Kansas and Wichita State will square off inside Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday night for a spot in the Sweet 16 — in volleyball.
The Kansas City Star
The Jayhawks haven’t faced their Sunflower State rival Shockers in basketball since 1993 but will need to swat them down to reach the NCAA regional semifinals for the first time in the KU volleyball program’s history.
KU reached the second round by beating Cleveland State 17-25, 25-10, 25-16, 25-18 in a NCAA Tournament opener Friday night in front of an announced crowd of 3,551 in Lawrence.
The Jayhawks, 26-6, rallied after dropping the first set. Sophomore outside hitter Sara McClinton led KU by making 14 of her 16 kills in the final two sets.
“I’m glad we got through the first set and moved onto the second one,” KU coach Ray Bechard said. “You never know how a team’s going to react in a situation like that. Obviously, it wasn’t our best opening-set performance, but I think what’s important is how we responded after that. We settled down a little bit and got things back under control.”
Cleveland State, 23-7, had won 13 straight matches and forced KU into 10 hitting errors in the first set. But KU responded early in the second by winning six of the first seven points.
McClinton had seven kills in the third set, which KU closed out on a 6-0 run. The Vikings closed to within 9-8 in the fourth set, but KU scored three straight points and nine of the next 12, putting the match out of reach.
KU junior setter Erin McNorton had 45 assists and 13 digs for her 11th double-double of the season and the Jayhawks got six blocks from senior Tayler Tolefree and five from junior Caroline Jarmoc.
Next up is Wichita State at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Shockers lost the first two sets in Friday’s opening match, then rallied to beat Arkansas 16-25, 25-27, 25-17, 25-23, 15-10. Ashley Andrade led the Shockers with 23 kills and .564 attack percentage, and added five blocks. Elizabeth Field had 14 kills and four blocks, Chelsey Feekin had 54 assists, 16 digs, four blocks and six kills.