Jayhawks Sweep Sooners to Set Home Win Record
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sophomore outside hitter Chelsea Albers set a career-high with 13 kills as the No. 22 Jayhawks completed their 10th sweep of the season against Oklahoma, 25-18, 29-27, 26-24, Wednesday night inside the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
Albers, a sophomore from Papillion, Neb., also tied a season high with four total blocks to lead the Kansas (22-6, 10-4) defense against Oklahoma (19-10, 8-6) and give the Jayhawks their 14th win at home, the most in program history.
“We’ve protected home turf with the exception of one time,” head coach Ray Bechard said. “There have been a lot of really good teams come through here that we’ve been able to knock off, so that’s pretty satisfying.”
Redshirt junior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc led the Jayhawk offense with 16 kills, joining Albers, sophomore outside hitter Sara McClinton (11) and senior middle blocker Tayler Tolefree (11) who all finished the match in double figures. The offensive output marked the seventh time this season that Kansas has had four players with at least 10 kills. Facilitating the balanced KU attack was junior setter Erin McNorton, who tallied 49 assists for the match.
The Jayhawks’ 61 kills offset just 36 total by the Sooners. KU held the Oklahoma offense to a .188 hitting efficiency and didn’t allow a single attacker to record double-digit kills. Although the Sooners out-blocked the Jayhawks, 10-5, KU’s front line had their hands in several plays, helping the back row out-dig the visiting squad, 58-44. Junior libero Brianne Riley led the defense with 19 digs.
With the opening set deadlocked at five, the Jayhawks used a 3-0 run to regain their early lead and put some separation between them and the Sooners. Another 4-0 run from KU would allow the Jayhawks to extend their early lead, 13-8, and force Oklahoma to take their first timeout. Kansas wasn’t fazed and added a 3-0 run after the timeout to take a seven-point advantage, 16-9. The lead would be all the Jayhawks needed, eventually closing out the set, 25-18, on an attack error from the Sooners. Albers led the Jayhawk offense in the set, recording seven kills on a .500 hitting percentage. McNorton distributed the offense effectively, compiling 15 assists in the set. Albers and Tolefree led the Kansas defense, totaling two total blocks each.
Back-and-forth play opened the second set. With the score knotted at nine, Oklahoma used a 3-0 run to get the largest separation of the set, 12-9. However, the Jayhawks would answer with a 4-0 run of their own to gain the lead, 13-12, and force an Oklahoma timeout. After the teams found themselves tied again at 18, the Sooners used a 3-0 run to grab a late, 18-21, lead and force KU to use their first timeout of the match.
With the Sooners holding their largest lead of the set, 23-19, the Jayhawks answered loudly with a 5-0 run to regain control and force set point, 24-23. The Jayhawks were unable to put away the Sooners right away and were forced to play seven extra points in a set that featured 21 ties and nine lead changes, before putting back-to-back points together to close out the set, 29-27. Tolefree led the Kansas offense in the set, recording six kills on a .750 hitting percentage. McNorton was once again the ignition for the Kansas offense, totaling 19 assists in the set.
After the Jayhawks grabbed the first point out of intermission, the Sooners used an early 3-0 run to take a quick, 1-3, lead. The Jayhawks responded with five straight points of their own to jump in front, 6-3. The Jayhawks would maintain their advantage for most of the set, until a late rally from Oklahoma, including three-straight points when trailing, 19-16, to tie the set at 19. Kansas came back with three-straight points of its own to regain the advantage, 22-19, and force a late Oklahoma timeout. KU would use that momentum to close out the Sooners, 26-24, and sweep Oklahoma for the first time since the 2005 season. Jarmoc finished the set with eight kills and a .667 attack percentage to lead the Kansas offense in the set and McNorton added 15 assists to her match total.
McNorton’s 49 assists moves her to eighth all-time at Kansas for assists in a single season (1,262) and improves her career total to 1,391, which ranks ninth all-time among Jayhawks. Riley’s 19 digs makes her 42 shy of breaking KU’s all-time digs record as a junior, bringing her career total to 1,416. The Naperville, Ill., native needs 19 more to break the program’s single-season record, which stands at 549.
The No. 22 Jayhawks will take the court again on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 1 p.m., when they travel to Fort Worth, Texas to take on TCU at the University Recreation Center.