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Kansas Volleyball downs Utah Valley Wolverines in straight sets.

Kansas improves to 4-0 with a sweep in their first match of the Wolverine Invitational in Orem, Utah.

KU Volleyball 2015 Final Four
KU Volleyball 2015 Final Four

Despite winning their first 3 matches of the season, Kansas Volleyball fell one spot in the rankings coming into this weekend’s tournament in Orem, Utah. The Jayhawks didn’t let that phase them, as they swept the Utah Valley Wolverines to improve to 4-0 on the season. As usual, tonight’s recap comes to you with the much appreciated contributions of the KU Volleyball twitter feed (@KUVolleyball)

Pre-match

First Set:

The Jayhawks jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead on the back of two strong kills by Kelsie Payne, but Utah Valley fought back, trading blows as neither team was able to get much separation. The largest KU lead was 12-8, but the Wolverines fought back to tie it at 13. The set stayed close through this play:

Even though the Wolverines tied the set immediately after, the Jayhawks were sparked an quickly reeled off 4 straight points to take a commanding lead.

In all, Kansas ended the set on an 8-3 run, taking the first set.

Second Set:

The second set looked like it was going to be similar to the first, as Utah Valley scored the first point and was able to pace KU out to a 3-3 tie. But the Jayhawks quickly took over, as 5 kills from Kelsie Payne helped push them out to a large lead.

Payne continued to dominate on offense, contributing 3 more kills and a service ace to push the Jayhawks to a second set victory.

Third Set:

It looked like the third set might be the one that Kansas came out slow and never recovered, as Utah Valley jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and seemed to match any run the Jayhawks tried to make. Looking closer though, this run was fueled by 8 attacking errors (5 of them blocks) on the part of the Jayhawks. Without actually watching the match, I can’t tell if this was poor attacking on the offense or just spectacular defensive positioning by the defense, but the defense by Ainise Havili saved the set, keeping the Jayhawks within striking distance.

Kansas finally eliminated the errors, and they quickly put a run together to take control of the set.

It looked like it would be smooth sailing, but Utah Valley put together a 6-3 run to get back within 22-21.

Utah Valley made one final push, winning the first 2 of 3 match points for Kansas, but Ainise Havili and Kelsie Payne switched their usual roles to finish off the match, with Payne getting the assist and Havili the kill.

This is the first sweep for the Jayhawks this season. They are back in action Friday, Spetember 1st at 3pm against Long Beach State, and then they finish up the weekend against Montana on Saturday, September 2nd at 10:30am. Both of the matches will be available by subscription through FloVolleyball, or you can listen online or your local Jayhawk Radio affiliate.