Saturday, September 28, 2019

KU volleyball falls to No. 2 Baylor 3-0 in Big 12 opener

KU volleyball senior middle blocker Zoe Hill goes up for a block against Morehead State. KU defeated Morehead State 3-0 Thursday, Sept. 12.

KU volleyball senior middle blocker Zoe Hill goes up for a block against Morehead State. KU defeated Morehead State 3-0 Thursday, Sept. 12.


Playing the No. 2 team in the nation is rarely a simple task, but pairing that with a four-match losing streak meant Kansas volleyball had its hands full Saturday in the team’s Big 12 opener.

“You should play with a free mind,” KU coach Ray Bechard said. “You should play with a challenge and opportunity mindset in that, what do you have to lose?

“You’ve got to put them in a competitive situation where they feel pressure.”

And while the Jayhawks had their shining moments of applying that pressure, particularly in a tightly contested third set, No. 2 Baylor controlled the match from the start en route to a 3-0 (25-15, 25-13, 25-22) win over KU.

“This is one of the best offensive teams in the country, and we did little to slow that down,” Bechard said. “The first two sets you’re digging yourself out of a hole, and the third set we respond better.

“So we need to make a bit more consistent effort defensively and create opportunities where they don’t get on those 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-point runs.”

The Bears wasted no time getting settled into Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena as Baylor jumped out to a quick 10-3 lead in the first set. KU made a bit of a comeback late cutting the lead to 21-14, but Baylor held on to take the first frame.

The Jayhawks hit for just a .062 clip in the first set while the Bears hit for an impressive .458 clip, illustrating the mostly one-sided display.

And the second set played out nearly identical to the first, with Baylor this time jumping out to a 9-1 lead and feeling very much in control.

Once again, though, timeouts helped KU to at least slow down the momentum and keep Baylor within striking distance at a 20-12 margin.

But Baylor once again showed why it’s the No. 2 team in the nation by staying in the moment and clinching the second set to take a commanding 2-0 match lead.

KU slightly improved to a .103 hitting percentage while Baylor maintained pace at a .484 clip in the second set.

The third set signified a shift in the match, though, with KU this time jumping out to a 4-2 lead, including a service ace by sophomore middle blocker Rachel Langs.

“We just felt like we needed to get off to a better start,” Bechard said of the shift in momentum. “With a group like (Baylor) that can get into an offensive rhythm and momentum can snowball a little bit, you’ve got to get off to a good start.”

KU also stuck around longer than the previous two sets, with the third frame being the most tightly contested set of the match. After that initial surge by the Jayhawks, KU matched Baylor’s aggression, trailing 19-16 deep in the third set.

And the Jayhawks managed to win back the serve trailing 22-18, and kills by Langs and junior setter Sara Nielsen cut the margin to 22-20.

Langs finished with a team-high seven kills on a .238 hitting percentage.

“I thought she was as locked in as anybody,” Bechard said.

But Baylor junior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley wouldn’t allow the third set to slip away, securing two kills down the stretch to grab the set and match win.

Bechard looks at teams like Baylor and Texas as the “benchmark of where the league is at” right now and can provide quality learning opportunities for this Jayhawk team.

“Obviously we just saw an elite team — one of the best teams in the country,” Bechard said. “We’ve got to create behaviors, create opportunities, positive touches that will allow us to compete day in and day out with teams at that level.”

Kansas will travel to Iowa State at 7 p.m. Wednesday.


Layne Pierce 3 years, 2 months ago

No Ennis today, is she on probation? Did the NCAA take her eligibility away?

Honestly, this team may not win another game all year They may not win a set? They are quickly becoming the football equivalent.

I keep waiting for this team to look like they really care, and they are improving, and I am very sorry to say, I don't see it.

There is something wrong when we have such a bad hitting percentage. And other teams have such a high percentage. Is it the setter? Or the fact that we simply don't have killers doing the killing? Or is it simply that we don't have the athletes? Pick your poison.

What a shame to have a new facility, and one of the worst KU teams in the last 10 years.
Also, why have we never received an explanaton for Jada Burse leaving? She would have been a big difference this year.


Bville Hawk 3 years, 2 months ago

I have waited a couple hours since returning from today's Baylor match thinking I would cool off a bit. It hasn't helped.

I am so totally frustrated and PO'd at the way our coaching staff is using our experienced and veteran players. I have been complaining that we are frequently playing 3 freshman at the same time and today we played 2 and 3 freshman simultaneously during the 1st 2 sets and got hammered 15 and 13. In the 3rd set we play 5 and 6 veterans simultaneously and almost win the set. Coincidence? I don't know, it is very possible that Baylor just lost focus after the 1st 2 sets (I honestly think they could have won both those sets with only 4 or 5 players on the floor versus our 6).

Our coach says “The first two sets you’re digging yourself out of a hole, and the third set we respond better. So we need to make a bit more consistent effort defensively and create opportunities where they don’t get on those 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-point runs.”

So he thinks defensive effort consistency is the problem? Hey coach, how about considering defensive EXPERIENCE as the problem?

Mostram and Suter both played a lot last year and this year they are being used sparingly. Why? Why? Why?

Carrier red shirted last year and has been playing at least as well as the freshman bigs and today she doesn't see the floor. Why? Why? Why?

Now to Camryn Ennis. How have we fallen so far so fast??? We were an elite team last season thru 18 games and as I recall ranked nationally in the Top 20. Last year at this time we were in the middle of a 9 game winning streak that would eventually take us to 15-3 and 6-1 in the Big 12 (tied for 1st in the conference) with a home 4 set win over Texas.

      What happened then?  What happened is Camryn Ennis got hurt and didn't play much the remainder of the season.  Since Ennis got hurt last year we are 6-14 and today she doesn't even  get on the court.  She is apparently completely healthy now and barely playing.  I'll repeat, we are 6-14 since she got hurt last season.  She was our primary setter last season when we were playing so well, now she is playing behind Minnesota U. transfer Sara Nielsen who played in a total of 44 SETS in 2 full seasons as a scrub at Minnesota and now for us she plays 100% of every set of every match!!!  How can a player such as Ennis who was so integral to our success last season and a 6 position player last year not even see the floor today?  What are our coaches thinking?  Why are we treating one of our best and probably our most versatile player so shabbily?  And treating her this way to the apparent detriment of the team's success.

It seems our coaches have an agenda that doesn't have winning at the top of the list. Writing all this hasn't helped, I am still totally pissed. If the coaches don't wake up this is the last year I'll be buying season tickets. Life is too short to have to watch clueless, overpaid coaches drag our team down the crapper.

Layne Pierce 3 years, 2 months ago

Bville Do you think AD Long is paying attention? Surely you and I and Phil aren't the only people paying attention? As you and I know Experience does matter. Last year was a disappointment. I have no words to describe this year. The way the ball program is running right now reminds me of the last years of Ted Owens. OBVIOUSLY Coach Bechard is grasping for straws. The players who can do kills cannot defend except for Rachel Langs, without Jada Burse ,he has had to play VanDriel and Hickman, and suddenly Kennedy Ferris is playing more than mostrom or suter. If bechard is back next year then look for bechard to recruit 4 new players and insert them into the starting lineup Alan Owen's in basketball. The program is very close to collapse. But the way without coaching and a workable plan recruiting wont have much effect. RCJH

Layne Pierce 3 years, 2 months ago

coach Bechard said that watching a team like Baylor can teach the team what they need to do.???? What??? That sounds like what you would say if you had a team with no seniors, or juniors, or even sophomores. So Ashley Smith has not seen greatness already in 4 years, Zoe Hill has not learned how to play yet? Camryn Ennis did not learn anything last year? Rachel Langs is the exception? Are players coached, or do they just learn by symbiosis?


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