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OU Battles to Take Down KU in Five







LAWRENCE, Kan. — In its final match of the regular season, the Oklahoma volleyball team earned a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Kansas inside Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Saturday afternoon.

After falling to the Jayhawks (15-12, 8-8 Big 12) in five sets earlier this season, the Sooners (17-11, 9-7 Big 12) struck back with a five-set win over their own: 25-18, 22-25, 25-21, 22-25, 15-8.

“We were bent but never broke, and that is a sign of a really strong team,” OU head coach Lindsey Gray-Walton said. “It shows the chemistry, the time and the energy they put into each other since January. For them, it’s rewarding. It’s awesome to win on the road. I’m really, really proud of their effort and their fight today.”

OU out-killed Kansas by a 62-56 clip on a .236 hitting percentage. Senior outside hitter Alyssa Enneking led the way with a match-high 20 kills. Sarah Sanders tied a career high with 13 kills while Morgan Miller added a season-high-matching 10.

Sophomore Kylee McLaughlin led the match with 51 assists and added 11 digs for her 14th double-double of the year.

Junior Brianna Kadiku paced the contest with nine blocks, adding six kills. Keyton Kinley led Oklahoma with 14 digs in the match.

Oklahoma took a 1-0 lead in the match with a 25-18 victory in the first frame. The Sooners hit .345 as McLaughlin assisted on all 14 of OU’s kills. OU used an 8-1 run to establish an 18-10 advantage, but the Jayhawks came back to get within three at 19-16.

The Sooners responded with kills from Paige Anderson and Miller and a block by Anderson and McLaughlin to regain the momentum. Another Anderson kill and a service ace by Haley Sanchez sealed OU’s set win.

In the second, the Sooners carried a narrow 15-14 advantage at the media timeout, but KU scored four straight out of the break to build a three-point lead. Oklahoma battled back to tie it at 20-all on a block by Anderson and McLaughlin, but another Kansas run forced a Sooner timeout at 23-20. Although OU would score two straight, KU used a pair of kills to clinch the set 25-22 and tie the match at 1-1.

OU went back on top with a 25-21 win in set three, led by five kills apiece from Enneking and Sanders and four blocks from Kadiku. Although the Sooners led early 13-7, Kansas went on a run to tie it up at 13-13. Oklahoma quickly battled back to regain a four-point lead at 23-19 before closing it out with a Sanders kill and a KU miscue. 

Although OU led 15-14 at the fourth-set media timeout, Kansas scored four straight out of the break to force the Sooners to call a timeout. OU tied it back up at 19-all, but the Jayhawks took a two-point lead late at 23-21 and eventually closed it out with a pair of kills to force a fifth set.

Narrowly leading 5-4 in the final frame, OU went on a 6-0 run to go up by seven. In that span, Enneking tallied a pair of kills, Anderson added one and Morgan Miller registered a service ace. Oklahoma carried its momentum to clinch the match with a 15-8 victory in set five.

The Sooners learn their postseason fate on Sunday when the 2018 DI NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship bracket is announced at 7:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU. Oklahoma is aiming to make its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2014. 

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