Chipman Earns MVP in BYU Classic Win

PROVO, Utah - After hearing of the upset victory for their football team, the BYU Cougars almost completed a comeback against No. 23 Kansas State, but it was the Wildcats who came out victorious in five sets to win the BYU Nike Classic on Saturday night.

K-State (4-2) and BYU (4-3) battled back and forth, but it was the Wildcats who came up with the big rally in the fifth set to get the win 25-11, 22-25, 25-19, 17-25, 15-11.

"We played extremely well in game five," said head coach Suzie Fritz. "We stayed aggressive with our serving, and I thought that was key. The first four points I feel like we were a bit nervous because we were pressing, but we stayed patient and worked our way into it."

The Wildcats were led by senior middle blocker Kelsey Chipman as she was the go-to player down the stretch for K-State. Chipman hit .405 and pounded out a total of 43 kills for the Wildcats over the three matches this weekend and hit over .400 for the entire tournament. Fritz said Chipman, along with Lauren Mathewson and JuliAnne Chisholm, have stepped up as leaders for the team when they're needed.

"I think you have to include Mathewson in that group. She does a great job of captaining our serve receive," Fritz said. "Chipman has done a tremendous job of leading by example and being vocal, and Chisholm has developed into a nice outside hitter. We're starting to see some really special things out of her."

Three other Wildcats joined Chipman with double figures in kills. Caitlyn Donahue tallied 15 and notched the winning point. Donahue also posted a double-double with 21 digs. Chisholm added 15 kills, and Kathleen Ludwig also had a double-double with 11 kills and 10 digs. Libero Mathewson led the team with 22 digs in the victory.

Chipman earned tournament MVP honors for her performance in K-State's three wins. Another pair of Wildcats joined Chipman on the all-tournament team with Soriana Pacheco and Chisholm receiving the honor from the coaches.

The fifth set saw the Wildcats fall behind early 4-1, but K-State was able to go on the longest run of the night scoring six straight points and never looking back. BYU would tie the set at 8-8 only to see the Wildcats answer with four straight points and inching closer to the win with key blocks and an ace from Pacheco.

K-State came out of the gates firing at the service line with four aces in the Wildcats' first 11 points. The aggressive serving helped keep BYU's offense off balance and let K-State open up a 12-6 lead. That large lead would be short-lived however, as the Cougars ran four straight points together to pull within two points. Another five-point run by BYU gave the Cougars their first lead of the set at 15-13.

The first set continued to be a battle of runs with K-State chipping away until trailing 19-18 five straight points for the Wildcats reclaimed the lead and was enough to hold off the Cougars for a 25-21 win. During the last run for K-State, Chisholm tallied three kills.

K-State had to claw its way back into the match trailing by six points 16-12 but the Wildcats could not come up with enough in the second set. Four straight points by K-State tied the set at 19 points apiece, and each team battled back and forth before BYU was able to get the edge 25-22.

Down the stretch in the set, BYU came up with a block and the score knotted at 22-22. An error by Chisholm paired with a blocking error on Pacheco for being in the net on a point that would have gone to K-State as the ball came down in play on BYU's side of the net ended the set and sent the teams into the locker room tied at 1-1.

The Wildcats responded with a win in the third set by opening a big lead and fighting off a late charge by the Cougars to win 25-19. K-State led 13-9 after a four-point run on a service error by BYU, two kills by Ludwig and another from Donahue. BYU would cut into the lead with a run of its own on a series of blocks to make it 19-16, but the three-point margin was too much.

K-State edged its way closer to the necessary 25 points to win and the serving of defensive specialist Abby Fay helped take the Wildcats to the win as she was able to get BYU's offense out of system with poor serve reception and an ace.

BYU was able to force a decisive fifth set with a 25-17 win in the fourth set after pulling ahead to a big lead and not looking back. K-State struggled to get any offense going in the set hitting just .100 compared to BYU's .324. The Cougars used six separate three-point runs to take the set.

BYU Nike Classic All-Tournament Team

MVP: Kelsey Chipman, K-State

Holly Franks, Cal Poly

Soriana Pacheco, K-State

Christie Carpenter, BYU

Kayla Walker, BYU

JuliAnne Chisholm, K-State

- k-statesports.com -