Wildcats Sweep into Season

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. The No. 14 Kansas State Wildcats started their season off with a sweep over Tennessee State at the Mortar Board Premier hosted by Purdue. K-State (1-0) jumped to an early in lead in Set 1 and kept the pressure on the remainder of the match to win 25-15, 25-18 and 25-16.


“We were medium,” said head coach Suzie Fritz. “I think we’re capable of playing a lot better than that, but it is the first match of the season. We will need to play better tomorrow.”


The Wildcats came out attacking and took advantage of Tennessee State errors to go on runs of 4-0 and 6-0 early and take a 12-4 lead. K-State was aggressive at the service line as well extending its streak of consecutive matches with an ace to 288 matches.


K-State’s defense kept the Lady Tigers at bay holding Tennessee State to a .038 hitting percentage. Tennessee State  hit just .040 in the first set with nine kills and eight errors. The Wildcats pounded out eight kills with just one error to hit .350 in the opening stanza. The Cats hit .260 for the match en route to the victory, and Fritz said her offense performed well but has room for improvement.


“We touched a lot of balls with our block today,” Fritz said. “I feel like we controlled them defensively, which was a bright spot for us.”


Senior outside hitters Rita Liliom and Jenny Jantsch led the way for the Wildcats with 10 and seven kills respectively. Liliom shined in the first set with four kills, and Jantsch began to attack the Lady Tigers in the second and third sets.


Coming into the season the starting setter position was one hole to be filled on the Wildcat squad. Redshirt freshman Abby Fay got the starting nod against Tennessee State and had 13 assists in her collegiate debut. Junior college transfer Soriana Pacheco entered the match during the third set and directed the team to a kill on her first play. Pacheco tallied five assists for the match. Redshirt freshman Sarah Allison also saw her first collegiate action during the match at middle blocker.


Fritz said she was happy to get on the court and begin the season and most importantly start the year off on a good note and face another team.

“We were tired of beating up on each other,” she said. “We were able to test out some things we’ve been working on and get all of our active players some playing time and experience, which will only help us down the line.”


Following the match, three Wildcats were recognized by the Mortar Board for their academic achievements and community service. Jantsch was honored for having the highest GPA on the team with Allison being honored for having the most improved GPA of the Wildcats. Megan Farr received an award for her community service in the Manhattan area.


The Mortar Board is an academic organization that recognizes college seniors for distinguished ability and achievement in scholarship, leadership and service. Mortar Board recognized players from all four teams participating in the tournament.


The Wildcats will be back in action for two matches Saturday. K-State will take on Duke at 11 a.m. Central from the Campus of Purdue University. The match can be heard on 1350 KMAN with live stats available via Purdue’s athletic Web site www.purduesports.com.