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Kansas Volleyball Suffers First Defeat of 2016

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Jayhawks move to 11-1 on the year but fall to #8 in the rankings.

KU Volleyball
KU Volleyball

The Jayhawks traveled to the campus of Purdue University this past weekend where they faced off against Xavier, #14 Purdue, and Southeastern Louisiana.

In the opener for KU, Xavier gave the Jayhawks all they could handle in a 3-2, 5-set victory. The Jayhawks trailed at some point in each of the first four sets but were able to rally in sets 2 and 4, finally dominating the fifth-set for a harder-than-it-looked victory. Seven of KU’s 15 points in the final frame came via attack errors from Xavier, and two points came from service errors by the Musketeers.

KU’s penchant for falling behind finally cost the Jayhawks in the matchup with #14 Purdue. Once again, KU trailed in every set in the match, but this time the opponent was too good to let the Jayhawks claw their way back in. Despite every statistic going Purdue’s way, the Jayhawks hung tough for three sets before going out with a whimper in set 4 as Purdue closed out the match on a 10-1 run. Purdue took the match 3-1.

Kansas wrapped up the tournament by taking down Southeastern Louisiana with relative ease in straight sets, 3-0.

Ranking Update

Kansas fell from #4 to #8 in the latest rankings while Purdue moved from #14 to #10. As for Big 12 teams, Texas dropped from #2 to #5 after falling to #3 Wisconsin. Texas is 8-2 on the year, but those two losses are the Wiscy loss plus a loss to top-ranked and unbeaten Nebraska. #23 Kansas State is the only other Big 12 team in the rankings. No other Big 12 teams received any points in the latest poll.

Observations

We knew starting the season that Purdue would be a good test for Kansas, but we didn’t know how good. The Boilers are now 10-1 on the season with wins over #4 Kansas, at #9 Stanford, and Washington State (RV). The one loss is a puzzler to an OK-but-not-great Kentucky squad, but hey, upsets happen. Purde is long, tall, and athletic, attacks aggressively and digs everything. It reminded me of Texas, so hopefully this was a wakeup call for the Jayhawks with conference play – and a matchup with the Longhorns – right around the corner.

Up Next

Conference play begins this week as KU hosts Oklahoma in the Horejsi Center on Wednesday, Sept 21 at 6 PM. The match is televised on ESPNU and you should also be able to stream it on WatchESPN.

Saturday, Sept 24 sees the Jayhawks travel to Austin for the first showdown with Texas. The match is set for 7 PM and will be available on the Longhorn Network.