Wildcats Hang with 'Horns

Dakota Kaufman

Oct. 22, 2010

Box Score

AUSTIN, Texas – The Kansas State Wildcats gave all the No. 10 Texas Longhorns could handle on Saturday night from Gregory Gymnasium despite falling in straight sets. The Wildcats lost 19-25, 23-25, 19-25 but kept it close with one of the most explosive offenses in the nation the entire match.

K-State (9-13, 3-8 Big 12) went toe-to-toe with Texas (14-5, 9-2) hitting .223 on the night as a team and seeing strong performances from three of its own main weapons. JuliAnne Chisholm turned it on in the second and third set to post 12 kills and hit her highest percentage of the year at .385. The team percentage of .223 is the highest by the Wildcats since sweeping Texas A&M on the road on October 2 when K-State defeated the Aggies hitting .220.

Freshman outside hitter Dakota Kaufman posted 10 kills on the night – the most by the Hillsboro product in a three-set match this season. Freshman middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger had eight kills while hitting .375 and added six digs.

Texas hit .330 on the night to continue posting high percentages in conference play. Juliann Faucette had 14 kills while Amber Roberson added 11. Rachael Adams had nine on the night, and no player for either team reached double digits in digs.

The Wildcats and Longhorns battled back and forth with neither team leading by more than four points until the Longhorns went on a three-point run to go up 23-18 late in the set. At 22-18 it was only the second time Texas led by four with the Wildcats fighting back from a 10-6 deficit. K-State scored five of the next seven points to make it 11-12 and then scored four straight to take the lead 15-14. The Longhorns responded with three straight of their own to take control of the set again and get the win 25-19.

Kaufman found her groove in the first set as she pounded out five kills for the Wildcats to set the tone. Pelger added four kills of her own while hitting .600 and contributed four digs on defense, but the Wildcats were plagued by service errors with six in the first set.

In the second set, the Wildcats had the No. 10 team in the nation against the ropes as the two teams fought in an even more exciting battle. There were 15 ties and six lead changes in the second set alone before the Longhorns prevailed 25-23.

K-State took the early lead 5-2 after a four-point run. After the Longhorns scored five of the next six points to reclaim the lead, the exchanges began. The Wildcats hit .182 in the second set but could not overcome the Longhorns hitting of .256. K-State saw Chisholm take control in the second stanza to help her cousin Kaufman in the effort. Pelger added three kills and ace in the set as well.

The third set was another tightly contested battle before Texas completed the sweep. The Longhorns reclaimed the lead at 6-5 early in the set and never relinquished it, but the Wildcats stayed on their heels all the way to the end.

Texas took its biggest lead of the set on a kill by Faucette to go up 15-11 only to see K-State respond with two points. Each time K-State was able to cut the lead to two points, the Longhorns answered the call with points. After a three-point run by the Wildcats to again cut the lead to a couple points, Texas scored three straight. An error by Faucette gave the Wildcats another chance, but the Longhorns closed the door with two straight points 25-19.

The Wildcats return home to take on the Iowa State Cyclones at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Ahearn Field House. The match will be broadcast on KMAN 1350 with Brian Smoller and Rob Voelker calling the action.