Volleyball wins

MALIBU, Calif. -- The University of Kansas volleyball team (22-10, 13-7 Big 12) won its first-ever NCAA Tournament match Thursday as it swept Long Beach State (19-11, 12-6 Big West) in the First Round of bracket play.

The Jayhawks defeated the 49ers 30-23, 30-28 and 30-28 at the Firestone Fieldhouse on the Pepperdine University campus.

The teams exchanged leads early in game one until Kansas went on a 7-2 run, taking a 19-13 lead behind two kills each by Sarah Rome and Ashley Michaels. Michaels and Josi Lima continued to dominate at the net and Andi Rozum came up with a huge block at the 26-19 mark to take a commanding lead.

The Jayhawks sealed game one as Lindsey Morris knocked in a kill, 30-23. As a team, Kansas notched a .432 attack percentage and 22 kills with only six errors. The 49ers hit .273 and recorded just 13 kills in game one.

Kansas and Long Beach remained within just two points of one another until late in game two as KU pulled ahead behind Rome's kill at the 27-25 mark. The 'Hawks capitalized off of two 49er hitting errors and prevailed 30-28 in game two, taking a 2-0 lead into the break.

The teams battled through four ties in game three until Long Beach pulled ahead by four, 19-15, forcing a Kansas timeout. The 49ers continued to lead and Kansas broke away to tie the game at 28-28. Morris knocked in another kill to give KU the 29-28 lead and Long Beach committed a hitting error to seal KU's sweep.

Kansas was led by Rome, who posted a match-high 17 kills and added 11 digs in the win. First-Team All-Big 12 selection Josi Lima and Lindsey Morris added 12 kills each while All-Big 12 Honorable Mention Ashley Michaels tallied 13 kills on a .571 hitting percentage.

Rozum notched a match-high 51 assists and Lima and libero Jill Dorsey added 13 and 11 digs, respectively. Kansas posted a .359 attack percentage to improve its NCAA record to 1-0 and neutral site mark to 5-0 on the season.

Long Beach State, in its17th straight appearance in the NCAA postseason, is now 0-1 against the Jayhawks all-time. The 49ers are now 4-1 against Big 12 teams in the postseason and are 10-4 all-time in NCAA First Round contests. Long Beach State is 44-15 in NCAA matches under head coach Brian Gimmillaro, including national titles in 1989, 1993 and 1998.

"We brought a very organized game plan to Malibu," KU coach Ray Bechard said. "But it came down to us wanting this match more and making this a trip to remember. Not many people in the stands thought we'd win this match."

Kansas will face the winner of the Pepperdine/Manhattan contest in Second Round play Friday at 6 p.m. CST.

"We've seen very physical teams in the Big 12 this season, so we are not afraid to be overwhelmed," Bechard added. "This is just another challenge for the group and we'll play our best volleyball tomorrow

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