Volleyball Falls Short to No. 23 Kansas

  • By Nick Arthur
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  • October 19, 2013 09:45 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University volleyball team fell to No. 23 Kansas, 3-1 (28-26, 24-26, 17-25, 22-25) on Saturday night in front of 784 fans at the WVU Coliseum.

“This was a tough one. I think the first two sets were some of the best volleyball that we’ve played since I’ve been here. It was really competitive,” says coach Jill Kramer. “I saw a lot of great things tonight – a lot of great play.”

The Mountaineers (16-5, 2-4 Big 12) had a 1-0 lead in the match and a 24-21 advantage in the second set before the Jayhawks (16-4, 6-1 Big 12) stormed back.

Three different Mountaineers recorded double-doubles, with sophomore setter Brittany Sample recording 46 assists and 12 digs, freshman outside hitter Jordan Anderson posting 19 kills and 11 digs and sophomore outside hitter
Nikki Attea registering 13 kills and 10 digs.

Anderson’s 19 kills were a new career-high, and Attea chipped in eight blocks, leaving her only two blocks shy of the first triple-double in program history.

“I felt like we were really focused and ready to go,” Kramer says. “We did a good job of playing point-for-point. Three of the four sets were really fun, exciting volleyball. That’s what we have to bring to the table every match.”

Junior middle blocker Evyn McCoy also had eight blocks to go with eight kills, leading the WVU defensive attack, which had 15 team blocks on the night.

Kansas was led by its senior setter Erin McNorton’s 50 assists, while senior Catherine Carmichael had 18 kills on 55 attempts.

West Virginia came out strong in the first set, posting a .271 team hitting percentage in the set. Sample dished out 14 assists, and WVU had 18 kills as a team, fighting off a late comeback by the Jayhawks to win the set, 28-26.

West Virginia carried its momentum into the second set. The Mountaineers led by as many as six late in the set (22-16), and also held a 24-21 advantage. But Kansas stormed back, claiming the final five points to steal the set 26-24.

“We came out flat in the third and turned it on in the fourth, but it was just too little too late. It goes back to the same thing – we’ve got to learn to close out sets,” Kramer says. “We were in a situation to go into the locker 2-0, and couldn’t quite get it done. We just have to keep getting better.”

Kansas jumped out to a 19-8 lead in the third set. The Mountaineers settled down, and climbed back within six, 15-21, but were unable to cap off the comeback. Anderson had five kills in the set to lead all players. The
Jayhawks won the set, 25-17.

WVU had another opportunity late in the fourth set as it held a 22-20 advantage. But for the second time, Kansas won the final five points of a set to win the game 25-22, and the match 3-1.

Sophomore libero Anna Panagiotakopoulos and senior defensive specialist Liz Gulick chipped in 22 and 11 digs, respectively, leading the Mountaineer defensive attack.

West Virginia returns to action on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m., against No. 3 Texas at the WVU Coliseum. The match will be televised on ESPNU.