No. 25 K-State Sweeps Pacific Sunday

FRESNO, Calif. Kansas State’s middle blocker duo of Megan Kroeker and Tiffany Johnson combined for 25 kills and 11 blocks as the No. 25 Wildcats capped the Fresno State Invitational with a convincing 30-21, 30-20, 30-24 sweep of Pacific Sunday afternoon at North Gym.


The Wildcats finished the weekend with a 2-1 record in the tournament with its only defeat coming at the hands of No. 6 Santa Clara. K-State bounced back strong Sunday as the Cats hit .302 for the match, while holding Pacific (0-3) to a .184 clip.


Kroeker, a sophomore, narrowly missed her first career double-double as she finished the day with 12 kills, nine blocks and a .414 hitting percentage while committing no attack errors. Johnson, a redshirt freshman, tallied 13 kills on .632 hitting and registered 10 or more kills in two matches on the weekend.


Defensively, Angie Lastra collected a team-high 18 digs, while two other Wildcats, Jenny Jantsch and Lauren Rosenthal, also had 10 or more digs with 17 and 10, respectively. Lastra collected her 30th career 15-plus dig match and now has 1,043 career digs, the seventh-most in K-State history.


Setter Stacey Spiegelberg quarterbacked the offense to its highest hitting output of the season at .302 and collected a match-high 44 assists on the day. The junior wasn’t too far from a triple-double after also collecting eight digs and six blocks.


The Wildcats took control of game one about midway through the game as a Jantsch kill started a K-State run that Pacific could not answer. With the score at 9-6 in favor of the Cats, Jantsch blasted a shot down to up the lead to four at 10-6 and the K-State defense then forced eight Pacific errors down the stretch to put the game out of reach at 21-11. Pacific did not get within eight points for the remainder of the game with the Wildcats taking game one, 30-21.


Game two went back and forth early on as both teams battled to a 13-13 score near the halfway mark, but K-State outscored the Tigers, 17-7, down the stretch to take a 30-20 win. Johnson and Kroeker each had four kills in the game and K-State collected five service aces to take a 2-0 lead into the locker room.


The Tigers battled deeper into game three as neither team managed to break away from the other. With the game tied at 21 late, K-State scored four crucial points in a row on consecutive kills from Ginta Gabruseva and two Pacific errors to take a 25-21 lead. But, Gabruseva followed with another kill and an ace to seal the win as a Pacific error at 29-24 gave the Cats the point and the win in the match.


No. 25 Kansas State returns to action next weekend as the Wildcats host the Varney’s Kansas State Invitational at Ahearn Field House. K-State opens Friday at 12 p.m. against Lipscomb, while Wichita State and Montana State will also be participants.