Volleyball vs. West Virginia

Sophomore middle blocker Rachel Langs celebrates with her teammates after winning a point against West Virginia in the fifth set. Kansas defeated West Virginia 3-2 Thursday, Oct. 10.

Kansas volleyball defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 3-2 at home Thursday in the Jayhawks' first conference win of the season.

Looking to put an end to their seven-game losing streak, the Jayhawks came out with an agenda — to come out strong at the net with blocking and attacking.

With the help of freshman outside hitter Morgan Christon and sophomore middle blocker Rachel Langs, they did just that. The first set started out with a dominant 4-0 run for Kansas, which was followed by some ensuing runs from West Virginia to keep it close.

The Mountaineers even got it to 16-15 before the Jayhawks pulled away for good. With four kills from Christon and four blocks from Langs, Kansas grabbed the first set, 25-20. 

The Jayhawks, coming off the relief of winning an impressive first set, went into the second set riding high. The Mountaineers weren’t going to let them have it easy, though, as they started out in a 7-7 tie in the second set.

West Virginia took a 17-15 lead, stemming from a 7-0 run. After errors in critical moments for Kansas, West Virginia took advantage and capitalized. The Mountaineers took it to Kansas, killing its first set momentum with a 25-20 second set victory.  

Junior setter Sara Nielsen was injured early in the third set. Nielsen dove into the scores' table headfirst, causing a stoppage of play. Nielsen eventually returned to the game later that set.

This injury sparked a momentum change favoring Kansas. The Jayhawks took a 12-6 lead after Nielsen’s injury, and they never looked back. Kansas won the third set in commanding fashion, showcasing a final set score of 25-15.  

The fourth set was a complete flip of the third set. The Mountaineers came in hot with a 6-1 lead, forcing Kansas to call a timeout. Plagued by attack errors, the Jayhawks couldn’t seem to get any runs started in the set.

West Virginia jumped out to 12-3 lead before Kansas could start competing in the set. Down 20-8 in the set, the Jayhawks battled back to a 24-17 deficit. After a dominant showing at the net for West Virginia, the Mountaineers took the fourth set 25-17.  

In the final best-to-15 set, the Jayhawks gave it all they had. After West Virginia's dominant fourth set, the game was its to lose. The Mountaineers opened up hot, leading 6-2, but Kansas came back to tie it up at nine. The set was a point-for-point battle until the very end, resulting in 15-13 win for Kansas.  

Impressive play by Christon and sophomore outside hitter Camryn Ennis was the highlight of the night for Kansas. Ennis led the team in kills, followed by Christon and redshirt senior outside hitter Ashley Smith. The trio combined for 38 kills in the game. 

Up next, Kansas will hit the road to take on Texas Tech. The match is set for 6 p.m. on Oct. 16.