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Saturday, September 13, 2014

KU volleyball 2-0 at tourney

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— Kansas University made short work of its volleyball opponents during the first day of the Villanova Classic on Friday.

Much tougher tests await.

The 24th-ranked Jayhawks (8-1) swept host Villanova and Yale on Friday.

Today, they’ll face American — like KU a Sweet 16 team in last year’s NCAA Tournament — and defending national champion Penn State.

In Friday’s first match, the Jayhawks swept Villanova (4-4), 25-12, 27-25, 25-19.

“It’s really important to start with a 3-0 win,” Kansas coach Ray Bechard said. “We play so much volleyball this weekend that if we can come out, do good work and not have to over-extend ourselves, that’s the route to go. Obviously, that was a good start, and it was a critical comeback in the second set, to make it possible for the 3-0 win.”

Sophomore middle blocker Tayler Soucie returned to action in a big way with a season-high 10 blocks. Three Jayhawks came up with double-digit digs, led by 11 from freshman setter Ainise Havili.

KU later swept Yale (1-3), 25-22, 25-15, 25-21.

Middle blockers Kayla Cheadle and Soucie caught fire to lead the offense in front of a 20-dig match from sophomore libero Cassie Wait.

“There were times tonight that we played our best volleyball,” Bechard said.

Cheadle led with 12 kills, while Soucie registered a career-high .652 attack percentage with her nine kills on 13 swings and no errors. Senior outside hitter Chelsea Albers had nine kills and 11 digs.

KU will face American at 9 a.m. today and Penn State at 4:30 p.m.

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