LAWRENCE, Kan. – Redshirt junior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc finished with a team-high 18 kills for No. 23 Kansas in its five-set loss to No. 3 Texas, 25-20, 15-25, 25-22, 16-25, 12-15, Saturday night inside the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
The CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team member recorded her 18 kills on 36 attempts to give her a .306 attack percentage and finished with four total blocks to contribute to Kansas’ (21-6, 9-4) defensive effort against Big 12 leader Texas (21-3, 13-0).
The five-set loss marked KU’s first loss at home this season, ending a program-best 13-match home win streak. The historic streak came to a close in a battle to be expected between the conference’s first and second place teams. Prior to the anticipated match, Texas had lost three sets in conference play. Kansas took two more on Saturday night, forcing Texas to play just its second five-set contest in conference play.
“We just left some points out there and didn’t convert some of the digs that we needed to,” head coach Ray Bechard said. “We out-dug them, we out-worked them in some areas but at key times we just didn’t make a few of the plays we needed to make. It was a packed house, two great teams playing in a great environment and playing at a high level. We wanted a different result, but we identified some things we can do better and that’s what we’ll do. We’ll get better.”
Sophomore outside hitter Sara McClinton also totaled double-digit kills for the Jayhawks, finishing the match with 11. Junior setter Erin McNorton facilitated the Kansas offensive attack, tallying 45 assists over five sets. Defensively the Jayhawks were led in the back row by junior libero Brianne Riley, who recorded 26 digs after sitting out the last match due to injury. Senior middle blocker Tayler Tolefree led the defensive effort at the net, recording seven total blocks in the match.
Three Texas players logged double-digit kills, led by junior outside hitter and Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year Bailey Webster, who finished the match with 17. Guiding the Longhorn attack was junior setter Hannah Allison, who finished the match with 56 assists. Defensively Texas had three players finish with at least five total blocks, led by freshman middle blocker Molly McCage’s seven.
To open the Big 12 contest, the teams matched each other blow for blow. With Kansas leading by one, 7-6, the Jayhawks used a 3-0 run to extend their lead to four, 10-6, and force a Texas timeout. Strong defense and timely hitting allowed the Jayhawks to build a five-point advantage, their largest of the set, and close out the Longhorns on a kill from Jarmoc, 25-20. Sophomore outside hitter Chelsea Albers led the Jayhawk offense with four kills in the opening set. Defensively, Kansas was led by Riley, who dug up 12 balls, and Tolefree, who led the team with four total blocks.
The Longhorns came out strong in the second set, opening up an early, 10-6, lead which forced Kansas head coach Ray Bechard to use his first timeout of the night. After the Jayhawks grabbed the first point out of the pause, the Longhorns used a 3-0 run to extend their lead, 7-13. Texas would continue to build its lead, going up by as many as nine, 23-12, with the help of a late 5-0 run. The Longhorns closed out the set, 25-15, on a kill from sophomore outside hitter Haley Eckerman. McClinton led the Kansas offense in the set, tallying four kills.
Texas held its momentum out of the break, connecting on three of the first four points to lead, 3-1. The Jayhawks would rally and Jarmoc would deliver the first ace of the match to even the score the score at five. With the score tied, both teams continued to battle, resulting in eight ties for the set. With the Jayhawks trailing, 10-8, Jarmoc took control. Back-to-back kills and a solo block after a great defensive effort from the Kansas back row and an assisted block with McNorton, gave the Jayhawks a 12-10 lead and forced a Texas timeout.
The Longhorns used a 3-0 run after the timeout to take the lead back from Kansas, 14-13, before the Jayhawks answered with a 3-0 run of their own to put the advantage in their favor, 16-14. The Jayhawks would keep that lead for the rest of the set, with the help of another 3-0 run late and close out set three, 25-22, on a kill from McNorton. Jarmoc led the Jayhawks on both sides of the net, tallying five kills with a .400 hitting percentage and recording three blocks for the set.
The Jayhawks would deliver the first point of the fourth set, but the Longhorns would take over from there. With Texas leading, 10-7, the Jayhawks showed a solid defensive effort in the back row, causing an extended volley, which resulted in a Texas error and brought KU within two, 10-8. Despite the electricity of the crowd, the Longhorns would answer with a 3-0 run to extend their lead, 13-9, and force a Kansas timeout. The advantage would be all the Longhorns needed, controlling the rest of the set to close out the Jayhawks, 25-16, and even the match at two sets each. Jarmoc led the KU offense in the set with six kills.
The Longhorns carried their momentum into the fifth set, taking the first two points before consecutive points from the Jayhawks would even the score at two. Back and forth play would continue for the early portion of the set, until the Longhorns put together a 3-0 run with the score tied at five, to take the lead, 8-5, and force a Kansas timeout. The Jayhawks responded with two straight points and forced the Longhorns to take their first timeout of the set, with a one-point advantage, 8-7. Texas would take three of the next four points to bring their lead back to three, 11-8, and force another timeout from Bechard. The slight advantage would be all the Longhorns needed, eventually closing out the set, 15-12, and giving the Jayhawks their first fifth-set defeat of the season. Freshman outside hitter Tiana Dockery led the Jayhawks’ offense in the set, recording three kills on a .333 hitting percentage.
Tolefree’s seven block assists gives her 334 for her career and moves her into second on KU’s all-time list, passing Josi Lima (2002-05) who finished her career with 329.
The No. 23 Jayhawks will take the court again on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 6 p.m., when they host Oklahoma at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.