OREM, Utah - Battling a second Top 10 opponent this season, Long Beach State (1-4) did well against No. 9 Kansas (5-0) on Friday afternoon at the Wolverine Invitational. But after the Beach took the first set, the Jayhawks were able to come back for a 17-25, 25-19, 25-14, 25-23 win to deny the Long Beach upset bid.
Junior Megan Kruidhof led the Beach with a career-best 17 kills on a career-high 51 attempts. YiZhi Xue was second on the team with eight kills and a .571 hitting percentage and Hailey Harward paced the defense with 14 digs. Alexis Patterson dished out a season-best 36 assists, adding eight digs and six kills on .357 hitting.
Long Beach State got off to a terrific start in set one, jumping out to a 9-1 advantage. The Jayhawks contributed with four miscues in that run, and hit .000 in the first set with eight hitting errors. LBSU survived five service errors in the frame, and closed the set on consecutive aces from Emma Kirst to win comfortable, 25-17. Xue was in on all three of Long Beach State’s blocks in the set, and the team had an impressive sideout percentage of 88.
The Beach led 13-9 in the second set before Kansas made a run to bring things even. With the teams tied at 18-18, the Jayhawks scored three straight on a pair of kills and a block by Kelsie Payne. The senior finished with a match-high 20 kills on .381 hitting. The Jayhawks closed set two on a 7-1 run to even the match at the break.
LBSU fell behind 7-2 early in set three, and never got within three points the rest of the frame. Kansas hit a whopping .469 in the third game and LBSU had just eight digs as KU cruised to a 25-14 win to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Even with the Jayhawks having momentum, Long Beach State didn’t fade away in set four. Thanks to a pair of early kills by Patterson, LBSU took a 5-1 advantage early in the must-win set. The teams tied 12 times in set four and the lead changed six times. The teams were level at 22-all late in the set, before Kansas scored two straight for match point at 24-22. The Beach survived the first match point on a Kruidhof kill, but the Jayhawks put the match away on the next point. Payne had an impressive nine kills in set four alone to push the Jayhawks over the top, and Kruidhof had six to try to keep the Beach in it.
LBSU will look to salvage a win at the Wolverine Invitational on Saturday, taking on hosts Utah Valley at 11 a.m. PT. The match can be streamed for free on the WAC Digital Network.
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