Wildcats Battle to Win at UNI Invitational

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa Kansas State used a combined 42 kills from sophomore Jenny Jantsch and senior Sandy Werner to defeat Northern Iowa, 3-1 (30-27, 30-27, 28-30, 31-29) and extend its win streak to six matches during the first match of the UNI Invitational. It is just the 11th loss by the Panthers in the West Gym in 16 years.

Kansas State (7-1) was paced by the effort of Jantsch who recorded her second career double-double with a career-high 22 kills and 16 digs. The Kansas City, Mo., product registered her second double-double of her career.

 

Werner carded 20 kills on a .256 hitting percentage and six blocks. It is her sixth career match of 20 or more kills. With her 25-point effort, the Topeka, Kan., product becomes just the 17th player in Wildcat history to record 1,000 points in a career. It is the first time this season K-State has had two players with 20 or more kills.

 

Joining Jantsch and Werner in double figures were redshirt freshmen Tiffany Johnson and Ginta Gabruseva. Johnson tallied 15 kills on a team-high .387 hitting percentage. The Odenton, Md., native also added a career-high eight blocks to her ledger. Gabruseva added 12 kills.

 

The Wildcat offense was quarterbacked by junior Stacey Spiegelberg’s 62 assists and 14 digs for her fifth career match of 60 assists and 10th career double-double.

 

Junior libero Angie Lastra registered her 14th career 20 dig match and second of the season.. The Carolina, Puerto Rico native moved into sixth-place on the K-State career digs list with 1,122 to pass Liz Wegner.

 

In game one, Kansas State and Northern Iowa (5-4) opened with eight ties and two lead changes. The Wildcats overcame a one-point deficit at 8-7 to take a 11-8 lead on three kills from Werner and an attacking error by the Panthers. The Wildcats extended the lead to six at 16-10 with a second four-point run.

 

K-State took game one, 30-27, with a hitting percentage of .375 and 21 kills. The Wildcats were paced by Werner and Jantsch with six kills apiece. Spiegelberg dished out 20 assists and dropped in a service ace to continue the nation’s longest ace streak at 233 matches.

 

The Wildcats cobbled together a late 5-2 run to win game two, 30-27. Both teams had a difficult time finding open space on the other’s side of the floor, as K-State hit .100, while UNI tallied an even .000. K-State received another strong effort from Werner, who carded seven kills and a service ace in the game. Ginta Gabruseva also chipped into the attack with four kills.

 

Northern Iowa used a 6-0 run late in game three to distance themselves from the Wildcats at 28-22. K-State delayed the Panther victory with a 5-0 run to pull to 28-27. Jantsch led the charge with three kills during the run. UNI took the game at 30-28, with a late kill on its third game point.

 

K-State used a 6-0 run to hold a 13-6 lead and force UNI to use both timeouts early in the fourth game. The Panthers clawed back into the match and took a 22-18 lead. The Wildcats charged back into the frame with five Jantsch kills. K-State capped the 31-29 match-clinching win on a Megan Kroeker-Jantsch block.

 

Kansas State will finish play in the UNI Invitational on Saturday as they take on No. 23 Notre Dame at 10 a.m. and Alabama at 5 p.m. The morning match with the Fighting Irish will be broadcast live on 1350 KMAN in Manhattan with Brian Smoller providing the play-by-play.