- #9 Kansas def. Long Beach State, 3-1 (17-25, 25-19, 25-14, 25-23)
- Kansas moves to 5-0, Long Beach drops to 1-4
- Orem, Utah
- Box Score
OREM, Utah – In a four set battle on Friday afternoon, the #9 ranked Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Long Beach State 49ers (17-25, 25-19, 25-14, 25-23) on day two of the Wolverine Invitational at Lockhart arena. The two teams had met once before, when the Jayhawks swept the 49ers in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2003.
Set one went to the 49ers after they earned a 9-1 lead and held the Kansas offense to a .033 clip. The Jayhawks responded with solid wins in sets two and three, winning 25-19 and 25-14 respectively, hitting .469 in set three. Kansas clinched the win in a fourth set battle, 25-23.
Kelsie Payne, senior All-American outside hitter for Kansas, put away 20 kills for the third time this season, hitting .381. She has 97 kills and is hitting .377 on the season. Payne also added 3 blocks on the night. Madison Rigdon, yet another senior All-American outside hitter for the Jayhawks, had 17 kills along with 13 digs for her third double-double of the season. Megan Kruidhof tabbed an impressive 17 kills and .275 hitting percentage for Long Beach.
Defensively, Allie Nelson led the Jayhawks with 16 digs, while Hailey Harward contributed 14 for the 49ers. Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, Ainise Havili, recorded 14 digs of her own to go along with 52 assists for a double-double. Sophomore Zoe Hill accounted for 5 of the Jayhawks 14 blocks.
The Jayhawks continue to improve their winning percentage, which is the best in the nation since the start of the 2015 season. Both teams will continue play Saturday morning in the Wolverine Invitational.
Courtesy of Kansas Athletics
OREM, Utah – Ninth-ranked Kansas volleyball started slow, but eventually pulled away from Long Beach State in a four-set win Friday afternoon at Lockhart Arena on day two of the Wolverine Invitational (17-25, 25-19, 25-14, 25-23).
Senior All-American outside hitter Kelsie Payne led the Jayhawks with 20 kills – her third 20-kill performance this season – on a .381 hitting percentage. Senior All-American outside hitter Madison Rigdon contributed 17 kills and 13 digs for her third double-double of the season. Rigdon clinched the win for KU with a kill on match point which was nearly identical to her match-point kill against No. 1 USC in the 2015 NCAA Tournament regional finals.
Kansas (5-0) stammered to a .033 hitting percentage in the first set, but recovered with a combined .350 hitting clip in the last three sets. By the end of the match, the Jayhawks outpaced the 49ers (1-4) 64 to 46 in kills, including 20 in the fourth set alone, and 73 to 51 in digs.
“Long Beach was a lot more ready to play than we were,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “That’s on our staff, our coaches and our players to be more prepared. You can’t prepare for a team you see on video, you have to be prepared to face their best effort and that is certainly what we got. With that being said, we played extremely well in the last three sets and found out a little more the kind of team we want to be.”
Senior All-American setter Ainise Havili continued her consistent play of late, registering her fifth double-double off the season with 52 assists and 14 digs. Sophomore libero Allie Nelson recorded a match-high 16 digs.
Long Beach recorded three blocks in its first five points of the match to jump out to a 6-1 lead, forcing a KU timeout. The 49ers would come out of that timeout with an ace before taking a commanding 9-1 lead. KU’s first kill of the day was also the first-career kill from senior defensive specialist Tori Miller, who floated a service reception over the net, making the score 9-3.
Kansas would string together a handful of solid plays in the first set, but could not overcome a lackluster offensive start – .033 hitting percentage – and Long Beach’s side-out clip of 88 percent. The 49ers took the first set, 25-17.
Kansas would right the ship with a tone-setting 25-19 second-set win. The Jayhawks jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second after back-to-back blocks. Long Beach rallied to take a 10-7 lead, but that would be overcome as sophomores Jada Burse and Zoe Hill to give Kansas a 17-16 lead. The 49ers would tie the score two more times, but Kansas never relinquished its lead for the remainder of the second set. Senior middle blocker Taylor Alexander put the final touch on KU’s 25-19 second-set win with a kill on set point.
In the second set alone, Kansas had five blocks and Rigdon had six kills.
Payne carried the Jayhawks between the second and third sets. Since an 18-18 tie in the second set and KU’s 5-2 lead in the third, Payne poured in seven kills. KU would carry that momentum with 19 team kills on a .469 hitting percentage in the third set and 20 kills on a .357 hitting percentage in the fourth set.
Kansas improves to 2-0 against Long Beach State, the five-time national champions. The last time the teams met, the Jayhawks notched their first-ever NCAA Tournament win over the 49ers in straight-set fashion in the first round on Dec. 4, 2003.
Courtesy of Long Beach State Athletics
OREM, Utah – Battling a second Top 10 opponent this season, Long Beach State (1-4) did well against No. 9 Kansas (5-0) on Friday afternoon at the Wolverine Invitational. But after the Beach took the first set, the Jayhawks were able to come back for a 17-25, 25-19, 25-14, 25-23 win to deny the Long Beach upset bid.
Junior Megan Kruidhof led the Beach with a career-best 17 kills on a career-high 51 attempts. YiZhi Xue was second on the team with eight kills and a .571 hitting percentage and Hailey Harward paced the defense with 14 digs. Alexis Patterson dished out a season-best 36 assists, adding eight digs and six kills on .357 hitting.
Long Beach State got off to a terrific start in set one, jumping out to a 9-1 advantage. The Jayhawks contributed with four miscues in that run, and hit .000 in the first set with eight hitting errors. LBSU survived five service errors in the frame, and closed the set on consecutive aces from Emma Kirst to win comfortable, 25-17. Xue was in on all three of Long Beach State’s blocks in the set, and the team had an impressive sideout percentage of 88.
The Beach led 13-9 in the second set before Kansas made a run to bring things even. With the teams tied at 18-18, the Jayhawks scored three straight on a pair of kills and a block by Kelsie Payne. The senior finished with a match-high 20 kills on .381 hitting. The Jayhawks closed set two on a 7-1 run to even the match at the break.
LBSU fell behind 7-2 early in set three, and never got within three points the rest of the frame. Kansas hit a whopping .469 in the third game and LBSU had just eight digs as KU cruised to a 25-14 win to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Even with the Jayhawks having momentum, Long Beach State didn’t fade away in set four. Thanks to a pair of early kills by Patterson, LBSU took a 5-1 advantage early in the must-win set. The teams tied 12 times in set four and the lead changed six times. The teams were level at 22-all late in the set, before Kansas scored two straight for match point at 24-22. The Beach survived the first match point on a Kruidhof kill, but the Jayhawks put the match away on the next point. Payne had an impressive nine kills in set four alone to push the Jayhawks over the top, and Kruidhof had six to try to keep the Beach in it.
LBSU will look to salvage a win at the Wolverine Invitational on Saturday, taking on hosts Utah Valley at 11 a.m. PT. The match can be streamed for free on the WAC Digital Network.