Despite Kansas volleyball sweeping Oklahoma earlier this season, the Oklahoma Sooners defeated the Jayhawks 3-2 in a tight, aggressive match in front of a sold-out crowd at Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena on Oct. 30.
“It’s just a great environment,” head coach Ray Bechard said. “We were in a sellout situation and Oklahoma played teams tough the whole time and they had to come through. Unfortunately it happened today, but we really thought it was a great environment and we’re looking forward to another big crowd on Wednesday.”
Kansas super-senior opposite Anezka Szabo had a career-high 19 kills and Sooners freshman outside hitter Taylor Preston had a career-high and match-high 22 kills.
Kansas started set one aggressively, taking three points off the board with three straight kills, allowing just one point to Oklahoma.
The Sooners went on a 3-0 run to give Oklahoma a 9-6 lead. Kansas got a point, but the Sooners went on to score four more points off Jayhawk errors and a kill to make it 13-8.
Kansas went on a 4-0 run thanks to a Szab kill, two Oklahoma attack errors and a service ace to make it 17-13. The Sooners put together a 3-0 run to battle the Jayhawks to make it 20-14.
Kansas went on a 4-0 run thanks to three Oklahoma errors and a kill by sophomore Caroline Bien that pushed the game to within two points, 21-19. The Jayhawks struggled to stay alive as they went back and forth with Oklahoma, but the Sooners won the first set 25-23.
Despite Oklahoma winning set one, Kansas scored the first point of the second set when the Sooners committed an offense. The next three points were errors committed by both teams to tie the game at two.
Shooting dominated more back-and-forth play until a savvy kill by Kansas sophomore setter Camryn Turner and Bien’s second solo block that made it 15-14 at the media timeout.
Kansas made it 3-0 and 19-16 on a fielding error by Oklahoma and a kill by redshirt freshman outside hitter Ayah Elnady. Superstar middle blocker Rachel Langs returned the energy to the sellout crowd to force a Sooner timeout.
After back-and-forth, Kansas took the second set 25-22.
The Jayhawks hoped to keep the momentum going in the pivotal third set, but Oklahoma reeled off four straight points in the third set. It was because of the Sooners’ first two service aces of the match, a kill and an attack error on Bien that forced a Kansas timeout.
Oklahoma continued to come out strong, but Kansas was right on their heels to tie it at eight off an unexpected, hard kill by Turner, a kill by Bien and the fourth service ace of the match by Elnady.
After Kansas took a solid lead at 16-13 on another Turner kill, the momentum shifted back to the Jayhawks. However, Oklahoma went on a 4-0 run to take the lead back at 17-16.
Kansas and Oklahoma continued to play aggressively back and forth until the Sooners put the final nail in the coffin with a kill in left-center to win the deciding third set 25-22.
Kansas looked to stay alive in the match, taking a 9-6 lead in the fourth set thanks to a 3-0 run thanks to a service ace and two kills by Szabo. The Jayhawks continued to lead, going 4-1 to make the score 19-15, forcing Oklahoma to take a timeout.
The crowd came alive as the Jayhawks scored two more points to make it 21-16, forcing another Oklahoma timeout. Kansas stayed alive as they won, 25-21.
In the fifth set, Kansas and Oklahoma battled for every point — if one team scored, the other followed, as the score was tied at six.
The Jayhawks were free as the teams switched sides when Kansas was the first team to hit eight. The teams continued to battle until the Sooners made it 3-1 and the score 13-11.
The Jayhawks tied the score at 13 and forced a Sooners timeout. However, Oklahoma scored the final two points to win the match, 16–14.
Next up, the Kansas Jayhawks take on the Kansas State Wildcats at Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena on November 2nd at 6:30pm on ESPN+.