The West Virginia volleyball team ended the season in style against the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday at the WVU Coliseum, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to win the match 3-2.
In the first set, the Mountaineers (12-17, 3-13 Big 12) struggled early and never recovered. The Jayhawks (9-17, 5-11) went up 10-5 and never trailed on their way to a 25-20 set decision.
The second set showed much of the same as the first with WVU going down 17-9. The Mountaineers made a push and cut the lead to three at 19-16 but could not get over the top as Kansas took the second set by a score of 25-19.
WVU got off to a much better start in the third set, going up 9-4 and forcing a Kansas timeout. The Mountaineers pushed the lead to seven at 12-5 before Kansas started to get it going.
The Jayhawks clawed their way back and cut the lead to two on multiple occasions, with the latest being at 24-22. Kansas picked up a service error to give WVU the third set, 25-22.
The fourth set showed both teams going back and forth in a hard-fought battle to start. The set was tied at 12 before WVU got into a groove and took a 21-14 lead.
The Mountaineers had to hold off a furious comeback from the Jayhawks, cutting the lead to two at 23-21. The set ended with an identical score from the last, finishing 25-22 and setting up one final set for the match.
In the final set, WVU came out firing and took a 4-0 lead. The Mountaineers never trailed on their way to a 15-8 win to take the match.
“I think they just played with more energy,” head coach Reed Sunahara said. “We just have to keep the ball in play more. At the same time be aggressive, but I thought they did a nice job. Once we won the third, I thought we built some momentum and then got better after that.”
WVU honored Erin Slinde, Gabrielle Cuckovich, and Katelyn Evans on senior day. Cuckovich finished today’s match with an assist and five digs, while Slinde had 10 kills and nine digs and Evans had 17 kills and 11 digs.
“They’re great people, and that’s why we recruited them,” Sunahara said of the seniors. “They’ve been here for four years so they understand the program. Where we are right now, where we were before, and where we need to get to.
“I’m happy they chose West Virginia.”
The Mountaineer offense was led by junior Audrey Adams with 19 digs. Sophomore Kristina Jordan contributed with 12.
On defense, junior Alexa Hasting paced the team with 24 digs. Sophomore Lacey Zerwas also contributed with 16.