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Kansas Outlasts Iowa State for Five-Set Victory


AMES, Iowa ( – The No. 14 Kansas Volleyball team beat Iowa State (23-25, 25-20, 25-18, 23-25, 19-17) in a five-set, extra-point thriller on Saturday evening at Hilton Coliseum.


With the victory, KU splits the weekend series against Iowa State and moves to 19-5, 10-4 Big 12, while the Cyclones go to 17-8, 8-6 Big 12.

Kansas had a tough go in the first set, coming out a bit flat despite outhitting the Cyclones on paper. Iowa State fed off the momentum of their home crowd, and were able to inch past the Jayhawks in the end no matter how gritty the visiting squad appeared.

After some slight adjustments heading into the second set, the Jayhawks were finally able to find their momentum, running up the lead as far as seven points at 14-7. Two of those points came from back-to-back blocks by Kim Whetstone, who made her first appearance since October 27. Once KU got up 17-9, the Cyclones went on a 5-0 scoring run, but after a Kansas timeout, Iowa State served into the net to give Kansas that momentum once again. The Jayhawks were able to maintain their lead through 22-17, but the Cyclones kept trying to close back in. Things got as tight as 23-20, but the Kansas held on to secure the victory.

The Jayhawks opened up the third set with a six-point unanswered run, sending quite the message to start. Iowa State closed in as close as 12-10, but a won challenge by Kansas flipped the momentum back in favor of the visiting squad. From there, it was smooth sailing for Kansas, who seemed much more confident and composed for the duration of the set.

Set four also saw a solid Kansas lead to start off, getting up as far as 10-6 before the Cyclones finally started to claw their way back into it. Jayhawk errors would let them back in 10-10, and a KU timeout would follow. This would be one of 14 ties in the fourth set, proving to be a much more even flow of play later in the set. Iowa State’s largest lead of the set would come at 20-18, but London Davis would deliver in the clutch with a big kill to trail by one. Iowa State was able to edge the Jayhawks in the end, however, forcing a fifth with their narrow victory.

The Cyclones started with a four-point run, leaving the Jayhawks in a similar situation as the night before. The Jayhawks were able to close the gap up to 5-3, then even more so at 7-6 after three huge kills from Ayah Elnady. After a couple ties, Kansas was able to get on a 3-0 scoring run that resulted in a narrow 11-10 lead and an Iowa State timeout. Once the Cyclones got out to an 12-11 lead, Kansas called their second timeout, hoping to regain that momentum. With the Jayhawks up 13-12, Iowa State used their final timeout as well, and it would work for a 13-13 tie. The next tie was at 14-14 after a huge swing from Elnady, and she would give KU the lead right after. Elnady recorded kills on Kansas’ 16th and 17th points as well. From there, it was a battle of grit, and the Jayhawks were able to come out on top in the end.

Elnady ended the night with a team-leading 25 kills, hitting .386 and also recording another double-double with her 13 total digs. Joining her in the attack was Davis with 14 kills and Caroline Bien with 12.

Bien also had a double-double, leading the team with 17 total digs on the night. Brynn Kirsch and Katie Dalton each posted 14 digs a piece, while Camryn Turner had 12. Turner also paced the offense with 48 total assists on the night.

Leading the block party on Saturday night was Davis, who had a team-leading six total, while Whetstone and Onabanjo were both right on her heels with five each.

UP NEXTKansas will host the No. 20 Baylor Bears on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. in Horejsi. The match will be streamed on Big 12 Now ESPN+.