Volleyball vs. Texas

Super-senior middle blocker Rachel Langs hits the ball as Kansas volleyball takes on No. 1 ranked Texas at Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena on September 21.

In front of a sold-out crowd at home, Kansas volleyball lost to No. 1 Texas 3-2 in a tough, aggressive match. This was the first time of the season Texas was taken to five sets. 

“I think there is a lot to hold onto,” said head coach Ray Bechard. “The level of play forced them into things they obviously didn’t want to do, but we feel like we left some things on the table tonight. We served tough and I think they worked through their lineup and found their best lineup.”

Texas’ senior outside hitter Logan Eggleston had a career-high 29 kills and is leading the Big 12 Conference in kills. Also, Kansas redshirt freshman outside hitter Ayah Elnady had 15 kills and six digs.   

Set One

Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena was electric as Kansas volleyball came out strong with a 3-1 scoring run after Texas took the first point. The Longhorns tied it up at 5-5 with well-placed kills. 

A soft block helped Kansas chip away at Texas' lead to bring the score to 9-8. A 7-1 scoring run put the Longhorns up in the lead at 16-9 due to four kills by Eggleston, an ace, a block and two attack errors. 

After a Kansas service ace and an attack error by Texas, the Jayhawks tried to climb out of their hole, but the Longhorns bounced back to grab two more points on the board, forcing Kansas to take a timeout at 18-11. 

Following the timeout, the Jayhawks won a challenge and scored five of the following six points. The Longhorns put another on the board, but Kansas took the next two because of a block and service error to make the score, 21-18. 

After a Texas timeout, the Jayhawks made a well-placed kill by super-senior middle blocker Rachel Langs to make the score 22-19, but the Longhorns retaliated with a point. 

Two blocks by the Jayhawks made the score tied at 22-22, forcing the Longhorns to take a timeout. 

Texas took the first point but Kansas took the next two points to take the lead. Everyone was standing in Horejsi as Kansas took the first set, 25-23. 

Set Two

The second set started with Kansas snatching a 4-0 scoring run due to an error by Texas, a kill by Elnady and a block by grad middle blocker Lauren Dooley forcing the Longhorns to take an early timeout. 

The Jayhawks and Longhorns consistently battled, but a well-placed kill, bad sets and blocks extended Kansas’ lead with a 5-2 scoring run, making the score 10-6. 

The Kansas defense continued to put on a clinic, as another block by Langs and Davis racked up the score to 14-9. A 3-1 scoring run by Kansas due to three kills by Elnady, super-senior opposite Anezka Szabo, and Langs, forced a Texas timeout. 

Texas found their cadence and put up a 5-1 scoring run due to kills forcing the Jayhawks to call a timeout at 18-16. 

Kansas called another timeout at 19-18, and the Jayhawks found their rhythm to rally the score to 23-21. The Longhorns retaliated to tie the score due to two well-placed kills by sophomore outside hitter Madisen Skinner and Eggleston. 

The arena was wild as Kansas secured the second set, 25-23. 

Set Three 

Kansas continued the momentum in the third set to grab a 4-1 scoring run. Another Jayhawk block continued a cadence to extend their lead, 7-4. 

Texas rallied to tie the score up 9-9, and two more well-placed kills by Skinner and redshirt senior middle blocker Kayla Caffey forced Kansas to take a timeout. 

Texas took the first point out but the Jayhawks battled for every point to score 14-12. However, the Longhorns found their groove and went on a 3-0 scoring run to force Kansas into a timeout. 

The more consistent back-and-forth play continued for the Jayhawks, but Texas extended its lead, 23-17. The Longhorns secured set three, 25-18. 

Set Four

Set four begins in a close battle with both teams tied at three. Texas went on a 5-1 scoring run due to errors by Kansas, kills, and an ace to take the lead 8-5. 

Only three points behind, errors plagued the Jayhawks, giving away two points to Texas to put the score 11-7 and forcing a Jayhawk timeout. 

The Longhorns, led by Skinner and Eggleston, took the first point and tried to capitalize on the low momentum from the Jayhawks with a 14-12 lead.

Only two points behind, the Jayhawks went on a 5-1 scoring run to tie the game up at 16. A kill by langs, Elnady, Bien, and a service ace by McCarthy forced Texas into a timeout.

Texas snatched the first two points, but a kill out of bounds by Texas brought the score to 18-17 to give the Jayhawks the momentum at 18-17.

At 20-20, Texas made a kill by Eggleston and a service ace to force a timeout by Kansas. 

The Longhorns took four straight points, but the Jayhawks tried to hold on due to a kill by Elnady and a service ace to make the score, 24-22.  However, Texas made a kill that ended the set, 25-22. 

Set Five

Set five started with a Texas point, but a bad set by the Longhorns put the Jayhawks on the board. Consistent back-and-forth play from both teams scraped points off the board one by one.

Errors from the Jayhawks by a service and block error put the Longhorns ahead at 5-3. Bien had a solo block, but Texas fired back with a well-placed kill to make the score, 6-4. 

Kansas and Texas switched sides and Horesji was on their feet with the momentum, but Texas took the first point to make the score 9-5. 

Energy still buzzing, Elnady spiked a ball into the back corner to make the score 10-6. Texas took control of the set to end the match, 15-9. 

“There’s a lot of people getting excited about playing for two hours and 40 minutes, but the margin for error against No. 1 Texas is small,” said Bechard. “We were uncharacteristic in moments we needed to be solid, so it is disappointing.”

Kansas volleyball will take on Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas at Bramlage Coliseum on September 24 at 4 p.m.