Volleyball Jayhawks Fall in NCAA Tourney

Phog.net was in the house as the Jayhawks came up short in their bid to upset seventh seeded Washington in the second round of the NCAA women's volleyball tournament.

The Jayhawks pushed the Huskies to the limit before falling to them three games to two in the best of five match (34-32, 30-26, 25-30, 26-30, 15-12).  Josi Lima and Paula Caten had huge games for the Jayhawks who nearly were able to pull this one out for Kansas.         

The Jayhawks came out the first game and showed they were going to put up a fight.  They looked very sharp early on as they kept pace with the Huskies, who were the PAC-10 champions as well as ranked number one in the country for seven weeks during the season.  Jana Correa got things going early with a few kills to give the Jayhawks the early lead.  Washington and Kansas battled back and forth throughout the game. Midway through the Jayhawks had built their lead to 19-14, when things seemed to unravel.  Courtney Thompson served six consecutive points for the Huskies that gave them a 21-19 lead.

The Jayhawks battled back and were ahead and had game point at 30-29 until team leader Josi Lima served long which tied the game at 30 apiece.

Washington regained the momentum and won the first game 34-32.

The Jayhawks came out flat to start game two.  The heartbreaking loss of game one was still on their minds as they fell behind quickly 4-0.  Coach Ray Bechard called a time out to get the team refocused and did just that.  The Jayhawks went on a quick rally and found themselves right back in the thick of things but just as they were gaining the momentum it fell apart once again.

With the score 25-23, Josi Lima was called for a net violation which expanded the Washington lead to 26-23, the Jayhawks couldn't recover and lost game two 30-26.

Following the 10 minute intermission the girls came out of the tunnel for game 3.  They were not hanging their heads and did not seem intimidated by the over 2,000 Husky fans in attendance.  They played game 3 inspired and seemed to really cut down on the mistakes that had plagued them in the previous two games.  They were blocking in instead of out and it was making a difference as they gained the momentum and beat the Huskies 30-25.

The momentum that the Jayhawks had gained in game three carried over to game four.  They stormed out to a quick 4-1 lead but could not hold on.  After a Husky rally the Jayhawks found themselves down 10-9 until Josi Lima had a huge kill hitting out of the center position.  This seemed to re-energize the Jayhawks and behind more great blocking and hitting they forced a game five by winning 30-26.

Game five began very close with the teams exchanging points.  The Jayhawks were able to build 9-7 lead and Washington was forced to take a time out.  The Huskies were on the ropes and there was a sense of panic amongst the crowd.  Out of the timeout the Huskies came out on fire capturing the lead away.  With the Huskies up 14-12 a controversial double contact call against Josi Lima sealed the victory.

The Jayhawks finished the season 19-11, with Lima and Caten both juniors this should be a solid squad again next year.  If anything positive can come from this heartbreaking loss it is that this team never gave up and showed a lot of heart.

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