Wildcats Rally to Beat Bluejays

Caitlyn Donahue

Aug. 30, 2011

Box Score | Photo Gallery 

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State Wildcats would not let their fans see them lose their home opener on Tuesday night in Ahearn Field House or online as K-State got the win over Creighton in five sets at the launch party for K-StateHD.TV. The match went back and forth with Creighton forcing a fifth set when the Wildcats struggled in the fourth, but the Wildcats showed resolve in the fifth battling from behind for the win 21-25, 25-16, 25-23, 17-25, 15-13.

K-State trailed 8-7 in the final set at the switch when K-State Head Coach Suzie Fritz said her team turned it around and found a way to win led by sophomore Kaitlynn Pelger.

“All I know is we were down 7-8 at the switch and then we were tied at 13,” Fritz said. “I felt good because we rotated Pelger into the front row at 13-all, and she was very effective in finding a way to get kills tonight. At that point, I was feeling pretty optimistic.”

It was more than just being down 7-8 and then tied at 13, however.

The Wildcats trailed 8-11 then scored three straight points, two coming on Pelger kills to tie it up again. Then, K-State trailed 11-13 after back-to-back blocks by Creighton and the Wildcats were pushed into a corner with the momentum on Creighton’s side. That was until a block by Pelger and setter Caitlyn Donahue brought the control of the match back to K-State. An attack error by Creighton evened the set at 13 apiece, and then Donahue tallied a kill on a scrambling play after the ball trickled over the net and nearly down for a Creighton point before it was saved by Pelger and Lilla Porubek. Then, Creighton made another error to give K-State the win.

Pelger pounded out another career-high in kills for the Wildcats as she posted 24 in the win. She also had her second double-double of the season with 13 digs. She was one block away from posting the first triple-double by a Wildcat since Gabby Guerre did so in 2004.She was joined in double digits by Porubek with 15 kills. Donhaue directed the offense well with 48 assists in the win and a double-double to boot with 18 digs on the night. Libero Kuulei Kabalis had her best night as a Wildcat with 20 digs.

“Pelger is an ultra-competitive player. She’s proven to be somebody we can count on,” Fritz said. “Lilla also is a very terminal attacker. We just need some of the others to find a way to get their kills to help the two of them out. I thought tonight Courtney Traxson did a great job and she was a bright spot for us. I think consistency is our message to the team right now.”

Creighton was led by its setter Megan Bober who nearly had a triple-double as well. She led the team in kills, a rarity for a setter, with nine. She also had eight digs to go with her 28 assists for the Bluejays.

The Wildcats return to action this weekend for the annual Varney’s Invitational at Ahearn Field House on Friday and Saturday. K-State will take on the likes of BYU, Georgia Southern and Idaho. All the matches can be seen on K-StateHD.TV and discounted tickets will be available to fans who show their football ticket to Saturday’s game against Eastern Kentucky.