesy of Kansas Athletics
Seventh-ranked Kansas volleyball swept 13th-ranked Kentucky in a home opener to remember at Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Labor Day Monday (25-23, 25-20, 25-20).
Playing in front of a sold-out crowd, the Jayhawks (7-0) improved to 19-1 in home openers under head coach Ray Bechardafter recording an eye-popping .390 hitting percentage. It KU’s highest hitting percentage since recording a .390 clip in a straight-set win over Baylor on Oct. 31, 2015.
Senior All-American outside hitter Madison Rigdon led Kansas with 16 kills on a career-high .577 hitting percentage while adding seven digs. Senior All-American right-side hitter Kelsie Payne wasn’t far behind with 14 kills on a .462 clip and two blocks.
“Obviously, the thing that really stands out is hitting .390 – that’s a really good number against a team like Kentucky,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “Rigdon was outstanding, Payne was outstanding. But you know, Kentucky has weapons of their own. They’re going to have a great, great year. I thought we just got enough done defensively to make a difference converting some balls. Havili had a huge momentum play in the first set when she pushed back and got that down. I thought from there we kind of controlled things a little bit.”
Havili, a senior All-American setter who finished with 40 assists and eight digs on Monday, gave the Jayhawks a boost to help secure a 25-23 first-set win. Early in the first, Kansas fell behind, 8-4, but kept chipping away at UK’s lead behind six first-set kills from Rigdon. Eventually a 7-2 run gave KU a 20-17 lead and Kentucky’s fifth service error of the set gave KU set point, 24-20. Kentucky make a late push though, forcing four KU set points before Havili won a joust at the middle of the net to clinch KU’s first-set triumph.
Kansas and Kentucky traded runs in the second to set up a 25-20 decision for KU. Immediately following a 4-0 Kentucky run, Kansas responded with a 6-0 run of its own to 9-7 lead and force a UK timeout. The Jayhawks would not surrender their lead for the remainder of the second set as senior middle blocker Taylor Alexander and sophomore outside hitter Jada Burse each scored four kills to lead the second-set offense.
KU’s offense was firing on all cylinders to clinch the sweep with a 25-20 third-set victory. The Jayhawks totaled 20 kills on a .417 hitting percentage in the third set, led by seven kills each from Payne and Rigdon.
Kentucky falls to 5-2 after a pair of road losses to top-10 teams in the last three days. The Wildcats were led by 14 kills from Avery Skinner and 33 assists from Kansas City native Madison Lilley.
Kansas improves to 3-1 against top-25 nonconference teams at home since 2012.
The Kansas Invitational (Sept. 8-9) kicks off with Ohio Valley Conference preseason favorite Belmont on Friday, Sept. 8, followed by No. 21 Purdue later that night. The event concludes with a top-10 matchup between the ninth-ranked Jayhawks and No. 8 Creighton on Saturday night.
During Monday’s match, the AVCA Coaches Poll was updated. The undefeated Jayhawks moved up from No. 9 to No. 7 in the latest rankings, while Kentucky remained at No. 13. View the latest poll here.
Head Coach Ray Bechard
Obviously, the thing that really stands out is hitting .390 – that’s a really good number against a team like Kentucky. We’re hitting about .270 for the year. If you look at Kelsie and Madison – 30 kills in three days. Rigdon was outstanding, Payne was outstanding. But you know, Kentucky has weapons of their own. They’re going to have a great, great year. I thought we just got enough done defensively to make a difference converting some balls. Havili had a huge momentum play in the first set when she pushed back and got that down. I thought from there we kind of controlled things a little bit.
On Ainise Havili‘s performance against Kentucky:
First and foremost, we’ve got a great setter. She spread it around just enough. Taylor Alexander got six kills in two sets, and Rigdon and Payne handled their duties. Jada [Burse] got off to a slow start but got things going, too. We got good attackers but we’ve got a good setter that puts them in that really good position.
On Kelsie Payne‘s versatility and performance:
We can move her around, so she’s hard to scout and we can get the match up we want with her. Once again, 14 kills on two errors, we’ll take that anytime.
On getting win at beginning of busy week:
Certainly this will allow for some momentum going into this week. Belmont’s going to be excited to play, they have local players; Purdue is undefeated; Creighton is top-10. There’s a lot to prepare for.
On Allie Nelson growing into Cassie Wait‘s role:
She’s doing great. She’s going to have her moments where she’ll stub her toe, but she’s a high level communicator. She’s a great teammate and she works her butt off. She’s in the gym more than anybody and all those things together will create a great result for her.
Senior RS Kelsie Payne
On Madison Rigdon‘s role during the match:
“Huge, yeah that’s huge, she’s always a consistent player so for her come out like that started that spark that I was talking about, it was like okay were going now so it was really good for her”
On momentum of beating a top-15 team:
“Yeah it’s huge, this was a really big game and coming in this is important for RPI and all that stuff and to be able to play a really good team it’s good for us to learn more about ourselves, this is a really big win for us”
Senior OH Madison Rigdon
On biggest difference in the last two matches:
“I think we came together as a team and we really knew this team was going to be a good team to play and we stopped it and scouted really well I think and we just came together as a team and played really well”
On what learned from this match:
“We played as a team and there was no stopping us, we can control our side of the court and we know they’re a good team, they’re gonna do their kills but if we just think about our side we’re a really good team”
Courtesy of Kentucky Athletics
The No. 13 Kentucky volleyball team wrapped up its long-grueling road trip on Monday, falling to No. 7 Kansas, 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-20), inside the Horejsi Family Athletic Center on Monday afternoon. With the loss, the Cats fall to 5-2 on the year while Kansas improves to 7-0.
“I’m just disappoint defensively that we allowed Kansas to hit for such a high percentage,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “Give them credit, they didn’t make a ton of errors and put pressure on us. We have to do a better job with our serve, blocking and defense to neutralize an opponent like that. In saying that, we gave ourselves chances in the first set and had opportunities. It was a great match to help us prepare for the season.”
Kentucky will finish the road trip 2-2 which featured matchups against three ranked opponents, two top-10 foes and all four teams either ranked or receiving votes. It was the longest such streak of highly rated opponents in program history. UK earned wins over Northern Iowa and Southern California in the Bluejay Invitational. Kentucky will compete in its last non-conference tournament next weekend in Milwaukee when it faces Loyola (Chicago) and Marquette in the Marquette Invitational.
Freshman Avery Skinner concluded her impressive weekend with 14 kills on 25 attempts for a .400 attacking percentage. Both the kills and the percentage were team highs and the match was her third straight double-digit kill total. Sophomore Leah Edmond had nine kills for the Cats, while junior Brooke Morgan recorded eight on 15 attempts. Senior Emily Franklin had five terminations to aid the Wildcat cause.
Freshman Madison Lilley posted 33 assists and two digs. Classmate Gabby Curry had eight scoops and two helpers, while juniors Olivia Dailey and Merideth Jewell also recorded helpers. Jewell had her fourth match with five or more digs with seven, while junior McKenzie Watson posted five of her own.
At the net, Franklin recorded two assists. Kaz Brown had a solo stuff, while Lilley and Darian Mackeach recorded one block assist.
Kentucky grabbed the first two points of the set with a Morgan kill and Jewell ace. Both teams traded points until 9-5, until KU rattled off three straight to cut the UK lead to 9-8. Play seesawed once again until Kansas tied the set at 15 all thanks to an attacking error. The Jawhawks grabbed the lead after another attacking error and UK called timeout. Skinner earned a kill out of the timeout to even the score at 16-16. After swapping points, UK was forced to use its second timeout after another 3-0 KU run. Out of the timeout, Morgan earned a termination to stop the run. KU extended the advantage to 24-20 but back-to-back Skinner kills and a Franklin and Lilley stuff forced a Kansas timeout. KU won the set 25-23. Kentucky hit .257 in the first frame while Lilley had 14 assists.
Edmond had the first kill of the set and UK jumped out to an early 3-1 lead. KU tied the set, then UK pushed out four straight points with the help of a Brown kill and Edmond ace to give the Cats a 7-3 lead. Kansas went on a six-point run triggered by a service error to go up 9-7 and force a UK timeout. The Jayhawks extended its lead to five at 16-11, causing UK to use another timeout. Each team traded points until UK cut the lead to 22-19 after an Edmond kill, but UK could manage just one more point and Kansas won the set, 25-20. Edmond paced the Cats with five kills in the second set while Morgan and Skinner had four.
While Kansas picked up the first point of the set, UK jumped out to a 2-1 lead thanks to a Skinner kill and bad set. Kansas’ three-point run gave them a 6-4 advantage, but was ended with a service error. Kentucky hung around and tied the set at 9-9 after a Curry ace. Kansas edged back out to a 14-11 advantage before a Wildcat timeout. Out of the timeout, UK stopped the Kansas run with a termination from Skinner. Played went back-and-forth with Kansas up three until another three-point run put KU up 20-14. Kentucky was able to cut the lead to 23-20 after a Skinner kill, but Kansas won the set 25-20.
BY THE NUMBERS
.400 – Attacking percentages from Skinner and Morgan, both team highs
3 – Three-straight double-digit kill matches from Avery Skinner