Capturing its first win over a top-10 opponent in program history, the West Virginia University volleyball team topped No. 10 Kansas in a five-set thriller on Friday evening, at the Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena, in Lawrence, Kansas.
The Mountaineers moved to 2-3 on the season by winning in set scores of 25-19, 22-25, 25-23, 20-25 and 15-12 over the Jayhawks (1-4). WVU has played in five sets for the third straight match and has taken KU to five frames in six of its last eight matches. The last time the Mountaineers upset the Jayhawks on the road was on Nov. 25, 2017, the squad’s first-ever win over a ranked opponent.
“We never gave up,” sixth-year coach Reed Sunahara said. “I’m proud of the way we played. We were down 8-5 in the fifth. We battled. I told our team that we had to make plays and convert those plays into points, and that’s what we did at the end. We made plays down the stretch. Kansas is a good team, but we didn’t back down. We had ourselves a battle, and luckily, we came out on top.”
The Mountaineers took a 2-1 match lead with a 25-23 third-set victory, but the Jayhawks came back and captured the fourth to even the score at two sets apiece.
Down 8-5 in the fifth, a solo block from redshirt senior middle blocker Audrey Adams jump started a 3-0 scoring streak for the Mountaineers. Junior setter Lacey Zerwas served up an ace to knot the score at 8-8. WVU continued to put up a fight, claiming the lead for the first time off a bad set from KU.
West Virginia later gained a two-point edge off a kill from junior outside hitter Natali Petrova, putting the score at 12-10. Both squads exchanged points, but a Mountaineer miscue brought the Jayhawks back within one at 13-12. WVU reached set point off a service error from Kansas, as senior middle blocker Briana Lynch used her hands to give WVU the 15-12 fifth-set win and 3-2 victory in the contest.
The Mountaineers return to the court on Saturday for another match against the Jayhawks. First serve is set for 6 p.m. ET inside the Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena. The contest will be carried love on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
“We must come out ready to play,” Sunahara said. “We have to come out better than tonight. They (Kansas) are a good team. They are at home, and they are going to rebound. We have to stay focus, and we need to get better.”