K-State volleyball splits season series with KU

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Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Brynn Carlson and teammates celebrate her kill during the game against the University of Kansas on Oct. 23, 2019 in Ahearn Field House. (Sabrina Cline | Collegian Media Group)

The volleyball team went into Lawrence on Saturday afternoon looking for a second season sweep in the annual Sunflower Showdown. Not even three players reaching double-digit kills could stop the Jayhawks on Saturday as Kansas State fell to KU in four sets to split the season series with the Jayhawks for the first time since 2014.

The Jayhawks held K-State (8-17, 3-10) under a .300 hitting percentage in each set. The Wildcats hit their highest at a .294 in the second set, the one set the Wildcats won. KU (8-15, 4-9) hit over .300 for almost the entire match until the fourth set where both teams combined for 18 errors and hit below .120 percent.

Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Brynn Carlson led the Wildcats with 12 kills and two blocks. Freshman outside hitter Anna Dixon and redshirt junior middle blocker Peyton Williams recorded 10 kills to their names. Dixon also recorded three block assists and two aces. Williams had three block assists and three aces on the day with a team-high .421 hitting percentage.

KU had four players in double-digit kills compared to K-State’s three. Sophomore middle blocker Rachel Langs led the way for the Jayhawks with 13 kills on 18 attacks for a .556 hit percentage.

The Jayhawks dominated the opening set 25-18, leading by as many as 11 points with 18 kills and hitting an impressive .517 percent. K-State hit their second-lowest percentage of the day at a .174 while Williams led the way for the Wildcats with three kills and three service aces.

KU had a three-point lead going down the stretch in a tight second set, but K-State didn’t let it last, finishing the set on an 8-3 run to take it 25-23. Dixon led the rally with three kills and two service aces. As a team, the Wildcats hit at a .294 percentage in set two, their highest of the day.

It was another tight one in set three, but K-State just couldn’t put things together enough to get a lead, trailing the entire way to a 25-23 defeat. K-State even had a 16-14 advantage in kills, but it was the six errors compared to KU’s three and the lack of scoring runs that ranks the Wildcats into a 2-1 hole.

K-State wouldn’t go down without a fight in the fourth set, as the set had 12 ties, seven lead changes and two-straight match points for the Jayhawks that the Wildcats fended off. It just wasn’t enough as KU took the final set 26-24.

K-State ended the match with a .215 hitting percentage on 49 kills and 23 errors on 121 attacks while KU finished with a .314 hitting percentage on 57 kills and 19 errors on 121 attacks.

The loss extends K-State’s losing streak to three matches and six road matches.

The good news for the Wildcats is that their next two matches are at home, starting with Oklahoma (16-8, 8-5) at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Ahearn Field House. That game will air live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ as well as on KMAN.

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