Jayhawks Block Sun Devils, Defeat Arizona State, 3-1
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LAWRENCE, Kan. - Defense was on display in front of a raucous crowd at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center as Kansas defeated Arizona State in the Jayhawk Invitational on Friday night, 20-25, 25-19, 26-24, 25-23.
Kansas (8-1) tied a season-high with 16 blocks in the match and was led by senior middle blocker Tayler Tolefree, who tied a HFAC record with four solo blocks.
Tolefree also added six block assists for her second block/kill double-double of her career. Redshirt junior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc and sophomore outside hitter Chelsea Albers also stepped up for six blocks apiece as the Jayhawks' nearly doubled up the Sun Devils in blocks, 16-8.5.
ASU (6-2) was led by freshman outside hitter Macey Gardner and senior outside hitter Erica Wilson with 19 kills each, an unsurprising output from a PAC-12 opponent.
"It's helpful," head coach Ray Bechard said against his team's success against the PAC-12 foe. "I'm not sure how Texas did against Minnesota tonight, but anytime you have big-time conferences going against each other, it's big for us. The Pac-12 is a big volleyball conference and the Big 12 is too. So you make some comparisons and the Jayhawks held up their end tonight."
Arizona State's only deficit in the first set was at 1-0 with the Sun Devils building a four point lead on six different occasions and a five point lead twice on their way to a 25-20 opening set win. Gardner led the way for the Sun Devils with seven kills. For KU, Jarmoc and sophomore outside hitter Sara McClinton led the team with four kills each.
The second set was filled with runs by both teams. Early in the set, Arizona State went on a 5-1 run to grab the early 9-6 lead. KU responded with a 7-3 run to take a 13-12 lead. The Sun Devils then answered by going on a 4-1 run to take a 17-14 advantage. The Jayhawks battled back, winning eleven of the final 13 points of the set, en route to the 25-19 win. McClinton and Tolefree paced the offense with four kills each.
The Jayhawk scoring spree continued in the third set as the Jayhawks got out to a 9-4 lead. The early scoring was sparked by back-to-back kills by redshirt junior outside hitter Catherine Carmichael. Later in the set, KU showed their dominance at the net by scoring four points via the block in a 7-4 run as the Jayhawks took the set 26-24. Tolefree participated in three of the blocks and finished the set with two solo and three assisted blocks. Another huge block by Tolefree and Albers gave the Jayhawks a 25-24 lead to halt the momentum from swinging the Sun Devils' way.
Defensively, the Jayhawks were led by Riley who had six digs with a majority of them coming via spectacular diving fashion. Carmichael led KU with five kills.
The fourth set featured 15 ties and eight lead changes. KU seemed to take control late in the set on a kill by Tolefree followed on the very next play by a point-saving dig by Riley, which resulted in a point for KU and a 19-17 lead. The Sun Devils were not ready to quit as ASU stormed back to take a 23-22 lead. KU scored the final three points of the set to win the finale by a score of 25-23.
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