Volleyball vs. Texas-16.jpg

Sophomore outside hitter Jada Burse attempts to hit the ball over to Texas on Wednesday, Oct. 11. The Jayhawks fell to the Longhorns 3-2.

Kansas volleyball will head to Austin, Texas, on Saturday to face the No. 5-ranked Texas Longhorns. The match is set for a 1 p.m. first serve in Gregory Gym.

This will be the second matchup of the season between the two leaders of the Big 12, a perfect opportunity for Kansas to narrow the deficit in the conference.

Coming into play, the Longhorns hold an 11-1 record in the conference with their only loss coming to the Jayhawks in Lawrence in October. As for the Jayhawks, they hold an 8-3 record in the Big 12 before this weekend.

Both teams will head into the match on high notes as Kansas is now the winner of two matches in a row after defeating West Virginia and Texas Tech, both in four sets. Likewise, Texas is riding a six-match winning streak, four of which ending in a sweep, meaning the team's last loss is at the hands of the Jayhawks. 

In the first meeting between these two squads, Kansas was able to control the match behind the strong offensive performance of junior hitter Jada Burse, who had a match-high 22 kills. Following her was fellow junior Ashley Smith with 17 of her own kills, the next highest mark in the match. 

Aside from those individual performances, the team as a whole performed at its top level, recording one of its highest offensive clips at a .294 hitting percentage. Also prevailing for the Jayhawks was their work defensively, tallying 61 digs and 8 blocks in the four sets. 

For the Jayhawks, as it has been all season, their defensive play will determine the match’s outcome. Especially against the power hitting Longhorns, who are coming from a .386 team hitting performance against Kansas State last Wednesday night. 

Another factor will be how the Longhorns look to defend Burse, who dominated in the first matchup and hasn’t slowed down since, after recording 22 and 18 kills in the team’s last two matches. 

On the other side of the net, it will be important for the Jayhawks to limit the potential damage done by senior Yaazie Bedart-Ghani, who has caught some momentum lately with 52 kills in the Longhorns last five matches. 

With a chance for Kansas to keep hopes for a Big 12 title in play, it will take another strong performance all the way around. 

The Jayhawks will also be playing for what would be their second season sweep of Texas in program history, the only other one coming a decade and a half ago in 2003.