LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas Jayhawks took down the Baylor Bears, the projected second place Big 12 team, defeating them in five sets on Friday night inside Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena.
After losing veterans from last season, the Jayhawks relied on a young core of players. Freshmen Caroline Crawford and Ayah Elnady earned their first start of the season, while Molly Schultz made her season debut as Kansas’ libero.
Kansas (1-0) began its Big 12 only slate in a tough battle against the former Big 12 Champions, dropping the first set 25-19.
The Jayhawks came out strong in the second set getting into a rhythm and starting with an 11-5 lead. Kansas capitalized on Baylor’s sluggish start to the second set and never stopped applying pressure, capturing a commanding win in the second set, 25- 13.
Baylor started the third set on a 5-0 run and forced KU to call a timeout. The young Jayhawk squad kept their composure and battled back to tie the set at 12-all. Kansas had to fight for every point as they edged out the set 25-22.
However, the Bears, who made it to the Final Four in the 2019 NCAA National Championship, were not about to go down without a fight. Baylor jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead and forced Kansas to regroup.
Out of the timeout, Caroline Crawford gave the Jayhawks energy and shifted the momentum with an authoritative kill. The Bears held off the late push by the Jayhawks, as they won the set 25-19, forcing the match to go to a fifth set.
Kansas took a commanding 6-1 lead to start the winner-takes-all final set. The Jayhawk defense held Baylor off and won the match, 15-9.
The KU attack was led by Elnady and Jenny Mosser, who recorded 16 and 14 kills, respectively. Sara Nielsen aided the Kansas attack with 44 assists and Schultz was the team leader with 13 digs.
Kansas faces Baylor in the second match of the weekend Saturday, Sept. 26 at 4 p.m. in the Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena.