Wildcats Ground Pilots 3-0

PORTLAND, Ore. The No. 20 Wildcats kept their host Portland Pilots from taking flight Friday night at the Nike Invitational and got another sweep for the weekend. Kansas State bested Portland 25-15, 25-15, 28-26 to get the win.


K-State (5-1) took advantage of its depth and size with seven players having multiple kills and stuffing 12 Pilot attacks. The Wildcat defense kept Portland (1-5) from putting together a consistent attack as the Pilots hit just .083 as a team. Coach Suzie Fritz said she was happy with how her team played at the net and kept the intensity high throughout the match.


“I think we played consistently and our block was good,” Fritz said. “Our serve forced them out of system a bit. Their offense is the kind when it gets going it goes really well.”


Rita Liliom led the attack for the Wildcats with 11 kills for the match. She struggled earlier in the match with a number of hitting errors before coming back into the match late to seal the deal and provide a number of crucial kills to lead the Cats to victory.


The Wildcats wasted no time building a large lead with a 6-0 run to pull ahead of Portland 12-7. From there K-State would not slow its attack or its defense to claim the first set 25-15. The Pilots hit for a negative percentage with seven kills and eight errors to post a mark of -.032.


K-State on the other hand had one of its best performances of the season for a single set hitting .333 with 16 kills and four errors. Defensively, the Cats had 14 digs and five blocks. Near the end of the set K-State went on a 5-0 run with three of those points coming off blocks from Megan Farr and Nataly Korobkova.


Late in the set, redshirt freshman Sarah Allison notched her first career kill on a ball that sailed just over the net for a free swing and an easy kill. Two plays later she pounded the ball to the floor on a quick set for her second kill.


The second set saw the Wildcats remain on the prowl and never relinquish the lead and seeing the only tie of the set coming at 1-1. Farr and Korobkova continued to be a force blocking along with Kelsey Chipman. The Cats poured the kills on again with another 16 at a .394 clip.


In the third set, the Wildcats struggled to put together a string of points and fell behind 9-10 early and did not reclaim the lead until 23-22 by nickel and diming at the deficit. Fritz re-entered Liliom late in the set to battle back and close the door as she had five kills and a block in the closing points of the match. Fritz said Liliom was huge in the win being able to help close the door.


“When it came down the end Lauren Mathewson showed her stability serving and did a great job of getting Portland out of system,” Fritz said. “We rode Rita hard to close the match and she responded well to that.”


The Wildcats will close out the Nike Portland Invitational on Saturday against South Florida at 2 p.m. CST. Again the match can be heard online at www.1350kman.com with live stats available through www.portlandpilots.com.