Wildcat Comeback Falls Short at Baylor

Kaitlynn Pelger

Oct. 29, 2011

Box Score

WACO, Texas – The Kansas State volleyball team almost pulled off a dramatic comeback on the road against Baylor on Saturday night but came up just short in five sets. The Wildcats fell 21-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-14, 13-15 after dropping the first two sets and then firing away at the Bears in the third and fourth sets only to be edged out in the fifth.

The loss marks the first time K-State has fallen in five sets this season entering the match 5-0 in contests that went the distance this year. K-State (16-8, 5-5) has now lost three in a row on the road against Baylor with its last win in Waco, Texas, coming in a 2008 match that saw the Wildcats complete the comeback after falling down 0-2.

K-State was led by Kaitlynn Pelger on offense again as she posted 20 kills for her 10th 20-kill match of the season. She also posted her 11th double-double with 14 digs. Three Wildcats had double-doubles as Caitlyn Donahue continued her strong play with 51 assists and 16 digs. Kathleen Ludwig had her best match of the season with 17 kills and 10 digs. She also hit .368 in the match. Defensively, the Wildcats had five players reach double digits led by libero Kuulei Kabalis with 30 digs. The mark ties her for eighth in school history in a five-set match. K-State also had 12 blocks in the match with Alex Muff posting nine block assists as she was strong at the net again for the Wildcats.

Baylor (16-9, 4-6) got the win led by Adri Nora with 17 kills and a .378 hitting percentage. Five Bears tallied double digits in kills as Torri Campbell was next with 15 for Baylor. Libero Allison King posted 23 digs to lead the Bears defensively.

The fifth set was unlike every other set in the match that saw multiple runs by teams to grab the momentum. There was only two runs of any significance, but the final one proved to provide the cushion needed for the Bears. K-State had an early 3-0 run, but Baylor had one later in the set to go ahead 8-6. From that point on no team scored consecutive points as the Wildcats and Bears continued to trade blows and sideout for the remainder of the match giving Baylor the win.

The opening stanza was all about runs as Baylor opened an early lead with runs of four, three and three points. The Bears built their lead up to eight points before K-State was able to put together significant runs of its own. A 4-1 run pulled the Wildcats within five points and a 7-2 run would make it 23-21 in favor of the Bears, but Baylor would score two straight out of a timeout to win the first set.

In the second set, it was the same story with Baylor scoring six straight points to pull ahead of the Wildcats 13-10. K-State used a 3-0 run on the arms of Lilla Porubek and Muff to tie it up at 14 points apiece, but Baylor answered with two 3-0 runs to extend the lead to five points again. K-State would threaten the Bears pulling within two points three more times but could not complete the comeback falling 22-25. Also, in the second the Wildcats had three service errors after not having any in the first.

K-State bounced back out of the break to win the third set by pulling away from the Bears late in the set. Each team traded blows through much of the third until the Wildcats were able to build a 17-15 lead following a 3-0 run. Baylor would keep the lead around two points, but K-State scored four straight points to go up 22-17 and Baylor could not recover. K-State posted four blocks in the set and ended it with one and set the tone for the fourth.

It was all Wildcats in the fourth set as they rolled to a 25-14 win hitting .353 and limiting Baylor to just .083. More impressive was K-State’s ability to fight off Baylor’s serve. The Bears only scored once on their own serve to give K-State a sideout percentage of 93 in the fourth set. Ludwig came up big for the Wildcats in the set as she tallied seven kills to lead the team.

The Wildcats have a bye on Wednesday and will have a full week to prepare for the Texas A&M Aggies when they come to Ahearn Field House next Saturday. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m.