Jayhawks Rally for Big Finish to Defeat Tulsa, 3-1
Aug. 31, 2012
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LAWRENCE, Kan. - Behind a career-high 22 kills from sophomore Sara McClinton, Kansas defeated Tulsa 25-20, 23-25, 25-16, 27-25 in the second round of the Kansas Volleyball Invitational at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center Friday night. KU would score eight of the match's final 10 points to battle from behind and claim victory.
Earlier in the day, Kansas defeated Sam Houston State 3-0 in the Kansas Volleyball Invitational and improved to 4-1 on the season. Tulsa went 1-1 on day one of the event and fell to 3-3 on the season. A second-round team in the NCAA Tournament last season, the Golden Hurricane was receiving votes through the first two weeks of the AVCA Top-25 Poll.
Down 16-11 in the fourth set, Tulsa's largest lead of the match, KU wouldn't die and turned to McClinton to fight back. The Omaha, Neb., outside hitter then recorded four of her nine kills for the set to cut the lead to 20-18. Tulsa then built a 23-19 lead when pair kills by KU redshirt juniors Catherine Carmichael and Caroline Jarmoc down the stretch allowed KU to complete the comeback and win.
"In the end, we made enough plays against an extremely tough team for a big, big win," head coach Ray Bechard said. "So I'm happy. I think we could've got it over in three, but to win it like that in four might be more meaningful. Down 23-19 it didn't look good, and we knew we were in a substitution issue, but the kids made some plays. I love the comeback, that's kind of what happened to us last week at Arkansas, but we pushed back in this one."
McClinton's career-best 22 kills for the match were the most by a Jayhawk since former Jayhawk, and KU's single-season kills leader, Allison Mayfield also had 22 against Texas Tech on Nov. 12, 2011.
Carmichael had 16 kills for Kansas, also a career-high, while Jarmoc ended the match with 13 kills and had six total blocks for the match, including one solo. KU outhit Tulsa .282 to .144 and had an impressive digs advantage, 81-62. Junior defensive specialist Brianne Riley led KU with 23 digs, while junior Jaime Mathieu had 14 and junior Amy Wehrs 13 for the match. Junior setter Erin McNorton was on spot with 57 of Kansas' 59 assists for the match, another Jayhawk career high.
The opening set was quite the battle for the first half as no team led by more than three points and both held a three-point lead during the stretch. With Kansas leading 15-14, the Jayhawks went on a 6-1 run to take a 21-15 lead on a Carmichael kill, one of her seven for the set. The Jayhawks would then close out the set which included kills by Jarmoc and McClinton.
Tulsa came from behind to edge Kansas 25-23 in the second set and tie the match at 1-1. Kansas kept its momentum from the first set and jumped out to a 7-2 lead and would take that to 14-7, but Tulsa would go on a run of its own, 9-1, to take a 16-15 lead. Neither team led by more than two for the remainder of the set and there were three ties in the final seven points before the Hurricane claimed the close-set win. McClinton led the charge for the home team in the second set with seven kills in 14 attempts for a .500 hitting percentage. Carmichael had five kills, while junior Erin McNorton had 15 assists, one more than she had in the first set.
Like the second set, Kansas took control early of the third set but did not let Tulsa climb back into the set claiming a 25-16 set win. Up 6-3, Kansas went on an 11-2 run to take its largest lead of the night at 17-5. KU would use a balanced attack in the third as McClinton and Jarmoc recorded four kills each, while senior Tayler Tolefree had three. Tolefree ended the night with nine kills and four blocks.
Kansas will conclude the Kansas Invitational against Arkansas State on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Horesji Family Athletic Center. Arkansas State is 1-1 in the invite and 3-2 on the season.
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