Jayhawks punch ticket to round of 16 for first time in school history
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Junior outside hitter Chelsea Albers couldn't have picked a bigger stage to turn in a career-high 18 kills and 17 digs for her seventh double-double of the season as Kansas defeated Creighton in four sets 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21 Saturday evening inside Allen Fieldhouse. The win gives the Jayhawks their first berth into the NCAA tournament round of 16.
Albers finished the NCAA first and second rounds as the most consistent player for the Jayhawks, setting new career-highs in kills in both of Kansas' (25-7) victories against Wichita State on Friday and Creighton (23-9) Saturday. In the Jayhawks' five trips to the postseason, none of them ended in a regional round appearance – until now.
It wasn't just Albers who came up big when Kansas needed to get something going on offense. Sophomore outside hitter Tiana Dockery provided much-needed ignition off of the bench. Her 14 kills sparked the 3,052 fans inside Allen Fieldhouse, giving the Jayhawks crucial momentum it needed to fend off Creighton late in the match.
The Kansas offense recorded 59 kills compared to Creighton's 49, in large part to receiving accurate passes from senior setter Erin McNorton. The Big 12 setter of the year dished-out 51 assists to the Jayhawks - becoming second all-time in Kansas history for assists in a season with 1,488.