No. 5 UCLA Denies K-State of Upset Bid

HONOLULU, Hawaii No. 25 Kansas State (5-2) dropped its second match of season, as No. 5 UCLA took the 3-1 victory from the Cats in the final contest of the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic. With a strong effort after game two, the Wildcats could not contain the Bruins and fell by scores of 20-30, 25-30, 30-19, 27-30.


Junior Nataly Korobkova led the Cats offensively as she contributed 22 of the team’s 64 kills with a .333 hitting percentage. The native of Russia had a career high four service aces on the night. Junior Rita Liliom added 18 kills for K-State, including seven in the first game.


Stacey Spiegelberg produced numbers on all sides, finishing with a team-high 52 assists. The product of Overland Park, Kan., added five kills on .364 hitting, one service ace and seven digs.


With a 21-dig effort, Angie Lastra became Kansas State’s leader in matches with 20 or more digs. The senior Wildcat has now moved to 22 matches and ahead of Laura Downey on the career list.


For the third time in Hawaii, the Wildcats struggled to create a rhythm to start the match and were unable to score consecutive points until bringing the score to 8-6. The closest K-State came to UCLA from that point was 16-13 after Liliom had three consecutive kills. The Bruins responded with three points of their own, forcing the second KSU timeout at 19-13. K-State was unable to get within three of UCLA for the remainder of the game and fell in the first 30-20.


The Wildcats came out for the second game and evenly battled with the Bruins until a three-point UCLA run to pull the Bruins ahead 7-4. The Cats had a kill from Korobkova and Jenny Jantsch to pull within one before another UCLA three-point run and K-State’s second timeout at 10-6. The Cats continued to claw their way back into the game and were within two or less points on nine occasions, including a period after three-straight kills. Despite the fight, UCLA ended the second game in the same fashion as the first with a four-point run to end the game at 30-25.


Out of the five-minute break, K-State made a strong push to force a game four as the Cats jumped out to a 10-3 lead with a large effort from Jantsch, who had two block assists, one kill and a service ace in that span. K-State continued to have strong production from the hitters, including seven kills from Korobkova, that proved too much for the fifth-ranked Bruins. The Cats finished the game with a four-point run of their own to win 30-19 on .417 hitting.


UCLA jumped out to a 4-2 advantage in the fourth game before K-State rallied back to a 5-4 lead with two Liliom kills and a service ace from Kelsey Chipman. The game had nine ties before the Bruins gained momentum with a three-point run to lead 15-13 before a KSU timeout. The Wildcats came out of the break with five-unanswered points to earn their largest lead with an 18-15 score. After a Bruin timeout, K-State held onto the lead until UCLA took over at 27-26 and won the game and match 30-27.


The Wildcats will return home to host their home tournament, the Varney’s Kansas State Invitational, which is set for Fri.-Sat., Sept. 7-8. K-State will welcome Arkansas, Fresno State and Northern Iowa to Ahearn Field House, with the Cats’ first match against the Razorbacks of Arkansas.