volleyballvTCU

Senior libero Allie Nelson celebrates a point with the Jayhawks. Kansas defeated TCU 3-0 Saturday, Oct. 19.

After losing a nail biter to Texas Tech in its last game, Kansas volleyball redeemed itself with a victory over the TCU Horned Frogs. The Jayhawks swept TCU, but the Jayhawks were not the only ones redeeming themselves.

Freshman outside hitter Morgan Christon totaled only three kills against the Red Raiders and had a negative hitting percentage against the team.

“Youth, inconsistent and you got to ride it out,” Coach Ray Bechard said in response to her performance against Texas Tech.

Against the Horned Frogs however, she, alongside redshirt senior outside hitter Ashley Smith, led Kansas in kills and played a vital role in keeping Kansas competitive early.

“You’ve got to take some of those so-so moments with some of the good moments, and I thought [Christon] responded well today,” Bechard said.

Smith and Christon took the tide early in the match, combining for 17 kills through two sets. Against Texas Tech, the duo combined for a mere 13 kills through five sets.

“We thought [through the first two sets was] where the matchup for us would be,” Bechard said. “[Junior setter] Sara Nielsen ran a game plan just like we would want her to and created a good opportunity for those two [Christon and Smith].”

The presence of both Christon and Smith helped the Jayhawks take the early 2-0 lead, but the third set began a little different for the Jayhawks.

Down early in the third set, Christon was substituted back into the game and she quickly made her presence felt. The Jayhawks were trailing 4-3 when she entered back into action, then three of the next four Kansas points were scored by Christon and helped the Jayhawks tie it at 7-7.

“She’s trying to make good volleyball plays,” Bechard said. “She’s got enough confidence and courage as a freshman to make those plays.”

After Smith was substituted in for Christon, it was she who led the Jayhawks’ offense. In just a few short minutes, Smith tallied two kills and half of a block.

Partially because of the combo of Christon and Smith, the momentum shifted back into favor of the Jayhawks, and they completed the sweep over TCU. It was the first time Kansas has swept an opponent since early September.

In total, Christon and Smith combined for 24 kills and finished with a combined hitting percentage of .224.

Entering the game, there were four teams in the Big 12 with one win, two of which were Kansas and TCU. With the victory, Kansas pushed itself forward into sixth in the conference and will play its next game against another one-win conference opponent, the Kansas State Wildcats.

"It’s an in-state rival," Bechard said. "It’s always good have some bragging rights."

The Jayhawks will visit Manhattan Wednesday, Oct. 23. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.