Wildcats Sweep Anteaters to Open Season

Lilla Porubek

Aug. 24, 2012

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MANHATTAN, Kan. - In front of a packed Ahearn Field House, the No. 22 Kansas State Wildcats starter the 2012 volleyball season off with a commanding win over the UC Irvine Anteaters. K-State used the energy from the 2,715 fans in attendance to dispose of UC Irvine in straight sets 25-10, 25-18, 25-12 and win its first match of the Varney's Invitational.

K-State (1-0) jumped on UC Irvine (0-1) right away the first five points out of the gate. After grabbing the momentum, the Wildcats never looked back and only trailed for three points in the match. Despite the dominant win, K-State Head Coach Suzie Fritz said there is still room for improvement.

One area she was proud to see her team execute well in was how the level of play was consistent throughout the match, even when she subbed a number of players in.

"They've earned the right to play. We are competing hard in practice. Competition is one of our core values, and we encourage it a lot in practice to battle for jobs," Fritz said. "We have this tremendously competitive environment in practice, which leads to a lot of people earning time.  The thing I was really excited about was when were rolling players in and out of the match, there was no drop off whatsoever. I believe our depth is our strength and we're going to use it."

That depth was evident in the boxscore as seven players posted at least one kill and all but two players saw time on the floor. Lilla Porubek led the team in kills with 10 as she also posted a new career-high hitting percentage. The Hungarian outside hitter tallied those 10 kills on just 14 swings with two errors for a .571 clip.

Senior middle blocker Alex Muff also shined for the Wildcats with six kills and six blocks. Fellow middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger had seven kills to go with seven digs and five assists. The outside hitters played a major role in the win with Courtney Traxson pounding out six kills, and Dakota Kaufman had five kills on 10 swings.

Fritz and her players all praised the atmosphere created by the fans to start the season and provide a home court advantage for the Wildcats. More than 2,700 fans packed the rafters of the renovated field house and Fritz was appreciative of the fans for coming out in such support.

"First I appreciate the marketing efforts of our folks. People who are involved in volleyball and trying to promote it, I appreciate it a ton," Fritz said. "Our students came out in full force. We love those guys. They're nuts and it's electric. The environment we have going here rivals any in the country."

The Anteaters hit .000 for the match thanks to 10 blocks by the Wildcats. Marisa Bubica led the way with nine kills but had a negative hitting percentage as she had 10 attack errors. Aly Squires and Taylor Smith each had five kills for the three to represent 19 of UC Irvine's 24 kills.

K-State continues action by hosting the Varney's Invitational on Saturday with two matches. The Wildcats will take on the Oakland Golden Grizzlies at noon and close the tournament with Oregon State at 7:30 p.m. UC Irvine and Oregon State will tangle at 10 a.m. Saturday and the Anteaters will play Oakland at 5 p.m.

The K-State Ticket Office is offering a Wildcat 4 Pack for the Oakland match and Saturday evening's contest will be Military Appreciation Night with discounted tickets available for military personnel. Both matches can be seen on K-StateHD.tv and heard on 1350 KMAN.