LAWRENCE, Kan. – In front of a sold-out crowd, the Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Iowa State Cyclones 3-2 (22:25, 22:25, 25:14, 25:18, 15:7) at the Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena on Senior Day. Saturday afternoon.
The Jayhawks reach a record of 18-9 (8-7 Big 12) while the Cyclones drop to 18-11 (9-6 Big 12).
Redshirt freshman Ayah Elnady had a career-high 19 kills and a double-double in kills and digs (18). Freshman Rhian Swanson amassed a career-high 13 kills in five sets.
The Kansas defense was led by junior Kennedy Farris with 24 digs while graduating Lauren Dooley scored a total of six blocks. Sophomore Camryn Turner earned her 15thth Double-double of the season with 40 assists and 12 digs.
“We were disappointed to be 2-0 down but we played well enough and then this group wouldn’t go away without a fight,” said head coach Ray Bechard. “We were pretty dominant in the last three sets. It was a struggle to get kills early and then we settled in. Rhian Swanson helped us off the bench today and Ayah Elnady isn’t afraid to try. It was definitely a group effort.”
Kansas opened the game with a 4-0 goal run highlighted by a kill from Dooley and Elnady.
The Cyclones were able to get on the board, but Turner and Elnady racked up two more kills for the Jayhawks, putting Kansas to a 6-2 lead.
Elnady had back-to-back service aces followed by a kill from super senior Rachel Langs to move Kansas to 11-5 before the ISU called a timeout. Shortly after the time-out, the Cyclones came back to tie the set at 12 with a 5-0 run.
Iowa State soon took the lead 14-13 before a serve error pushed Kansas up to 14th. A double block by super senior Anezka Szabo and Dooley allowed Kansas to regain the 15-14 lead.
The set went back and forth with four draws until the Cyclones took a 21-18 lead after a 4-0 run. It wasn’t until Elnady got a kill that he brought the ball back to Kansas at 21:19. Sophomore London Davis and Langs denied Iowa State’s offense for a KU block, making it 22-20.
Back-to-back kills from Swanson tied the first set at 22 apiece. ISU finished the set with a 3-0 goal run and finished the set with a 25-22 score.
A rally that ended with a kill from Dooley started the second set 1-0. A 4-0 run by the Cyclones quickly followed until a block from Langs and Elnady put Kansas up 2-4.
Kills from Turner and Elnady followed by a double block from Dooley and Turner put Kansas within one, 7-6. The Jayhawks remained closely associated with the Cyclones. Dooley had her third kill of the afternoon, taking the score to 10-8.
The Cyclones led 14-12, but Swanson responded with her second kill of the match to keep Kansas in the game 14-13. Three consecutive attacking errors by KU forced a timeout, 17-13.
After the timeout, Iowa State scored two more points before Swanson and Elnady scored kills along with a solo block from Dooley that moved Kansas within three, 21-18.
Szabo and Dooley blocked Iowa State’s kill attempt while Elnady had another kill to even the score at 21, prompting the ISU to call for a timeout.
Iowa State ended up winning 25-22.
ISU started set three with a kill, but KU was on the board after a Cyclones service error. Kansas was able to pull away 4-2 after an ISU error.
The Jayhawks went on 6-3 with more Cyclone errors. An ace from Elnady increased KU to 7-3.
Iowa State took the ball back, but Swanson and Turner each got a kill to keep the rhythm going, 10-5. Szabo quickly followed with her own kill to make it 11-5.
Another round of back-to-back kills for Elnady allowed Kansas to stay ahead 16-8. ISU responded with a kill of their own, but Swanson had her seventh kill of the afternoon to put Kansas at 18-11.
Iowa State thought they might retake the ball, but Dooley was right at the net, ready for a kill of his own, going 20-12. Redshirt newcomer Bryn McGehe had her first ace of the game to give KU a 23-14 lead.
The Jayhawks ended set three with a kill from Langs, 25-14 up front.
Elnady opened the fourth set with a kill to lead the set 1-0. Iowa State took the lead on a 3-0 run, 3-1.
A 3-0 scoring run for the Jayhawks quickly followed, highlighted by a kill from Elnady and a double block from Elnady and Langs, putting Kansas back in the lead 4-3. Another run for Kansas followed with a kill from Swanson forcing the Cyclones to regroup and called a timeout at 7-4.
An ace from Elnady and a miss for the Cyclones continued Kansas’ 5-0 run 9-4. The crowd went wild as Dooley pulled in a kill and KU advanced 12-7.
A flyover by the Jayhawks forced the Cyclones into an immediate attack, but Turner was right there to block the ISU for a 13-8 solo block. Another ISU timeout was forced after kills by Swanson and Szabo, making it 15-8.
The energy for Kansas continued as they led the set 18-13. Not too long after that, Elnady had another kill to take the score to 19-13. The Cyclones were able to block the Kansas offense, but then Swanson grounded the ball to make it 21-16.
The end of the set was all KU as the Jayhawks finished the match two sets apiece, 25-18.
Szabo came out with a bang in the fifth set, starting the final set with a solo block and a double block with Dooley, 2-0. ISU earned their first point with a kill, but Elnady had two kills of her own to lead Kansas 4-1 in to keep leadership.
Elnady had another kill as well as a block with langs coming out of Iowa State’s timeout to make it 6-1. Kansas’ 6-0 run was cut short when the team switched sides on the court, 8-1.
At 9-1, the Cyclones stopped the Jayhawks’ scoring run for a point of their own, 9-2. The ISU doubted the ball had arrived at the 11-3 score, but the call was confirmed as Kansas retained the point.
Dooley pushed KU to match point with a kill, 14-6. A few points went to Iowa State, but Kansas ended up winning 15-8.
The Jayhawks hit .476 while the Cyclones stayed at .115.
“I think the total was better than the parts today,” Bechard said. “We had people in all the right places and things were going well for us.”
Kansas will wrap up the regular season on Friday (Nov. 25) in Lubbock, Texas when the Jayhawks take on Texas Tech. The first serve will take place at 6:00 p.m. CT and will air on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.