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KU Volleyball Falls to Nebraska 3-1

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Jayhawks fall in their first-ever Final Four.

The place was rocking early, and yes, it was cram-packed full of Nebraska fans.  May as well be playing this game in Lincoln.

The Jayhawks took early 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the first set, but a 6-6 tie was as good as it would get as the Cornhuskers held KU at arm's length for the entirety of the first set, dropping Kansas 25-20.  The story of the first set was service errors.  Kansas is known for attacking with the service game.  Being aggressive leads to more errors than most teams, but it usually evens out in aces.  However, in Set 1 Kansas had zero aces against four service errors.  It was only the fourth time all season Kansas dropped the first set.

It was more of the same in Set 2.  KU was in the midst of playing one of their worst sets of the season, trailing 21-14, before a late run made it slightly interesting.  Nebraska prevailed 25-21, with Kansas hitting three more service errors without an ace.  For only the second time this season, the Jayhawks went into the break trailing two sets to none.

Kansas took leads of 2-0 and 5-3 in the third, then went neck-and-neck with the Huskers for a while.  KU kept battling and re-took leads of 13-11 and 16-13.  The ‘Hawks maintained the lead through 19-16 and 23-18 before Nebraska made a small run.  But Kansas prevailed 25-20.  And, to better illustrate my earlier point, Kansas had zero service errors in the third set while picking up their first ace of the match.  The Jayhawks also played incredible defense, holding NU to a .078 hitting percentage after the Husker's went .300 in the first two sets.  (If I remember correctly, no opponent has hit over .300 against KU this season.)

Kansas took an early 5-4 lead in the third set but Nebraska stormed back, going up 11-8, igniting the arena, and forcing the Jayhawks to call timeout.  Kansas had to call another timeout after Nebraska went up 16-12, but the Jayhawks seemingly had no answer for the Huskers as NU stretched their lead to 18-12.  Kansas came back to within two at 18-16, but Nebraska put the hammer down (sorry) and won the last seven in a row to claim a 25-16 set, taking the match 3-1.

What a season for these Jayhawks, though.  I'm not sure anyone thought they would make it this far.  Kansas only has three seniors on this team, and while they'll really miss Tiana Dockery next year, the Jayhawks have a core of seven sophomores that, barring any transfers, will be back.  Kansas shouldn't be going anywhere, and should be a fixture in women's college volleyball for at least the next two years.