Courtesy: KU Athletics
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 7 University of Kansas Volleyball continued to extend its program-recorded winning streak with a commanding 3-0 sweep over Oklahoma in front of a sold-out Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Wednesday night.
The Jayhawks (19-0, 7-0 Big 12) remained undefeated behind the efforts of sophomores Kelsie Payne and Madison Rigdon, who combined for 26 kills and only four attacking errors. Payne recorded a match-high 15 kills on a .538 hitting percentage, adding four blocks, for 17.0 total points in just three sets. Sophomore setter Ainise Havili finished with 37 assists to lead the Jayhawks to a .355 team hitting percentage, well above their Big 12-leading .316 season average entering Wednesday.
Junior libero Cassie Wait tied her career high for digs in a three-set match with 23, and junior middle blocker Taylor Soucie tallied five blocks, to help hold the Sooners to a .153 hitting percentage.
Kansas made its way to a 25-18 first-set win with a .424 hitting percentage. While the Sooners did not give up as they closed a six-point deficit in the middle of the first set, a kill by Soucie broke the final tie of the game giving the Jayhawks the momentum they needed to lead the rest of the set.
KU recorded three blocks in the first nine points to set the tone for an eventual 25-22 second-set victory. Rigdon and Soucie combined for consecutive blocks to spark an early 5-0 run. Payne and Soucie capped-off the run with another block-assist to give KU a 7-2 lead. Oklahoma was able to close the gap to a 12-12 tie, but KU’s powerful offense, which hit .417 in the second set led by Payne’s seven second-set kills, proved to be too much to handle for the Sooners down the stretch.
The Jayhawks had their way on the offensive side of the net during the first two sets, going into intermission with 35 kills on a .420 hitting percentage.
After intermission, another kill from Payne to begin the third set gave the Jayhawks a lead that would not be surrendered for the remainder of the match, despite another OU rally that tied the set at 12-12. KU’s ensuing 10-3 run, to take a 22-15 lead, provided enough cushion for senior transfer Ashlyn Driskill to make her first appearance in a match since Sept. 4 after recovering from injury. Driskill played final five points of the set, including an Oklahoma service error on match point to give the Jayhawks a 25-18 win.
Oklahoma (7-12, 1-6) was led by 14 kills from Madison Ward on Wednesday night.
When the 7th-ranked Jayhawks visit No. 2 Texas on Friday night (8 p.m. CT, Longhorn Network), it will mark the first top-10 matchup during Big 12 Conference play since 2010.
KANSAS-OKLAHOMA SERIES: Oklahoma leads the all-time series with Kansas, 47-34. The Jayhawks lead the series in matches played in Lawrence, 19-15, including four straight wins at Horejsi Family Athletics Center. The home team has won the last five matches in the KU-OU series.
UNDEFEATD: At 19-0, Kansas continues its best start in program history and longest overall winning streak. The previous best start was 10-0 in 2001, and the previous longest winning streak was 15 matches in 1991. Kansas is one of two undefeated teams in NCAA Division I volleyball (No. 1 USC).
SET DOMINANCE: KU’s set record improves to 57-5. KU is 18-1 in first sets this season, including 16 consecutive first-set wins. The Jayhawks have yet to play a five-set match this season.