Kansas cruises past Cleveland State

Kansas will face Wichita State on Saturday.

By Blair Scheade

Kansas volleyball wins its first NCAA tournament match since 2005 against Cleveland State University.  The match was held in Allen Fieldhouse for only the second time this season, but didn’t distract the #11 ranked Jayhawks.  The  volleyball team had 3,551 in attendance to witness the team’s first NCAA tournament win in seven seasons.

“The crowd didn’t effect our team because we strive on the energy from the crowd,” said Senior outside hitter Kara Koch. “We didn’t get nervous, and that’s why you saw us win the first set.”

The Vikings, who won their previous thirteen matches, won the first set 25-17. Kansas struggled offensively due to ten attacking errors from 40 attack attempts.

“None of the girls on the team have played in a tournament match before,” said first team All-Big 12 middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc. “Getting those kinks out early was important.”

The Jayhawks did straighten their kinks out by the start of the second set. Kansas started with a 3-0 run to determine the pace for the rest of the set and went on to win it 25-10. The Jayhawks had zero attacking errors, eight kills and four blocks in the second set. Jarmoc was the contributor to three of the four blocks and two kills.

“We were able to slow them down in the second set,” said Kansas coach Ray Bechard. “This is not a 3 set or 4 set match, this isn’t a sprint. You have to ground it out.”

The third set was where first team All-Big 12 outside hitter Sara McClinton stood out.  McClinton had 7 kills off 11 attempts compared to two kills in the pervious two sets.

“My teammates were telling me they have my back, so swing away, and it was effective,” McClinton said.

The third set ended with a 6-0 run by the Jayhawks and a 25-16 victory.

“We pressured the other team with our blocks and serves,” Bechard said.

McClinton carried her kill spree into the fourth set where she added seven of her 16 kills.   Kansas kept the set close until a 4-1 run to push the Jayhawks past Cleveland State to win the final set 25-18.

The Kansas women’s volleyball team will continue their run into the NCAA tournament tomorrow at the Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks will face off against in-state opponent Wichita State, who beat BCS powerhouse Arkansas 3-1.

Kansas will face Wichita State at 6:30 p.m. at the Allen Fieldhouse and Bechard expects a bigger crowd.

“We played them in the spring,” Jarmoc said. “Wichita State has an active setter in the front row, so we have to play disciplined on defense and vigilant on offense.”

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