Late Push Not Enough for Wildcats

AMES, Iowa - The Kansas State Wildcats found their rhythm on the road against No. 11 Iowa State after a sluggish start but it was too little too late with K-State falling in three sets. The Cyclones got the sweep 25-15, 25-22, 25-23 and snapped a two-match losing streak in the process.

The Wildcats (6-7, 0-3 Big 12) were led by Vanessa Murray with 12 kills in her first start for the team as she also had an efficient afternoon hitting .478. Lauren Mathewson led with 10 digs in the loss. Iowa State (10-3, 2-2) had two players with double figures in kills with Rachel Hockaday led with 13 and Victoria Henson tallied 12. Libero Ashley Mass posted 17 digs for the Cyclones.

K-State could not slow the Cyclones down enough defensively while Iowa State combined to hit .327. K-State out-blocked the Cyclones 7-2, but could not come up with enough offense of its own to counter effort by Iowa State.

The Wildcats fell behind early in the opening set as Iowa State scored the first six points of the match. The Wildcats failed to win on their own serve for most of the match siding out on their first eight serves. Since the Wildcats could not score on their own serve they did not score back-to-back points until stringing three points in a row to pull within 18-11.

Iowa State would not let K-State put together enough of a comeback scoring five of the next six points to lead 23-12 and eventual close the door 25-15. The Cyclones hit .346 in the first set as the Wildcats struggled to get kills and hit a number of shots long to hit just .037 with seven kills and six errors.

The second set started with each team trading blows with Iowa State being the first team to score consecutive points with three straight to open the first lead at 9-6. K-State scored its first back-to-back points to pull within two points, but that was quickly answered by a three-point run by the Cyclones to take a 16-11 lead and force a K-State timeout.

Out of the timeout, Iowa State extended its lead to as many as seven points, but K-State fought back scoring five of the next six points to cut the lead to 22-18 as the Cyclones took a timeout to slow the Wildcat offense as it started to find its rhythm.

The Wildcats continued to claw into the lead with a block by Kathleen Ludwig and Audrey Horton. After a kills by the Cyclones, the Wildcats scored three straight to give Iowa State just a one-point advantage late in the set 23-22. Iowa State stopped the run by the Wildcats with two points on long rallies to take a 2-0 lead into the locker room at the intermission.

Both teams again battled back and forth in the third set with K-State holding an early two-point lead only to see it disappear with a three-point run by Iowa State to take its first lead 16-14.The Wildcats came back at the Cyclones to score four of the next five points and tie the set at 18 points apiece. The Wildcats then had a three-point rally to take a 21-19 lead.

But the Wildcats could not hold on as the Cyclones called a timeout down 23-21. They came out of the break to score the next four points and take the sweep over K-State. With the set tied at 23-23 the Cyclones came up with a block against Izabela Grot to gain match point and get the crowd on its feet. The Cyclones won the match after an error by Grot on a long rally.

The Wildcats have a week to prepare for No. 2 Texas as K-State has its scheduled by on Wednesday and will play host to the Longhorns at 7 p.m. on Friday at Ahearn Field House.

- k-statesports.com -