LAWRENCE, Kan. – On a day when the Kansas volleyball team honored one of the most successful classes in program history, it was freshman middle blocker Tayler Soucie who led the way for the No. 22 Jayhawks as they defeated Texas Tech in three sets, 25-20, 25-21, 25-23, on Senior Day, Saturday afternoon inside the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
Soucie, an Osawatomie, Kan. native, finished the match with a team-high 13 kills and six blocks as Kansas (22-6, 12-3 Big 12) defeated Texas Tech (9-22, 2-13 Big 12).
"Tayler Soucie was great," Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. "It was interesting that a freshman would take some big swings on a senior day, but she was great and so were the seniors. I’m just so proud of all seven of those kids and all they’ve done for this program."
The Jayhawk seniors, setter Kara Wehrs, libero Brianne Riley, middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc, defensive specialist Amy Wehrs, defensive specialists Jaime Mathieu, setter Erin McNorton and outside hitter Catherine Carmichael, combined for 16 kills, 40 assists, 31 digs and seven blocks to finish their careers in the Horejsi Family Athletics Center as one of the most decorated and winningest classes in program history.
"As you could tell, there was a lot of emotion," Bechard said. "I think there were times where the players were concentrating on a lot of different things, but in the end we came away with a three-set victory against a team that in the standings might not represent a great season, but are playing very well this time of year. We just talked in the locker room about how this has been a very successful ride and now we’re focused on how we can make it significant and get better next week."
Texas Tech was led by junior outside hitter Breeann David who finished the match with a double-double, including a match-high 15 kills and 12 digs. Sophomore outside hitter Jenna Allen also recorded double-digit kills for the Red Raiders with 10.
With KU trailing early, an ace from McNorton sparked a 4-0 Kansas run to give the Jayhawks control, 10-8. KU held its advantage late in the set as the teams traded points. With the lead at one, 18-17, the Jayhawks took three-straight points to take control of the set, force a Texas Tech timeout and take a four-point lead, 21-17. The Red Raiders responded with back-to-back points, but it proved to be too little too late and KU took the set, 25-20. Jarmoc led the Kansas attack in the first set, recording four kills on seven attempts for a .429 hitting percentage.
The Jayhawks continued to roll in the second set, starting the set with five-straight points, four of which coming from Soucie. The Red Raiders battled back to tie the set at 14, but a blocking error from Texas Tech gave the Jayhawks a one-point lead heading into the media timeout, 15-14. An ace from freshman setter Maggie Anderson sparked three-straight points for the Jayhawks to give KU a four-point advantage, 18-14. With the Kansas lead at three, 23-20, a long rally that resulted in a block by Jarmoc and Carmichael garnered a huge roar from the sold-out crowd and carried the Jayhawks though the rest of the set, eventually winning, 25-21. Soucie and junior outside hitter Chelsea Albers led the Kansas attack with four kills each in the set.
The Jayhawks dug themselves an early hole to open up the third set, trailing 9-4, before four-straight points pulled them within one, 9-8. After a point from the Red Raiders to stop the run, KU racked up another 4-0 run to take a two-point lead, 12-10. The teams traded points until midway through the set, when the Jayhawks ripped off four-straight for the third time in the set to take a late, 20-17, lead and force a Texas Tech timeout. The Red Raiders pulled within one, 24-23, late in the set, but the Kansas attack was too much and the Jayhawks eventually took the match with a thunderous kill from Soucie.
- Senior libero Brianne Riley’s 13 digs moved her closer to sixth all-time on the Big 12 Conference's career digs list (1,962), now only 35 digs of former Missouri standout Tatum Ailes (1,997; 2004-07).
- Freshman middle blocker Tayler Soucie’s six blocks gave her enough to break the Kansas freshman record for the most blocks in a single season, breaking teammate Caroline Jarmoc’s old mark (115). Soucie now has 119 total blocks.
- Redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc’s 1,275 kills rank fifth all-time for career kills at Kansas.
- With two blocks against Texas Tech, Jarmoc increased her lead as KU's all-time block leader (540).
No. 22 Kansas will stay home to host its last non-conference match of the regular season against Denver on Nov. 26. The match will be held in Allen Fieldhouse and is free for fans to attend. First serve is slated for 6:30 p.m.