Wildcats Hold Off Red Raiders in Five Sets

Alex Muff

Oct. 20, 2012

Box Score | Quotes | Notes

MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State jumped on Texas Tech early on Saturday building a 2-0 lead after commanding wins in the first two sets. After a comeback effort by the Red Raiders to force a fifth set, the Wildcats were able to hold off Tech and get the win to avoid losing both Big 12 matches this week. With the win K-State is now 11-1 in five-set matches over the last two seasons.

The Wildcats (18-3, 5-3) dominated the first two sets of the match hitting .481 in the opening frame to win 25-13 and backing that up with a .343 clip in a 25-14 victory to take a confident lead into the locker room at intermission.

Texas Tech (12-12, 1-7) would respond by taking the next two sets after some personnel changes on both sides. The Red Raiders won 25-20 and 25-23 to force the decisive fifth set. After the score was tied 9-9 in the fifth, the Wildcats would grab the momentum and score six straight points to get the win 15-9.

“I did not think we were coming together. I did not think we looked loose,” said K-State Head Coach Suzie Fritz. “This team plays really well when they are having fun. You get to mid-October and we are grinding it out pretty well. You forget sometimes that volleyball is supposed to be fun. I did not feel as though we were as loose and we were not communicating as well. Some of it was self-inflicted. Once we settled down a little bit we were fine.”

Senior middle blocker Alex Muff had another strong day at the net for the Wildcats with a new career-high 17 kills in the victory, marking her fourth straight match with 10 or more kills. Muff also was extremely efficient hitting .593 for the match to rank fourth in school history for a five-set match.

“I thought that Caitlyn Donahue set me tremendously today and we had a really good rhythm,” Muff said. “I think that is something that helps me a lot. They are a decent volleyball team and I think being able to connect with your setter is a huge key to being able to hit well and I am finally starting to get that win Caitlyn.”

Muff was joined in double digit kills by junior middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger and Lilla Porubek. Pelger led the team with 18 kills while also hitting .325. She posted a double-double with 18 digs to lead the defense as well. Porubek contributed 11 kills on a .320 clip and had a pair of aces at the service line.

After No. 14 K-State built the large lead, the Red Raiders came out of the intermission and began applying more pressure to the Wildcats with a stronger serve, resulting in a total of seven aces for the match, all after the second set. That pressure slowed K-State’s offense with hitting percentages significantly lower than the first two sets.

Tech played a total of 14 players in the match and K-State had 13 Wildcats see action. The Red Raiders saw freshman Meghan Stacy lead the offense with 19 kills on a .255 percentage on 47 swings to remain consistent throughout the match. Sophomore Breeann David tallied 12 kills. Lydia McKay had nine kills for Tech and the next closest was five kills.

The Wildcats held Tech to a team hitting percentage of .147 thanks to 12.5 blocks. It was the sixth time this season K-State has had at least 10 blocks. Muff was in on seven of those stops. The back row was strong for K-State with Kuulei Kabalis joining Pelger in double digit digs with 12. Senior Kathleen Ludwig had nine digs for a new season-high. Tech’s libero, Rachel Brummitt, had an impressive showing with 21 digs on the day.

The Wildcats will be in action on Wednesday when they travel to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers to start the second half of Big 12 Conference play. K-State swept West Virginia the first time they met in Manhattan and will be looking to build off the win Saturday. First serve is set for 5:30 p.m. central.