- #4 Kansas Defeats TCU (21-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-17)
- Team’s Record: Kansas (23-2, 12-1 Big 12), TCU (11-12, 4-9 Big 12)
- Schedules: Kansas here, TCU here
The No. 4-ranked Kansas Jayhawks dropped their first set against the Texas Christian Horned Frogs, but regrouped for a strong four-set victory. The win keeps Kansas’s streaks alive (11 consecutive matches, 15 consecutive home matches).
The win was also a benchmark for the collegiate careers of Kansas seniors Tayler Soucie, Cassie Wait and Maggie Anderson. It was their 100th career win, bringing their career record, thus far, to 100-22.
The Jayhawks smothered TCU with their defense. The team combined for 14 blocks and 72 digs. Individually, Soucie contributed 11 block-assists and Wait recorded 30 digs. Soucie has more than 500 career blocks, making her just the third Jayhawk to reach the mark.
Madison Rigdon led the match in kills and notched a double-double for Kansas (20 kills, 11 digs), and was aided by setter Ainise Havili, who had 50 assists.
For the Horned Frogs, Natalie Gower had a great match, hitting 11 kills with zero errors for a .379 attack percentage. She was followed by Anna Walsh and Sarita Mikals, who each recorded 9 kills. Defensively, Jillian Bergerson had a career-high 29 kills, just one shy of match leader Wait from Kansas.
Looking ahead, Kansas visits West Virginia this Wednesday, November 16th, to face the Mountaineers at 6 p.m. (CT). TCU, meanwhile, will host in-state rival Baylor, also on Wednesday, at 7 p.m.
Courtesy of Kansas Athletics:
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Fourth-ranked Kansas volleyball put on a defensive clinic, featuring 14 blocks and 72 digs, on the way to a four-set win over TCU (21-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-17) on Saturday evening inside a soldout Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
Kansas (23-2, 12-1 Big 12) improves its overall winning streak to 11 matches while extending its home-court winning streak to 15 matches.
Following KU’s 25-21 first-set loss, the Kansas defense held TCU to a combined .103 hitting percentage in the final three sets, including a .053 clip in the fourth set.
“After the first set, defensively I thought that we took over more and more as the match went on,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “You can see with 14 blocks and 72 digs; Soucie with 11 block-assists and Wait with 30 digs – those two dominated the match defensively. Offensively we got better as the match went on too – .289 is a good number in the Big 12.”
Senior middle blocker Tayler Soucie, who was recognized before the match as third Jayhawk to reach 500 career blocks, continued with her feverish pace by recording a season-high 11 blocks, adding nine kills on a .348 hitting percentage. Senior libero Cassie Wait recorded 30 digs for her second-career 30-dig output in a four-set match.
Junior outside hitter Madison Rigdon also recovered from a slow start to the night, finishing with a match-high 20 kills and 11 digs for her ninth double-double of the season. Rigdon poured in seven kills on 11 errorless swings in the fourth set to power the Jayhawks’ offense to victory.
“We really benefited from Rigdon mixing up her shots and angles as the match went on,” Bechard said. “Most of her 20 kills came in the last three sets. For an outside hitter to hit .395 with 43 swings and three errors — that’s outstanding.”
Junior All-American setter Ainise Havili smoothing guided the Jayhawks to an efficient finish with 50 assists – her third-straight 50-assist match. Havili contributed 17 digs and five blocks to KU’s stout defensive effort.
The Jayhawks also moved into sole possession of first place in the Big 12 standings after No. 5 Texas lost at Iowa State in five sets on Saturday evening. Kansas needs two more wins in the last three regular-season contests of the season to claim its first-ever Big 12 title.
TCU (11-12, 4-9), which entered the week with a No. 29 ranking in the NCAA RPI, was led by 11 kills from Natalie Gower.
100 WINS FOR SENIOR CLASS
Seniors Maggie Anderson, Tayler Soucie and Cassie Wait celebrated their 100th win as a group on Saturday. In their four-year playing careers at Kansas, the tremendous trio boasts a 100-22 record (.820), including a 53-5 record (.914) since 2015.
Kansas leads the all-time series with TCU, 9-2, including a 9-1 mark during Big 12 Conference regular season play. Kansas has won the last four matches against the Horned Frogs.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Kansas is on a 15-match home winning streak, including a 11-0 record this season, and is 32-1 in the last 33 matches inside Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
KU’s 11-match winning streak is the second winning streak of the season lasting 10 matches or longer. The 2016 season is the first in program history the Jayhawks have had two winning streaks of 10 matches or more. The winning streak also ties for the third-longest in program history with an 11-match winning streak in 1992.
With Saturday’s win over TCU, Kansas at least clinched a share of second place in the Big 12 standings. Kansas has finished with at least a tie in the Big 12 standings in the last four seasons. The Jayhawks have a chance to capture its first-ever Big 12 title by winning two of the remaining three matches of the regular season.
Winning the first set is always nice – Kansas is 18-0 this season when doing so. But the Jayhawks have also found success when losing the first set. Kansas has lost the first set in six Big 12 matches but has rallied to win five of those matches – against Baylor (Oct. 1), at Iowa State (Oct. 5), against No. 2 Texas (Oct. 29), at Oklahoma (Nov. 5), and against TCU (Saturday).
Kansas visits West Virginia on Wednesday, Nov. 16 for a 6 p.m. Central time first serve against the Mountaineers.
Courtesy of TCU Athletics:
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Despite a victory in the first set, the TCU volleyball team could not hold on as they lost a tough battle to No. 4 Kansas 3-1 (21-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-17) on Saturday night inside the Horejsi Family Athletics Center in Lawrence, Kan.
The Horned Frogs (11-12, 4-9 Big 12) and the Jayhawks (23-2, 12-1 Big 12) went toe-to-toe to open the match but a kill by Regan McGuire at 16-16 sparked a 5-2 run that put TCU firmly in control to take the set 25-21. Early runs by Kansas in the next two sets gave them the momentum to go up 2-1 before another point battle ensued in the fourth set. The Frogs were within one, but a 9-3 run by the Jayhawks closed out the match in their favor as they scored the win.
Natalie Gower led the team for the fifth time this season with 11 kills with Sarita Mkals and Anna Walsh chipping in nine kills in the match. Jillian Bergeson picked up a season- and career-high 29 digs in the match, while Ashley Smith was good for 11 digs. Lamprini Konstantinidou and Kaylee Smith each served up an ace in the match as TCU did not allow the Kansas, the conference leader in service aces per set, to score one for the first time this season.
Stat of the Match
14 – The number of matches Natalie Gower has hit above .300 in this season. Gower led the team with 11 kills in the match against Kansas and had zero errors for a .379 hitting clip. It also marks the third match in a row she has hit above .300.
Quotes of the Match
TCU Director of Volleyball Jill Kramer
“Our team came out and battled really hard with a great Kansas team. The first set, it was really tight and Kansas even got up a bit but we really battled. Our floor defense was really good. In the next few sets after that, we just had a difficult time siding out. They attacked us a little different serving and we needed to adjust a little bit quicker. Defensively though, our effort was there and blocking wise it was a little bit different for us. We didn’t block as many balls as normal and didn’t even slow down as many balls as normal. I will say that I thought our floor defense really did a good job behind the block. That was really one of the highlights – our floor defense and the effort that we had there.”
-TCU falls to 11-12 overall this season, 2-8 in away matches and 4-9 against conference opponents in 2016
-With the win, Kansas gets victory No. 9 in the overall series and has the advantage at 9-2 against TCU
-Natalie Gower paced the team offensively with 11 kills marking the fifth time this season she has led the team and sixth time scoring double-digit kills
-Gower also hit above .300 for the third straight match with a .379 hitting clip and the 44th match in her career
-Jillian Bergeson donned the libero jersey for the second straight match and finished with a team-best 29 digs which is all a season- and career-high for the senior
-Bergeson finished with double-digit digs for the 15th time this season and 68th time in her career
-Ashley Smith recorded double-digit digs for the ninth time this season and 46th time in her career with 11 in the match
-TCU scored more service aces than its opponent for the 12th time this season
TCU will return to the The Rickel for one of its final two home matches as they welcome Baylor for a showdown on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m., live on FOX Sports Southwest Plus. The match has been deemed a “purple out” with the first 1,000 fans in attendance receiving a free purple t-shirt.