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Leah McNary
Courtesy: Laura Jacobsen

No. 22 Kansas Hands No. 23 Volleyball First Loss

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The No. 22 Kansas Volleyball team saved two crucial set points in the second set en route to the Kansas Invitational title with a 3-1 win over No. 23 Creighton on Saturday afternoon in Lawrence, Kan.

Scores of the match in favor of the host Jayhawks were 25-21, 27-25, 17-25, 25-16. Both teams are now 2-1 on the season.

Kansas won a three-way tiebreaker with Creighton and Lipscomb to claim the event title. With all three teams finishing 2-1, the Jayhawks were awarded first place for having the best set record in the event. KU was 8-4, Creighton 7-4 and Lipscomb 7-6. Utah Valley went 0-3 in the event to take fourth place.

Kansas opened the match with a 25-21 victory in set one that was much closer than the score would indicate. The score was tied at 20-all before KU scored five of the last six points, including a kill from Tiana Dockery followed by Dockery's solo stuff to close the set. KU hit .323 and had four blocks, while Creighton had nine attack errors and hit .119.

Kansas survived a pair of set points to rally and win the second set, 27-25.  After Creighton had taken control with five straight points to lead 17-13, the Jayhawks steadily crept closer.  CU's 22-18 lead turned into a 23-all deadlock. Twice Leah McNary pounded a kill to give the Jays a set point opportunity, but after she rotated out KU answered with the next three points thanks to two kills by Dockery and a Bluejay attack error.

Creighton answered in the third set, never trailing in a 25-17 victory.  Creighton's offense hit a robust .296 in the set, and its defense was also up to the challenge with four blocks and 18 digs (10 by Kate Elman) while limiting KU's attack to .054 hitting.

Creighton led 6-5 early in the fourth set before KU embarked on an 11-2 burst that pushed the lead to 16-8. It would be too much for CU to overcome.

McClinton led all players with 18 kills in the match, doing so while hitting .412. Dockery lended plenty of support, adding 15 kills on .310 hitting. Cassie Wait added a career-high 27 digs and Havili recorded 48 assists. Kansas finished with 54 kills, five aces, 62 digs and 8.0 blocks on .250 hitting.

McNary paced Creighton with 11 kills, including six in the third set victory. Kelli Browning added 10 kills and a team-high five blocks on .316 hitting. Kate Elman had 26 digs to pace a Bluejay defense that had 58 overall. CU also had 51 kills, four aces and 8.0 blocks on .177 hitting.

Creighton returns to action next weekend with three matches in the Commonwealth Classic in Lexington, Ky. The Bluejays meet old Missouri Valley Conference rival Northern Iowa on Friday at 4 pm before facing No. 5 USC on Saturday at 10 am and closing out the event with a 6:30 pm contest against tourney host and No. 19, Kentucky.

NOTES: Kate Elman reached double-figures in digs for the 26th straight match for Creighton ... Due to tiebreakers in place, Creighton would have won the Kansas Invitational title by winning two or more sets vs. Kansas ... Creighton dropped to 3-53 all-time vs. ranked opposition, including a 0-28 mark in true road contests.
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