For a match the Jayhawks needed to win to prove they’re back on track, there was no shying away from the challenge for them. In Saturday’s match, Kansas did just that, defeating the Texas Tech Red Raiders in four sets (25-19, 25-15, 25-19, 25-21).
Following the match, the Jayhawks picked up their 15th overall win and eighth win inside of Big 12 conference play this season. This win also marked the 17th straight victory for Kansas over Texas Tech, dating back to 2010, as well as a season sweep.
In the match’s opening set, Kansas would play fundamentally sound, leading to a 25-19 set win. Offensively, the attack was spread out with six different Jayhawks tallying a kill, with junior hitter Ashley Smith leading the way with three of her own.
On the other side of the net it was senior setter Gabby Simpson and junior middle blocker Mmachi Nwoke both having two blocks. Behind this defensive showing, they were able to hold the Texas Tech offense to a -.023 hitting percentage.
Nwoke finished the night with nine blocks, a team-high and career best for her.
“She’s working, she’s coming to the gym everyday and she is working," coach Ray Bechard said. “[Nwoke] only had three kills but had nine points on the block and that’s exactly what we need from her.”
To follow, the Jayhawks would win a controlled second set, taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the match. After jumping to a quick 15-5 lead, they wouldn’t look back, winning the second set by a score of 25-15.
Junior hitter Jada Burse would breakout this set, having four kills matched with only one error. Smith would also put together four kills in the second set, giving her a team-high of seven at the time. Defensively, the team continued to click by putting up another four blocks and 28 digs.
In the hiccup of a third set for Kansas, it would lose the set, and chance at a sweep, 25-19. This would be due to a monster offensive performance by Texas Tech, who totaled 18 kills on a .484 hitting percentage. Aside from the loss, Burse continued to be dominant, adding another five kills to her match.
During the match finale, the Jayhawks would win a back-and-forth set by a final score of 25-21. They would tally a match-high 16 kills in this set, led by Burse once again putting her at a final of 18 for the night, a match best.
For the Jayhawks, they’ll now have a week break before heading to Austin, Texas, to face the Big 12-leading Texas Longhorns on Nov. 10. First serve is set for 7 p.m.