Wildcats Spurn Blue Devils 3-0

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. The Wildcats cast out the Lady Blue Devils of Duke for another sweep at the Mortar Board Premier to open the season. Kansas State (2-0) held Duke (1-1) to .188 hitting while pounding out 20 more kills than the Devils get the win 25-22, 25-19, 25-18.


Head coach Suzie Fritz said she was happier with her team’s performance compared to Friday’s opener and the offense set the tone for the match.


“I am much happier with how we played. I feel we had a better rhythm than we did yesterday,” Fritz said. “Our passing was solid, and that’s something we’ve worked really hard on. It was nice to see that improve.”


The Wildcats and Lady Blue Devils battled back and forth in the Set 1 as a number of set errors kept Duke in the game. But K-State was able to rely on the experience of its outside hitters to out-hit Duke and take the set 25-22. Seniors Rita Liliom and Nataly Korobkova took over the match on the outside in the opening phrase with nine and seven kills apiece. The Wildcats hit .371 in the first set compared to Duke’s .227 and out-killed the Devils 20-9.


The Wildcats brought a balanced attack to the match with Korobkova leading the team with 15 kills. Liliom was close behind with 13. Kelsey Chipman and Megan Farr each were close to double-digit kills with eight and seven respectively.


“Our distribution was better,” Fritz said. “We were able to get our quick hitters more involved in this match, and that was probably because our passing was improved.”


In the second set, Korobkova and Liliom continued to pour it on accounting for six of K-State’s first seven points. The pair reached double-digit kills for the match early in the second set, and the Wildcat attack remained steady with 17 kills and a .333 hitting percentage to edge the Blue Devils 25-19. Duke’s attack improved but was not enough.


Both teams again battled back and forth in the third set before a 6-0 run gave the Wildcats a 17-11 lead. Defense and errors played a role in the third set as both teams hit significantly lower compared to the first two sets, but K-State recovered better. Duke hit just .077 in the final set and had only eight kills.


The Wildcats will take on host No. 25 Purdue in the tournament finale at 6:30 p.m. Central from Holloway Gymnasium. The match will not be broadcast over the airwaves but will be available at www.1350kman.com with live stats and streaming video on Purdue’s Web site www.purduesports.com.


Fritz said the final match of the Mortar Board Premier should be an exciting one with a loud and raucous crowd coming out for Purdue’s Friday night match.


“This is a tremendous environment for volleyball and a great volleyball venue. It will be nice for someone to get after us a bit,” Fritz said. “We have to figure out a way to play well on the road and win matches in conference play and this will be a great environment for us to experience this early in the season.”