Volleyball vs Baylor

Junior outside hitter Ashley Smith spikes the ball over the net while facing Baylor University. The Jayhawks won 3-1 on Oct. 6.

On Wednesday night, Kansas volleyball is set to take on conference foe West Virginia in its 10th Big 12 match this season. Coming into play, Kansas holds a 6-3 record, which is still a strong number despite dropping its last three matches. 

Unlike Kansas, the Mountaineers will begin the match with just a 2-7 record against Big 12 opponents, meaning that both sides are looking for a victory to get things back on track. 

In its most recent play, Kansas was swept down in Waco, Texas, at the hands of the Baylor Bears in straight sets (21-25, 21-25, 17-25). On the other side, West Virginia had a comeback win in four sets against Texas Tech this past week. 

In the teams' last meeting on Oct. 3, the two sides met in the midst of the Jayhawks nine-match winning streak, arguably when Kansas was at its peak this season. In that match, West Virginia jumped out to a quick two set to zero lead, only for Kansas to storm back and win the next three straight in dominant fashion to win the match 3-2. 

That match featured many big performances, including from the junior outside hitters Jada Burse and Ashley Smith, putting together 17 and 16 kills, respectively. During the match the offense would tally 58 kills, nearing a season-high.

Defensively, it was a show put on by junior middle blocker Zoe Hill tacking on nine blocks over the five sets of play, while the team had 13 blocks in total on the night. 

With the two squads entering play on opposite notes, it’ll be important for Kansas to get back to its old ways by playing aggressive defense at the net.

Over the last two matches, the Jayhawks have only managed to accumulate nine total blocks, with five coming against Iowa State and four against Baylor. These are the two lowest marks by the Jayhawks this season, also being only the fifth and sixth time they had single-digit blocks for a whole match.

Another point of emphasis for Kansas will be offensive efficiency, something the team has lost all control of lately. Over the three-match losing streak, the team has hit for .173, .058 and .178 clips, for an average of a mere .136 hitting percentage.

The Jayhawks will look to get back on track by spreading out the offensive attack and playing offensively early in the match.

With Kansas still sitting in sole possession of second place in the Big 12, a win to end the road trip would be a good confidence booster before coming home to face Texas Tech on Saturday, Nov. 3.

Kansas takes on West Virginia on the road in Morgantown, West Virginia, on Wednesday, with first serve set for 5 p.m.