Wildcats Fall in Five to No. 16 Kentucky

Lauren Mathewson

Sept. 11, 2010

Box Score

LEXINGTON, Ky. - For the second time this weekend the Kansas State Wildcats faced a ranked team at the UK Invitational and took the match to the limit falling in five sets to host No. 16 Kentucky 25-19, 23-25, 16-25, 25-20, 8-15. K-State battled back after dropping the third set by nine points to dominate the fourth but could not come away with the upset again as Kentucky opened up a lead too large to come back from.

K-State (5-5) had a number of impressive performances again as the team faced another ranked opponent. Three players reached double digits in kills led by senior JuliAnne Chisholm and freshman Kaitlynn Pelger each with 15. Alex Muff added 10 while hitting .364. Chisholm posted another double-double with 11 digs on the night, and Pelger added seven blocks while Muff had four. Senior libero Lauren Mathewson put up 22 digs to earn All-Tournament Team honors for the weekend as she had the highest digs per set average of all defensive specialists. Setter Cailtyn Donahue also had a double-double with 45 assists and 12 digs.

Kentucky (6-4) saw outside hitter Blaire Hiler take control of the match at times to lead with 16 kills as she also had 14 digs for a double-double. Whitney Billings also added 14 kills to Kentucky's effort for the win.

To open the match K-State used a heavy dose of Pelger to take an early lead with two kills from the freshman and a block paired up with fellow freshman Dakota Kaufman. Kentucky would fight back with a series of blocks of its own, and the two teams exchanged the lead a number of times before K-State used a four-point run to open it up 17-12. Then, Pelger played the big role again in closing out the set as she served tough to keep Kentucky on its heels as K-State scored five straight to go up 24-17 to eventually win 25-19.

The second set was a see-saw battle with eight lead changes during the action before Kentucky came away with the win 25-23 to go into the locker room at the break with the match tied at one set apiece. Both teams found more offense in the second set with K-State hitting .214 while Kentucky found its rhythm at .262. Blaire Hiler took command of Kentucky's offense posting 10 kills and hitting .364 alone in the second set. Chisholm turned up the heat in the second as well with five kills on six swings without an error to hit .833, but it was not enough to take a 2-0 lead.

K-State could not keep the efficient hitting going in the third set as the team hit -.054 for the set while Kentucky hit just .179 but rolled to a 25-16 win to go up 2-1 for the match thanks to four- and five-point runs.

K-State evened the match at 2-2 with another exciting comeback in the fourth set. Trailing 17-14 when head coach Suzie Fritz called a timeout. Her team responded after the meeting outscoring Kentucky 11-3 to win the fourth 25-20 and force a pivotal fifth set.

The fifth set saw K-State fall into a deep deficit thanks to six straight points from Kentucky to trail 10-5. From there, K-State could not fight back dropping the final set 15-8.

K-State closed the tournament with a 1-2 record with each loss coming in five sets to a ranked opponent falling to No. 17 Florida State in five sets on Friday and to No. 16 Kentucky on Saturday. Florida State won the tournament with Kentucky finishing second and K-State taking third ahead of Virginia Commonwealth.

Wednesday will mark the opening of Big 12 Conference play as K-State hosts in-state rival Kansas at 7 p.m. from Ahearn Field House. Tickets are still available by calling 800-221-CATS (2287) or going online to kstatesports.com. The match will also be televised on Metro Sports.

All-Tournament Team
MVP: Visnja Djurdjevic, Florida State
Jekaterina Stepanova, Florida State
Duygu Duzceler, Florida State
Whitney Billings, Kentucky
Blaire Hiler, Kentucky
Lauren Mathewson, K-State
Jessica Ojukwu, VCU