'Cats Stuff Jayhawks

Alex Muff

Nov. 24, 2010

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – It was a match against in-state rival Kansas and the Kansas State Wildcats delivered one of their most complete matches of the season with a flair for the dramatic winning in five sets. The Wildcats saw career nights from a number of players en route to the win 25-23, 30-28, 21-25, 21-25, 15-6.

The Wildcats had their best night blocking at the net by far as Alex Muff had one of the better nights in K-State history. K-State tallied 18.5 blocks total with Muff contributing on 13 for the third most block assists in a five-set match in school history. Muff also was one fire offensively hitting eight kills with just one error to hit .389.

Two freshmen each had career nights attacking as middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger had 20 kills for a new career-high. She was extremely efficient hitting .326 on 43 swings while adding six digs and a pair of aces. Lilla Porubek pounded out 16 kills for the Wildcats in the win to make it her second straight match to tally a career-high in kills. Porubek tied her career-high in digs with seven and was in on six block assists.

After the Jayhawks forced the decisive fifth set, K-State came out storming with Pelger taking control of the match. Pelger pounded out three kills and assisted on two blocks to jump to an early 7-2 lead over KU. She also added an ace on the baseline to further shift the momentum to K-State’s side in the final set.

Porubek and Muff would get in on the action as well with Porbuek assisting on the pair of blocks with Pelger then notching four kills. Muff and Kathleen Ludwig helped drive the nails home with two blocks down the stretch as well winning 15-6.

“Alex did a tremendous job at the net blocking tonight. She had a few blocks that we like to say were epic,” head coach Suzie Fritz said. “She had three stuffs that she was just as good or big as anybody out there. She’s struggled a bit lately so it was nice to see her have such a good showing.”

As for her two freshmen who had career nights, Fritz said they each came to play and were key to K-State winning the match.

“I thought Pelger was a difference maker at the end,” Fritz said. “She plays with a lot of confidence. She served well. She did a good job at the net. I felt she was really, really good tonight. For Lilla this was one of her better matches in terms of finding ways to get kills and spreading the ball around the floor.”

In the first set, the Wildcats grabbed a hold of the lead early against the Jayhawks thanks to Pelger and Porubek. Pelger posted a kill and an ace in the first few points, and Porubek pounded a kill as the Wildcats jumped to a 9-6 lead.

Kansas never led in the set but managed to tie things up eight times. K-State fought off each charge by the Jayhawks and the Wildcat block came up huge down the stretch as Ludwig, Alex Muff and JuliAnne Chisholm all put a roof on KU late in the set to get the win. Chisholm had a solo block to seal the victory in the first set with a stretch back into the court after sealing the line and stuffing Caroline Jarmoc to end the set.

The second set had fans from both sides up and cheering often with a number of exciting rallies and blocks to get the crowd on its feet complete with a dramatic comeback by the Wildcats.

K-State trailed 22-17 after a four-point run by the Jayhawks, but answered with five straight points with Pelger again playing a big role in the comeback with a total of eight kills in the set. K-State fought off four set points as Porubek took over down the stretch for the Wildcats with three kills out of her five in the set coming in the last 12 points of the set.

Another block by Muff and Ludwig got the Wildcat bench excited as the momentum shifted to K-State’s side of the net taking a 28-27 lead. The KU faithful saw the Jayhawks fight off a set point with a kill by Karina Garlington, but the Wildcats answered with kills by Ludwig and Chisholm to win the set 30-28 and go the locker room at the intermission on an emotional high and holding the momentum.

K-State was unable to get the sweep in the third set as the Jayhawks took advantage of a number of serving errors in the final few points of the third set to keep momentum on its side late. The Wildcats continued to block KU but could not put together a long enough streak of points to overcome a an 18-15 deficit following a three-point KU run. The Wildcats would cut the lead to two points but the Jayhawks were able to get the win 25-21 and hold off the surging Wildcats.

It was KU’s turn to rally from behind in the fourth set after trailing 15-8. A six-point run by the Jayhawks pulled them within one point. K-State would only score consecutive points once more the remainder of the set while KU had a three-point run to take a 21-20 lead and ended the set with four straight to win 25-21 sending the match to a pivotal fifth set.

With the win the Wildcats look to close the season with back-to-back wins as the Colorado Buffaloes come to Manhattan on Saturday for Senior Night. K-State will say goodbye and thank you to Chisholm and Lauren Mathewson at the match. First serve is set for 7 p.m. Fans can hear the match on KMAN 1350.