Fourth-ranked Kansas Volleyball successfully continued its quest for a perfect non-conference record this past weekend, sweeping through the Bluejay (Creighton) Invitational in Omaha.
Kansas knocked off host Creighton in the first match of the tournament in a five-set thriller, 25-21, 23-25, 21-25, 28-26, 15-13. Kansas found themselves down two sets to one and trailing 9-4 in the fourth frame before rallying to squeeze out a tight victory.
It’s a good win for Kansas, as Creighton began the season ranked #18. The Bluejays are still receiving votes (RV) despite holding a 4-4 on the young season, but those losses are all to tough teams: #4 Kansas, #23 Kentucky, #24 Southern Cal, and Wichita State (RV). In addition, two of Creighton’s wins are against top 40 teams, Iowa State (RV) and TCU (RV).
In other action, the Jayhawks also took down Chattanooga 3-1 and Northern Iowa 3-0. Junior Madison Rigdon earned her second straight tournament MVP over the weekend.
While the Jayhawks continue to win matches, the five-set affairs against Creighton and especially Arkansas a couple of weeks ago are concerning. I just don’t feel like the Jayhawks are playing their best ball. I don’t know if they’re still experimenting with their rotations or what. Maybe they’re just waiting for conference play to really turn it on.
They’re clearly talented - KU has one of the best setters in the country in Ainise Havili and Kelsie Payne is so good that she just makes it look effortless most of the time. Rigdon is a great all-around player who keeps collecting tournament MVPs and Cassie Wait is one of the best liberos (defenders) in the Big 12.
Once Kansas finds their killer instinct, there’s not going to be very many squads out there that will be able to compete with them.
The Jayhawks will travel to West Lafayette, Indiana, and the campus of Purdue University to compete in the final nonconference action of the year, the Stacey Clark Classic. The Jayhawks will face Xavier, #20 Purdue, and Southeastern Louisiana over the weekend. The matches begin on Friday, Sept 16.
Purdue just knocked off #9 Stanford, so look for the Boilermakers to move up when the rankings are released this week.
The Jayhawks will return to the Horejsi Center on Wednesday, Sept 21, for the start of Big 12 play when the Oklahoma Sooners come calling.