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Sunday, November 21, 2004

Dorsey sparks sweep of A&M

KU volleyball player ignores injury in 3-0 victory

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With time running out on her season -- and her volleyball career -- senior Jill Dorsey ignored the pain in her injured elbow Saturday night and helped Kansas University pull off a badly needed sweep of 13th-ranked Texas A&M.;

"Once the adrenaline gets going, you don't feel it much," said Dorsey, who suffered torn ligaments and hyperextended her left elbow Nov. 12 in KU's 3-0 loss at third-ranked Nebraska. "It was a good feeling tonight."

Today could be a different story for the former Wellsville standout, who often held her damaged arm between serves and was in obvious pain after the Jayhawks' 30-28, 32-30, 31-29 victory.

Dorsey was held out of Wednesday's 3-1 loss at 11th-ranked Texas. Dorsey, KU's libero, said she was "80 percent at best" Saturday and probably would be done for the season if she weren't a senior.

"That was the first thing the doctor asked me, 'Are you a senior?'" she said. "I have two matches left ... hopefully more. We have to win at Texas Tech, and we have to beat Colorado."

The Jayhawks (16-11 overall, 7-11 Big 12) need to finish strong to secure an NCAA Tournament bid. They entered Saturday night's match in seventh place in the conference with three matches remaining. KU hadn't defeated a ranked team in seven chances since a 3-1 victory over then-25th-ranked Wisconsin on Sept. 10, and it had not swept a ranked foe since Nov. 22, 2003, when the Jayhawks defeated A&M; at Horejsi.

"We knew we had that kind of effort in us to win," KU coach Ray Bechard said. "That is the best we have played three games in row, maybe all year, and I hope that is a sign of things to come later in the week."

Things didn't come easily Saturday.

There were 16 ties in the first game, and neither team led by more than two points until junior setter Andi Rozum's two service points made it 28-24. Junior outside hitter Paula Caten later closed it out with one of her 11 kills.

Junior Josi Lima (16 kills), sophomore Jana Correa (11) and senior Ashley Michaels (10) also were in double figures. Rozum finished the match with 49 assists.

"What really jumps out at me when I look at our statistics is that we only had 12 hitting errors in three games against the second-best blocking team in the Big 12," Bechard said. "Andi Rozum did a great job of distributing the ball tonight."

Rozum had help from Dorsey, who had 16 digs despite her heavily wrapped left arm.

"She had a great game," Lima said of Dorsey. "She came back strong."

The Aggies (17-7, 13-5) took a 24-23 lead in the second game -- which was tied 13 times -- but A&M; allowed KU to stay close by putting three of its next four serves into the net. A&M;'s Lindsay Frantz served for the game at 30-29, but Correa got a side out and Michaels and freshman Emily Brown posted consecutive blocks to end it, 32-30.

"The key to winning games is staying calm," said Lima, who had 10 digs. "If you get desperate, you do stupid things."

It was more of the same in game three, which had 15 ties. It was 29-all when Caten's kill gave KU a sideout, and her final kill ended the game and the match.

"I think we did a great job of playing as a team," Lima said. "We had a great scouting report, and we came well prepared."

The Jayhawks travel Wednesday to Texas Tech before closing out the regular season Saturday with a Senior Night match against Colorado.

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Note: Michaels became the eighth player in school history to record 1,000 career kills. She joined Lima as the second Jayhawk this season to reach the milestone.

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