K-State Sweeps #25 Iowa State on Senior Night

Nov. 30, 2013

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K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Behind a combined 27 of its 38 kills from a trio of seniors, the K-State volleyball team swept No. 25 Iowa State (25-21, 25-16, 25-23) on Senior Night in Ahearn Field House on Saturday. The win was the third of the season for the Wildcats against a ranked opponent.

Seniors Courtney Traxson (11 kills), Kaitlynn Pelger (10) and Dakota Kaufman (6) paced the Wildcats (18-11, 6-10 Big 12) in kills. Fellow senior Tristan McCarty had eight digs and two aces, helping K-State tally 43 digs and seven aces in the match. Pelger also added an ace and a team-best five blocks.

K-State took advantage of 12 service errors and 16 attack errors by Iowa State (18-9, 11-5 Big 12) as well, keeping the Cyclone offense to a .163 hitting percentage. Iowa State had only five kills and hit .000 in the second set.

"We put a lot of pressure on them from the service line," said head coach Suzie Fritz. "We were very much on task at the net. I thought we got our hands on lots of balls and played tenacious defense, killed it when we needed to. I thought we played well in all phases."

The win is the fourth straight home sweep for the Wildcats as they finish the season 10-2 in Ahearn Field House. It is the third straight season K-State has recorded at least 10 wins at home.

K-State has now beat Iowa State two years in a row in a sweeping fashion at home.

"This whole season with home games, I felt like we had that fight in us," said Pelger. "Unfortunately we did not have that on the road. When we are at home and down, we are very comfortable. The crowd cheers us on. We have a lot of momentum, even when we are down. We use that to our advantage, and knew that is what we were good at."

Redshirt freshman Katie Brand recorded a double-double after leading the Wildcats in assists and digs with 26 and 12, respectively. Brand also had three blocks.

The Wildcats built an 11-9 lead in the first set after an ace by McCarty, but the Cyclones rattled off three straight points behind two kills and an ace to take over the advantage, 12-11. Iowa State, though, relinquished the lead with three errors coming out of a K-State timeout and made it 14-12 K-State. The Wildcats never trailed thereafter in the set, building a four-point advantage with an ace by Brand. Pelger clinched the set with her fourth kill of the match.

K-State never looked back in the second set after two Iowa State attack errors and an ace by Chelsea Keating made it 5-2 Wildcats and forced Iowa State to call an early timeout. The Cyclones pulled back within three when a block by Jenelle Hudson and Tenisha Matlock made it 12-9, but the Wildcats fired out of a timeout with a 5-0 run featuring two kills by Kaufman and ace by freshman Kersten Kober. Back-to-back kills by Traxson and Kaufman clinched the set.

The Wildcats were forced to rally from a 15-12 deficit in the third set. K-State vaulted ahead after calling its final timeout, grabbing a 17-16 lead with a 5-1 run that was capped by a block error by Iowa State on a Traxson attack. Although Iowa State tied it twice and pulled within one as late as 22-21, the Wildcats held back the Cyclones and brought it to match point after a kill by Pelger and combo block by Brand and Pelger to make it 24-21. Keating hammered down her fifth kill of the night to clinch the match.

Keating finished the match with four digs and three blocks to go with her five kills. Junior Taylor Johnson also had five kills while also adding three blocks.

"It was great," said Keating about winning on Senior Night. "I came in with these girls; I redshirted a year. They are all my friends. It is great to see them like this. I am going to miss them, but it is great that they won their last game."

K-State will learn if it has an opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, December 1 with the Selection Show on ESPNU at 8:30 pm CT.