Jayhawk volleyball wins Golden Dome Invitational
- Sep. 16, 2012
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Notre Dame ended Kansas’ nine-match winning streak Sunday, bouncing back from losing the first set to beat the Jayhawks 3-1 in the Golden Dome Invitational.
Kansas, Notre Dame and Loyola Marymount each finished the tournament with a 2-1 record. The tournament’s tiebreaker rules gave Kansas the tournament crown, and redshirt junior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc was named the tournaments MVP. Senior middle blocker Tayler Tolefree joined her on the all-tournament team.
All four sets in the Notre Dame match finished within three points, and the Jayhawks won the first set 25-22. They controlled most of the second set and led 20-15, but Notre Dame used an 8-0 run to take the lead. Kansas fought off set point three times, but the Fighting Irish held on for a 26-24 second set win.
“We made a couple of unforced errors at the end of set two,” coach Ray Bechard said. “We could’ve made smarter choices with what was in front of us. They’re a physical bunch, but you compound that when you make an attack that creates opportunities for them to be even more physical.”
Sophomore outside hitter Sara McClinton led Kansas with 18 kills against Notre Dame, and was one of three Jayhawks with at least 10 kills. However, the team struggled to find an offensive rhythm, and finished the match with a .207 hitting percentage.
Tolefree led the Jayhawks with a .333 attack percentage. She said Notre Dame did a better job of setting the tone for the match, which kept Kansas from getting into a groove.
“I think they took away the shots that we are most comfortable with,” Tolefree said. “There was some hesitation trying to get a feel for how the match was going to go, but we take it upon ourselves to set the tone in the match and not wait and feel it out.”
Just like the second set, the Jayhawks began the third set with the lead, but it never surpassed four points. Trailing 15-13, Notre Dame used nine kills and two service aces to claim the third set 25-23.
The Jayhawks forced another extended set in the fourth set, fighting back from a 17-14 deficit to tie the set at 24. Kansas briefly grabbed the lead at 26-25, but Notre Dame won four of the next five points to take the set and the match.
Sophomore outside hitter Toni Alugbue paced the Fighting Irish with a match-high 20 kills. Bechard said the Jayhawks knew she would be a factor, but that junior outside hitter Andrea McHugh played more of a role than Kansas expected. She had 13 kills and 14 digs for Notre Dame.
“I think she had three out of the last four kills in the fourth set,” Bechard said. “We just didn’t game plan her as well as we should have.”
Freshman outside hitter Tiana Dockery said Notre Dame emphasized its blocking around the net, and that the Jayhawks took too long making adjustments to counter the Fighting Irish’s presence at the net.
The Jayhawks earned their sixth sweep of the season against Xavier in their second match of the tournament Saturday morning. Jarmoc led the Jayhawks with 14 kills and six blocks, and Tolefree contributed five blocks. Kansas finished with 12 blocks, and Xavier had 5.5 blocks.
The Jayhawks back row also contributed to the three-set sweep. Junior setter Erin McNorton notched 30 assists and a career-high 13 digs, giving her the second double-double of her career. Junior libero Brianne Riley paced the Jayhawks with 14 digs, which moved her into sixth place all-time in school history for career digs at 1,126.
Dockery was the star in the Jayhawks’ first match of the tournament Friday evening against Loyola Marymount. She posted a career-high nine digs and nine block assists. Four of her blocks came in the opening set, a 25-13 Kansas victory which set the tone for the rest of the evening.Kansas finished with 14 total blocks, while Loyola Marymount had six. The Jayhawks defeated the Lions 3-1.
Kansas closes its non-conference season Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. when they host Creighton at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center. The Bluejays have a 10-1 record, while the Jayhawks are 11-2.