No. 22 Kansas Comes Up Big, Beats No. 24 Iowa State in Ames
AMES, Iowa – With second-place footing in the Big 12 Conference on the line, the 22nd-ranked Kansas Jayhawks did what they hadn’t done since 2004 – went into Ames and defeated top-25 Iowa State Wednesday night in four sets, 25-21, 25-23, 22-25, 25-20.
For the second-straight year, Kansas (21-6, 11-3) and Iowa State (17-7, 10-3) met in Ames with both teams checking in on the AVCA Top-25 poll. ISU came in on a seven-match win streak, beginning with its five-set win at Kansas. The Jayhawks ended the streak on Wednesday – one of two streaks the Jayhawks snapped. The other was of larger magnitude as KU knocked off the Cyclones in Hilton Coliseum for the first time since 2004.
The victory flipped KU and ISU in the Big 12 standings, giving Kansas a half-game lead for second place with two conference matches remaining. Kansas plays Texas Tech on Saturday and at Oklahoma on Nov. 30. Iowa State has TCU, Kansas State and No. 1 Texas remaining on its schedule.
“That ranks in the top-five,” redshirt senior Caroline Jarmoc said of her memories at Kansas. “We haven’t won at Iowa State in my five years here and that was definitely one of our goals and we did that today. I’m super proud of this team. The race between second and third is super close right now and I know this win definitely puts us ahead.”
Facing the Big 12’s top-serving team, Kansas was superb. The Jayhawks allowed four aces, but came up with nine of their own, the most since recording 10 aces against Liberty more than two years ago (8/27/11). Jarmoc served for a season-high four aces, while senior defensive specialist Jaime Mathieu tied her career-high with two.
“I thought we set the tone by our serves and by the way we blocked the ball tonight,” head coach Ray Bechard said. “We fought hard, even when we fell behind and were forced to try some different combos. Everyone stepped up in the spot we put them in and Chelsea Albers really came up big for us. It was a good win for sure.”
Serving wasn’t the only major component to the Jayhawk victory as the visitors made it a point to win the battle at the net. In their first meeting of the season, Iowa State out-blocked Kansas 12.0-10.0. Not the case on Wednesday. Jarmoc’s seven blocks helped the Jayhawks nearly double ISU’s blocking effort, 12.0-7.0.
Junior outside hitter Chelsea Albers had plenty to do with the blocking effort, recording six rejections on the night, but the Nebraska native shined on the offensive end. The only Jayhawk to put up double-digit kills in the win, Albers cranked out 14 kills and just one error to pace the offense. Kansas used Albers, blocks and aces to find a way to win, considering KU was out-killed by its largest margin of the season, 57-44.
With her seven kills, Jarmoc moved into fifth all-time at Kansas on the career kills list, passing former volleyball player Amanda Reves (1,264). Jarmoc now sits at 1,268 in her Jayhawk career. Albers, along with redshirt senior Catherine Carmichael, broke the 500-kill career mark in the already momentous evening and now sit at 509 and 506, respectively.
Reigning Big 12 Rookie of the Week, middle blocker Tayler Soucie, finished the night with five kills and five blocks. Senior setter Erin McNorton dished out 37 assists, landed three kills, added two blocks and eight digs. Alongside her, seniors Mathieu and Brianne Riley each came up with 10 digs to lead the defense.
The Cyclones were led by Tory Knuth and Mackenzie Bigbee, who collected 15 and 14 kills, respectively, while Kristen Hahn led the floor with 22 digs.
Iowa State came out of the gate with three-straight points to open the first set, but Kansas offset the start with a 6-0 run to force Iowa State to use a timeout early. The Jayhawks cranked out nine kills and just one error through the midway point, building its lead to five multiple times in the opening frame until back-to-back Cyclone errors extended KU’s lead, 16-10. Moments later, ISU resorted to its last timeout after a solo block from Jarmoc watched KU pull ahead, 18-11.
The Cyclones charged back, stringing together a 5-1 lead to close the gap 22-19, but Albers provided two-straight kills to stop the home team’s rally and bring the Jayhawks to set point. One final blast from Carmichael wrapped up an efficient first set that saw KU connect on 14 kills and two errors for the 25-21 victory.
Picking up steam, a Riley ace in the early moments of set two saw KU jump out to a 5-1 advantage. As expected, Iowa State roared back to tie the score at 6-6 until a long rally, highlighted by a pair of diving digs from Riley, resulted in a Jarmoc kill. A service ace briefly returned the lead back to Iowa State, setting up an epic string of trading points. After the 6-6 tie, KU and ISU tied the score at every point through 15. Twice, Iowa State found ways to break out for a two-point lead, and the Cyclones found themselves up 19-17 heading into the final stretch before the break.
Kansas buckled down. Led by a pair of kills from Albers and two crucial blocks from Jarmoc, the Jayhawks stole the next two points to jolt the Cyclones’ momentum. Albers slammed her eighth kill of the night to surge KU forward, 22-20 and ISU quickly called for the timeout. Iowa State clawed its way to a tie score twice more, but ironically the best serving team in the Big 12 was let down by two late service errors to bring the Jayhawks to set point. Minutes after subbing into the match, sophomore outside hitter Tiana Dockery joined Soucie for the block that ended the thrilling set in KU’s favor, 25-23.
Trailing Kansas 2-0 at home for the first time since 2003, Iowa State came out determined in set three. Firing out to their largest lead of the night to that point, the Cyclones were up 11-7 when Bechard called for the timeout. The home team took advantage of the Kansas lapse, building its lead to 17-10.
Their largest deficit of the match only lit the fire under the Jayhawks. With Jarmoc leading the way with two aces, she ran the table for a 4-0 run, slicing the sizable Iowa State lead to three, 17-14. An Iowa State timeout saw the Cyclones come out of the break to take the next point, but Kansas was on a roll. Thanks to kills from Dockery and Albers, combined with a McNorton ace, the Jayhawks turned what once was a 17-10 deficit into an improbable 19-18 lead.
In prime position for a sweep, Kansas finally caved under the weight of a .455 attack efficiency from the Cyclones in set three. A big kill to the middle of the court from Jarmoc fought off set point, but ISU’s Morgan Kuhurt came through with the final kill of the set to cut the KU lead in half, 2-1.
Kuhurt found an open corner in the back row to cap a 4-0 run early in the fourth set, pushing the home team to a 7-3 lead. Attack and service errors played a role in seeing KU stay behind, 10-7.
The Jayhawks weren’t down for long.
Again Kansas dissolved an Iowa State momentum shift, this time turning a 7-3 deficit into an 11-10 lead. The blockers were outstanding. Fighting to keep Iowa State from surging, Jarmoc and Soucie led the way at the net, getting assistance from Dockery, Albers and McNorton to come up with vital blocks and put KU in front, 18-16.
KU had all the momentum it needed after Dockery landed a kill and Jarmoc, her fourth ace of the night, to win the war to 20 points, 20-17. Three-straight attack errors landed the Jayhawks at match point before Soucie finished it off, bouncing a hard shot off of an Iowa State defender to seal the win – and the match – 25-20.
- Kansas’ last win in Ames came in a five-set contest on Oct. 13, 2004 (30-23, 29-31, 28-30, 30-24, 15-5).
- Senior libero Brianne Riley’s 10 digs moved her closer to sixth all-time on the Big 12 Conference's career digs list (1,949), now only 48 digs of former Missouri standout Tatum Ailes (1,997; 2004-07).
- Freshman middle blocker Tayler Soucie became needs three more blocks to break the Kansas record for the most blocks by a Jayhawk in a debut season (113). Current teammate and mentor, redshirt senior Caroline Jarmoc (115) holds the current record.
- Redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc’s 1,268 kills rank fifth all-time for career kills at Kansas.
- With seven blocks against Iowa State, Jarmoc increased her lead as KU's all-time block leader (538).
No. 22 Kansas will come home for a very special senior day on Saturday, Nov. 26. The Jayhawks will play host to Texas Tech and recognize their seven seniors prior to the match and welcome them to speak to the crowd following the match. First serve is set for 1 p.m.