Two points left in the fifth and final set, tied at 13, Kansas volleyball dropped two-straight points and lost the match 3-2 to the No. 1 Texas Longhorns at home on Saturday, Oct. 9.
The first set was everything the Jayhawks could have hoped for, as they won with a convincing score of 25-18. Texas dropped just its fifth set all season, and KU found itself with an early 1-0 match lead.
Firing on all cylinders to start the match, Kansas finished the first set with a blazing .429 hitting percentage while holding the Longhorns’ percentage to .138. Freshman outside hitter Caroline Bien continued her stellar season against the best team in the country, opening with four kills in just the first set.
After a dominant opening set from KU, the second set was much closer but concluded with the same result, as Kansas snagged the second set 25-21. Texas found its footing on offense in this set but was unable to match the offensive production of the Jayhawk hitters.
Bien was a one-woman show in this set, adding seven kills of her team-high 21 kills, as every set found its way to her. Texas junior outside hitter Logan Eggleston matched Bien’s seven kills, but the Longhorns couldn’t outhit Kansas.
Dropping two sets, just their fifth and sixth lost sets of the season, the Longhorns avoided the sweep, grabbing the third set 25-21.
Texas’ offense came out smothering after losing the first two sets, recording a blistering .548 hitting percentage and 19 kills in the third set alone. While Kansas hit for an impressive .367 percentage, the Longhorns’ hitting proved lethal in the end as they looked to complete the comeback.
Picking up where they left off, the Longhorns took a 25-19 fourth set win to tie the match at 2-2. KU couldn’t get its offense rolling in this set, dropping to a dismal .175 hitting percentage
Bien continued to try and rally the team to a victory, tallying five of the 14 total kills for Kansas in the set, but seven attack errors and two service errors gave Texas too many free points. The Longhorns used these points to their advantage and put KU away, forcing a fifth and final set.
Two points would make the difference, as Texas completed its comeback with a 15-13 victory. The Longhorns had all the momentum after coming back and winning two straight sets and used that momentum to finish the job, keeping its undefeated season alive.
Winning the first two sets, Kansas just couldn’t put Texas away and upset its conference rival. Head coach Ray Bechard said this match showed just what his team could do.
“What you saw was Texas responded, really, really well," Bechard said. "In the third, fourth and fifth sets, it was like pulling teeth to earn a point because they would side out at a very high level. I think that was a really good version of us and who we are and how we compete.”
Kansas would also face Texas on Sunday, but the outcome was much different as the Jayhawks were dominated on all fronts in straight-sets.
Kansas currently sits at 11-6 on the season and will travel to Waco, Texas, to face off with the No. 11 Baylor Bears on Oct. 14. First tip is set for 6 p.m.