EUGENE, Ore. - -
The University of Kansas volleyball squad opened its 2007 season with a 3-1 victory over Cal State-Bakersfield in the first match of the Oregon Invitational today.
KU was powered by Jenna Kaiser who tallied 14 kills (.393) in her first collegiate appearance. Sophomore transfer Flavia Lino was the only other Jayhawk in double digit kills with 13, while adding 12 digs for a double-double. Emily Brown and Katie Martincich assisted with 28 and 22 set assists, respectively.
Also making her college debut was libero/defensive specialist Melissa Manda who led the squad with 22 digs followed by Melissa Grieb who recorded 14.
In game one, the Jayhawks jumped to an early 9-3 lead. The Runners would come back within one at 11-10, but Kansas was able to pull away and maintain a five plus lead the rest of the game. A Bakersfield service error gave KU game-point at 30-23.
A tight game two had both teams neck-and-neck staying within one and two points and featured nine ties and three lead changes. KU forced Bakersfield to take a timeout at 25-22 in the Jayhawks' favor, but the break didn't diminish Kansas' momentum as they went on to mark a 30-27 victory.
Kansas found themselves down 13-5 in the opening of game three. Though the Jayhawks battled back to cut the Runners' lead to three at 20-17, the early deficit proved too much as Bakersfield won 30-25 forcing a fourth game.
The Runners stayed close to Kansas throughout game four, but KU never allowed them a lead. Bakersfield did threaten the Jayhawks' victory tying the game at 28 and again at 29, but a kill by sophomore transfer Flavia Lino and a Bakersfield attack error gave Kansas match point, 31-29.
Our serving was outstanding tonight," said head coach Ray Bechard. "We won big points when we needed to and we played really well at the end of games."
Kansas will continue play in the Oregon Invitational tomorrow with matches scheduled against Idaho State at 2:30 p.m. CST and 9:00 p.m. CST.