One mark of the 2016 Kansas volleyball team was its proclivity to find itself in — and win — five-set matches. Thanks to a key ace by Madison Rigdon, the 2017 version was able to avoid that very thing in its opener.
The Jayhawks defeated North Carolina State in four sets (25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 26-24) on Friday, completing a comeback in the final set after NC State held a late 24-23 lead. The Jayhawks fought off the match point and rallied for two more, including the decisive ace by the senior outside hitter, who led the team with 17 kills.
Senior Kelsie Payne and sophomore Jada Burse also chipped in with double-digit kills, posting 16 and 15, respectively. Senior setter Ainise Havili led both teams with 54 assists, five off her top total from last season, while she and sophomore libero Allie Nelson tied for a game-high 22 digs.
The Jayhawks, now 1-0 on the season, will remain in North Carolina as part of the Wolfpack Invitational. They’ll face off against Missouri State at 9:30 a.m. CT on Saturday before rematching the Wolfpack at 6 p.m. later that day.