Still Streaking, Kansas Sweeps Oklahoma for 10th-Straight
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Junior outside hitter Sara McClinton finished with 16 kills as Kansas defeated Oklahoma in three sets, 25-23, 25-15, 25-23, Wednesday evening inside the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
McClinton, an Omaha, Neb., native, followed up her career-best effort in Waco, Texas with another stellar performance to give Kansas (14-3, 4-0) the sweep over Oklahoma (14-4, 2-2). McClinton’s first kill of the first set gave her 800 for her Kansas career. She is the second-fastest Jayhawk to achieve the feat, second only to KU all-time kills leader Josi Lima (2002-05).
The record that McClinton and her teammates were more interested in, however, is the 10th-straight victory the Jayhawks collected to remain perfect in conference play heading into Saturday’s meeting with defending national champion Texas.
“Eleven would be cool,” Bechard said of the Jayhawks’ winning streak. “We’re 4-0 in the league, which is good. We’ve gone on the road twice and won, and we’ve won a couple at home. So we’ll see what we’ve got going on this Saturday.”
KU’s 10-match winning spree ties the third-longest in program history, last accomplished in 2001. The added bonus is the Jayhawks’ 4-0 start to Big 12 play for the second-consecutive season – and the second time since the formation of the league.
Senior setter Erin McNorton finished the match with 48 assists as Kansas hit .347 in the contest. The Jayhawks also got a strong defensive performance from senior libero Brianne Riley, who recorded 17 digs. Middle blockers redshirt senior Caroline Jarmoc and freshman Tayler Soucie manned the front line with four blocks each to lead the Kansas defense.
Oklahoma was led by senior middle blocker Sallie McLaurin and sophomore middle blocker Kierra Holst, who led the Sooner attack with 10 kills each. McLaurin also led the OU defense, finishing the match with four total blocks, while sophomore libero Taylor Migliazzo protected the back row with a team-high 11 digs.
Oklahoma came out hot in the first set, building a 7-3 lead with the help of a 3-0 run. The Jayhawks struggled to find their groove and Oklahoma extended its lead to five, 7-12, before Bechard stopped play with his first timeout. KU responded to its coach out of the timeout with back-to-back points to pull within three, 9-12. KU continued to chip away at the Sooner lead behind the play of sophomore outside hitter Tiana Dockery, who finished the set with six kills and a .417 hitting percentage. With their backs against the wall, down 23-20, the Jayhawks delivered on five-straight points, capped off with a solo block from Jarmoc to give the Jayhawks the set, 25-23, and garner a huge roar from the 1,323 in attendance. Dockery led the Kansas attack in the set and McNorton facilitated the Kansas offense, which hit .366 in the set, with 17 assists.
The comeback gave the Jayhawks renewed energy to open up the second set, where they took three of the first four points. The Jayhawks stayed hot and a 5-0 run would extend their lead to eight, 13-5. Following a point from the Sooners, KU tacked on four more straight to build its lead to 11, 17-6. OU followed with a 4-0 run of its own, but the Jayhawks proved to be too much and they closed out the Sooners, 25-15, on an ace by redshirt freshman setter Maggie Anderson. McClinton led the Kansas attack with seven kills in the set.
The Jayhawks came out lethargic in the third set and Oklahoma took full advantage, taking eight of the first 10 points. Uninterested in giving up a set on its home floor, KU battled back and scored eight of the next 10 points to tie the set at 10.
A kill from Jarmoc on the next point gave the Jayhawks their first lead of the set and forced a timeout from the Sooner bench. The two teams battled back-and-forth until the Jayhawks connected on two-straight points to take command of the set, 22-20, and force another Oklahoma timeout. The Sooners claimed the next two points out of the timeout with the aid of a re-serve to tie the set at 22 and force a KU timeout. After losing the first point out of the timeout, the Jayhawks closed out the set with three-straight points to take the set, 25-23. Jarmoc led the Kansas attack, finishing the set with six kills on seven attempts while McNorton assisted the Jayhawks to a .361 hitting percentage with her 18 assists.
- Senior libero Brianne Riley’s 17 digs moved her closer to sixth all-time on the Big 12 Conference's career digs list (1,805), chasing former Missouri star Tatum Ailes (1,997; 2004-07).
- Riley now has double-digit digs in 43-consecutive matches.
- Redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc’s 1,165 career kills are the second-most among current Big 12 players. She trails fellow senior Kaitlynn Pelger from Kansas State (1,376).
- Jarmoc's four total blocks pulled her closer to becoming KU's all-time blocks leader. Her 497 career blocks ranks second only to Amanda Reves (514; 1996-99).
Kansas stays home to host the defending national champion and third-ranked Texas on Saturday, Oct. 12. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.