TUCSON, Ariz. – Sara McClinton, Chelsea Albers and Caroline Jarmoc combined for 49 kills to lead No. 20 Kansas past Arizona 3-1 (25-27, 25-15, 25-23, 25-20) Saturday night in the finale of the Arizona Invitational at McKale Center.
Albers also finished with 18 digs for the double-double, while Erin McNorton dished out a match-high 58 assists. The Jayhawks out-hit the Wildcats, .269 to .209 on the night.
Arizona, Kansas and Central Arkansas each finished with 2-1 records in the tournament, while Morgan State went winless.
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Jane Croson led the Arizona offense with 20 kills to go along with 10 digs to record a double-double. Madi Kingdon also was in double figures as she added 12 kills and nine digs. Penina Snuka dished out 46 assists to go along with eight digs and three digs. Candace Nicholson led the Wildcats defensively with a match-high 23 digs.
Kansas (2-1) got off to a quick start in the opening set by jumping out to an 11-7 lead. The Wildcats battled back to gain an advantage of their own thanks to a service ace by Croson, which gave them a 13-12 advantage. After some back and forth play, Arizona (2-1) took a three point lead at 19-16. The Cats looked like they were going to like to take the set after taking a 23-20 lead, but Kansas battled back to win the next three points to tie it up. After neither team could convert a set point opportunity, the Wildcats won two straight points with the score tied at 25 to win the frame, 27-25. Croson was outstanding on the offensive end with 10 kills, while Snuka dished out 13 assists.
The Jayhawks stormed out to a 10-4 lead in the second set thanks to three early service aces. The Wildcats could not cut into the lead as KU cruised to a 25-15 victory. The Jayhawks hit an impressive .424 in the set, while holding the Wildcats to just a .158 hitting efficiency. Kingdon had four kills in the set to lead the Cats.
Kansas kept the momentum in the third set by jumping out to an early 5-0 lead. The Jayhawks held the lead until Arizona finally chipped away and tied the score 18-18 thanks to a block by Olivia Magill and Snuka, which forced a KU timeout. After the break, the Wildcats won the next two points to take a 20-18 lead, their first advantage of the set. Kansas battled back to tie the score, 22-22. After tying the score, Kansas won two straight points to earn set point, 24-22. After a kill by Magill, Kansas closed out the set with a kill by Jarmoc.
Arizona and Kansas battled back and forth throughout the fourth set. After Kansas pulled ahead 16-13, Arizona took a timeout and from there, maintained its lead. The Jayhawks went on to defeat the Wildcats 25-20 in the set to clinch the match.
Arizona will be back in action next Friday, Sept. 6 when it hosts the Arizona Desert Classic. The Wildcats will open the tournament against Butler at 7 p.m. Arizona will then face Eastern Kentucky and Utah Valley on Saturday.