Kansas Comes Up Short In Five Game Battle With Tigers

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Four Jayhawks recorded new season-highs in tonight's five-game contest with Border Showdown rival Missouri, but it was not enough to overcome the Tigers as KU fell 32-30, 22-30, 33-31, 30-26 and 12-15. Kansas now stands at 10-13 overall on the season and 3-10 in conference play. Missouri rebounds from a three-match losing streak to improve to 13-9 overall and 6-7 in the Big 12.

A record five KU players finished with double-digit kills tonight led by freshman libero Melissa Manda, who dug up a career 30 balls. Katie Martincich followed with 18, while Emily Brown and Karina Garlington pitched in 15 and 14, respectively. Melissa Grieb added 11.

Brown also tallied a season-best 17 kills to go along with her 15 digs and 29 assists for her sixth triple-double of the year. Natalie Uhart led the Kansas offense with 19 kills, a career-high for the 6-2 middle blocker, while also recording a career-mark on defense with four solo blocks and eight block assists. Freshman Jenna Kaiser was the third Jayhawk registering double-figure kills with 14.

Kansas opened the match with a 6-1 run to go up on the Tigers early and stretched its lead to 11-4 with six more consecutive points. KU's lead was threatened when the Tigers eventually evened the score at 28. After more ties at 29 and 30, Flavia Lino and Brown each notched a kill to win in extra points, 32-30.

Missouri avenged the Jayhawks in game two racing to a 30-22 win behind a match-best .429 hitting percentage.

Another close contest followed in game three. Kansas grabbed an early lead but were caught at nine all. The teams tied seven more times before MU pulled away with seven unanswered points. Missouri looked as though they would take another win leading by six at 27-21, but KU would not make it that easy. Jayhawks went on a remarkable six point run capped by a Kaiser kill to tie the score, 27-27. The teams tied at each of the next four points until Missouri notched the 33-31 victory in another extra point contest.

After three games, Brown already had her triple-double with 12 kills, 16 assists and 10 digs.

Missouri again came from behind in the fourth game to even the scores at 22. The teams traded the lead briefly until Kaiser and Uhart shared a block and a MU attack error pushed KU ahead 26-24. After another tie at 26, Uhart went on to notch a kill and two block assists during a four point run by the Jayhawks as they came away with the 30-26 win.

Manda already had a career night after four with 27 of her 30 digs following the fourth contest.

Game five came down to the final points. Brown delayed MU's victory with a kill to make it 14-12, but the Tigers answered right back with a huge kill from Amanda Hantouli.

Kansas will return to Texas next Wednesday in its third trip to the state in as many weeks. The Jayhawks are scheduled to take on Baylor at 6:30 p.m.

Head Coach Ray Bechard

On the team's performance:

"I feel like we responded very well in game one and we finished it out, but the disappointment was how we carried it over in game two. We fought it out in game three and won game four. Both teams battled hard in the game five but Missouri made more plays in the end. We out-dug them, we had more aces, we just had too many hitting errors."

On game five:

"We both had three point swings in game five, but we gave them an extra three point run and you just can't rebound from that in a 15 point game."

Senior Emily Brown

On the team's performance in today's game:

"We fought really hard tonight. We kind of played scared and we've done that before in the past, but we need to be more confident in fighting for a win. In a game to 15, all the little things become more important and the team that is more fundamentally sound will come away with the win. Unfortunately, that just wasn't us tonight."


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