Kansas volleyball caps 2020 season with series sweep of Texas Tech

The Jayhawks celebrate a point during their four-set, season-ending victory over Texas Tech on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020 at Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena.

For the second night in a row, the Kansas volleyball team used early momentum and physical play at the net to knock off Texas Tech at Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena, 25-17, 27-29, 25-17, 25-20.

The win bookended the Jayhawks’ season with home victories — they opened the season with a five-set win over Baylor on Sept. 25 — and was the third victory in the last four matches for the young Jayhawks.

Kansas (5-9) closed the season by winning four of its final six matches.

“There’s an upward trajectory with this team right now,” KU coach Ray Bechard said after the match. “And I think we’re on a really good path.”

After taking the opening set with ease on Friday, KU continued its roll in the second and led 20-15 late.

But Texas Tech used a 7-1 run to claim the lead and closed that set on a 14-7 run to end KU’s hopes of recording a three-set sweep.

Instead, the Jayhawks settled for a series sweep, their first of the season.

Senior Jenny Mosser, who led Kansas with 17 kills, said the Jayhawks did not talk much about the end of the season heading into this week’s matches.

“It’s definitely in the back of your mind,” Mosser said. “And of course we always want to go out and attack and play hard, but we weren’t really focused on the outcome. We just wanted to play well.”

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Kansas volleyball senior Jenny Mosser tracks down a ball against Texas Tech on Friday, November ...

More than any of the statistics or specific moments, Mosser said one thing from Friday’s victory stood out above all else.

“It was important for us to finish the season strong for sure,” she said. “But it mostly just feels good to go out like this.”

Backed by 12 kills from Caroline Crawford, 10 more from Anezka Szabo and six kills and four blocks by Rachel Langs, KU dominated at the net and displayed extreme hustle in all four sets.

But the Jayhawks also caught some breaks. Midway through the fourth set, Ayah Elnady (eight kills) dug a rocket with her foot. The defensive gem kept KU in the point, and the Jayhawks went up 15-7 moments later. It was that kind of night for the home team, which controlled most of the match from start to finish.

Defensively, sophomore Kennedy Farris recorded a career-high in digs for the second consecutive night. Her 31 digs on Friday included eight in the first set alone and topped the 25 she logged during Thursday's victory over Tech.

“Everything just came together tonight,” said freshman setter Elise McGhie, who capped off a strong first season with 44 assists to help KU hit .253 for the night.

“The thing I liked about tonight was we were pretty consistent all night,” Bechard added.

When KU wasn’t rolling on its own, Texas Tech did its best to help. The Red Raiders hurt themselves all night from behind the serving line. TTU (5-11) committed 16 serving errors — both long and wide — compared to just six for Kansas.

Despite KU announcing it would not have fans in the stands at home games for the rest of November, roughly 85 people were in attendance on Friday night. KU officials said players from both sides were allowed up to four guests apiece.

Texas Tech, which lists 21 players on its 2020 roster, had just 11 players suited up for Friday’s finale.

After taking their lumps throughout the middle portion of the season, the Jayhawks, who played four freshmen and a sophomore in their regular rotation all season, will finish the year in the middle of the Big 12 standings.

While Mosser and McGhie said that would be better to look at years from now when they look back at the 2020 standings, they were more excited about the fact that the entire roster is planning to return next season, including Mosser, who came to KU as a graduate transfer from UCLA.

“That’s the plan,” Mosser said with enthusiasm after Friday’s victory.

While that’s good news on the roster front, Bechard said just getting this young team on the court and actually making it through the season was reason enough to celebrate.

“For us to get 14 of our 16 matches in was great,” Bechard said. “About 90% of the teams out there didn’t play any. And the experience this group got this season was just so valuable.”

Comments

David Klamm

I know Bechard has been the head VB coach for quite some time, but I'm just wondering if he is at risk at all of losing his job. Brand new Horjesi arena and KU has been trending downward since that final 4 appearance and now have missed the tournament for 3 straight seasons. I know they lost a couple of pretty important members of the coaching staff and it seems like KU VB has been worse of since.

1 week, 1 day ago

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Dirk Medema

Congratulations! Exciting things to come.

1 week, 1 day ago

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Chris Condren

The team won two against a sub .500 Texas Tech and the head coach says this is an upward trajectory. What does that mean? It means a long time coach who has run his program into the ground will likely keep his job because there is no price for losing in the KUAD which exists only to pay salaries. RCJH!

1 week, 1 day ago

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Gerry Butler

I'm sure not concerned at all with the ladies. Bechard has done really well in the recruiting. The BIG thing with this years roster is simply experience. - -Out of a roster of 17 players we had 8 Freshmen, & 2 Sophomores. - - 10 out of the 17 players pretty big pct with no or little experience at a P-5 program.

The class that Coach recruited that were Freshmen this year 2020/2021 was ranked in the top `10 in the Nation , he followed that up this year by adding 4 ladies which were highly sought recruited players/

Caroline Bien - - -Prep volleyball # 14 ranked player in the Nation - -- -- 2020 AVCA under Armour All American 1st team - - 2017-2019 Prep Volleyball National Fr ,Soph , & Jr player of the year Finalist - -coming right out here of our home State

London Davis out of Ohio outside hitter Ranked # 35 in the Nation - - Named All Ohio 1st team - pretty good accomplishment right there.

Bryn McGehe - - Prep Volleyball as a 2020 defensive Dandy - - KC Metro top 6 player , Named Volleyball All Conference , All District , & All State as a Junior. - they just don't pas that kind of thing out like Candy.

This program is in really good shape sure in the hell not downward trend - -the only thing they lack is experience and if they DO indeed all come back we gonna be just fine - -gonna be sweet things coming

Yet here is an idea , you so not happy about the program the best thing you can do is trot on down to the AD office and tell him you would like to apply for the Head Coaching position for the Volleyball program - -offer your very experience Coaching background. I'm sure he would be more then happy to take your app - - GOOD LUCK - -it's all about game experience with these ladies it take more then one - -two - -three - -games and ya very easily take a season for as young as the ladies were. - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

1 week, 1 day ago

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Clarence Glasse

I'd give a couple more "thumbs up" if I could. THUMBS UP x 10!

1 week ago

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Layne Pierce

Gerry
Recruiting is great. But results must follow. Record wise this program has underachieved last 5 years, so criticism is valid, we would all love for the record to prove us wrong .

RCJH

1 week ago

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Gerry Butler

for the last 3 years all go right in hand with what I just mentioned. -- it DOESN'T MATTER on record - it still takes time to develop for these ladies so for the last three there is a reason for sure no matter how talented you may be. These other programs not just going to let you win these games. - -These ladies can't account for previous years but to wine about this years team or last yrs team has no point. - -Also please remind me how good was KUY Volleyball BEFORE Coach got here? - - had we EVER been to a final 4 ? - -was there even any interest in Volleyball at KU BEFORE Bechard got here BEFORE he took them to the Final 4 ? . - -some years haven't been great granted - - but I'll take what he is doing any year of what was before and I'll take what's ahead for this program. - -Be nice to see some haters at the Match

1 week ago

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Steven Haag

Recruiting is great. But results must follow...........are we talking about the football team? Experience matters. We will be fine.

1 week ago

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