Lawrence, Kan. – Behind 13 kills from Kelsie Payne and a .364 hitting percentage, ninth-ranked Kansas downed Furman, 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-17), on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The loss ends Furman's SoCon-championship season at 21-9, while the Jayhawks advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 27-2 record.
Furman was led by SoCon Player of the Year Annie Bierman with nine kills and 11 digs, just one kill shy of her 21st double-double of the season. Senior Amelia Bohlander put down eight kills and hit .312 while Carris Campbell added five kills and a block. Jo Wilks dished out 27 assists and led the team with two blocks, while libero Meg DeMaar tallied a team-high 12 digs.
Payne paced the Jayhawks with 13 kills and a .423 hitting percentage, while Ainise Havili dished out 34 assists and libero Cassie Wait tallied a match-high 16 digs.
The teams traded points in the early going until Kansas stretched the lead to four at 8-4. Furman capitalized on Kansas errors and used a quick 3-0 runt o cut the lead to one, but the Jayhawks then used a 7-3 run to push the lead to five at 15-10. Out of a media timeout, Kansas used back-to-back aces to push the lead to 17-10 and force a Furman timeout. Furman cut the lead to six, but Kansas used another run, this time of 4-0 to open their biggest lead of the set at 21-11 and force the Paladins to call their final timeout of the set. Of the timeout, the Paladins cut the lead to 21-14, but the Jayhawks held off the Paladin rally to take set one, 25-14, for a 1-0 match lead.
The Paladins used an early 7-3 run to open set two, before the teams traded points and Kansas cut the Furman lead to two at 12-10. The teams traded points until back-to-back points by the Jayhawks tied the set at 13 and forced a Furman timeout. Out of the timeout, the Paladins pushed the lead back to two at 15-13, then again at 20-18, but Kansas closed out the set on a 7-1 run to take set two, 25-21, for a 2-0 match lead.
Furman again came out strong to start set three, taking a 5-3 lead, but Kansas used a 13-2 run to open a 16-7 advantage. The teams traded points until Kansas used a 4-0 run to open up an 11-point lead at 22-11, then again at 23-12. Furman would not go away quietly, however, using a 5-0 run of its own to cut the lead to 23-17, but the Jayhawks closed out the set, 25-17, and the match, 3-0.
Furman finishes the season 21-9, 12-4 in SoCon play, and 2015 Southern Conference champions.
Chandler Carver, Furman Sports Information