Faced with a deficit in the fifth set, Kansas managed to tackle its adversity and come back in its victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers. The Jayhawks beat West Virginia 3-2 to cease its seven-game losing streak and give them its first win in conference play.
“We put in a good week’s work, and we think that practices leading to this kind of reflected the execution,” Coach Ray Bechard said.
Kansas has struggled closing out matches all season. The Jayhawks go back and forth with teams time after time but seem to always fail to seal the deal.
In the fifth set, Kansas was trailing 3-0, and that turned into a 6-2 deficit. After being crushed in the fourth set, it felt like Kansas had lost all hope, and West Virginia would walk away victorious.
However, Kansas never let up and continued to fight back. The Jayhawks tied it 7-7, but then the Mountaineers challenged a call and got an 8-6 lead.
"We jumped right back in and got it to [8-7]," Bechard said. "We responded pretty well when we needed to."
The set went back and forth from that point on — each time one side would score, the other side responded. But then a flip switched in the mind of Kansas, and it rallied a couple points to give itself its first lead since the 25-15 lead at the end of the third set.
The Jayhawks took over 13-12, and that momentum was just enough to push Kansas forward. The Jayhawks finished it off 15-13 and for the first time in a very long time, Kansas executed and closed out.
“They’ve got a little more competitive confidence, and we’ve seen that in the last couple practices,” Bechard said. “We’ll keep working in the right direction.”
It was the fourth set that changed the entire attitude of the match. Kansas held a 2-1 set lead, but West Virginia would not go down without a fight.
The Mountaineers raced out to a 10-2 lead and seemingly had already won the set. However, Kansas continued to fight, despite eventually losing the set, and played through until the end.
Bechard credited the fight of Kansas in the fourth set to the eventual victory for the Jayhawks.
That fight and energy at the end is what pulled the Jayhawks through. Despite all the adversity it was faced with, Kansas learned to execute and play through until the last second, and that was all it took for the Jayhawks to walk away victorious.