Cats Set Block Record to Defeat No. 23 Notre Dame

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa Kansas State put together one of the top defensive efforts in school history on Saturday morning, as the Wildcats defeated No. 23 Notre Dame, 3-0 (30-24, 30-21, 30-28).


The Wildcats (8-1) broke a 20-year old blocks record, as K-State carded 20.5 total blocks in the three game match. The previous record for a three-game match was 18 set on Oct. 4, 1986 against Louisville. The defensive effort was led by sophomore Megan Kroeker and redshirt freshman Tiffany Johnson. Kroeker registered a season-high 10 total blocks, two solo blocks and eight block assists. Johnson reset her career-high with nine total blocks, one solo and eight block assists.


The Wildcats held Notre Dame to a .023 hitting percentage for the match. It is the first time this season K-State has held an opponent to under a .100 hitting percentage in all three games.


The K-State offensive attack was led by senior Sandy Werner and sophomore Jenny Jantsch. Werner recorded 11 kills and chipped in with seven block assists. It is a new career-high for blocks for the Topeka, Kan., native and it is the 45th time in her career with 10 or more kills.


Jantsch registered 11 kills, seven digs and one service ace. It is the fourth time this season and third straight match for the Kansas City, Mo., product with 10 or more kills. It is also the eighth time this season she has registered at least one service ace.  

K-State took control of game one at 9-5 with a 4-0 run highlighted by consecutive service aces by Spiegelberg. This continues the nation’s longest service ace streak to 234 matches with at least one service ace. The Wildcats stretched the lead to 15-8 on a Megan Kroeker kill, forcing the Fighting Irish to burn their second and final timeout of the frame.


Notre Dame (4-3) pulled to within two at 23-21, but K-State streaked to a 6-0 run to force game point and eventually win the game 30-24. Both teams’ offenses were almost nonexistent as K-State hit .028, while Notre Dame carded a -.048. The Wildcat defense was up to the challenge with 9.5 total blocks and forced the Irish into 14 attack errors to carry the Wildcats to the win.


After trailing early in game two, 9-8, K-State went on a 5-2 run to hold a 13-11 advantage on a Johnson and Werner block assist. The Irish pulled to 19-17, but a Jantsch and Kroeker block assist started a 10-4 run to force game point at 29-21. Johnson pushed the Wildcats to the game two win on the second game point with her four kill of the frame.


The Wildcats’ offense came back to life during the second game with a .303 hitting percentage on 15 kills. The K-State defense continued to pummel the Notre Dame attackers with 5.5 total blocks for 15 through the first two games.


The teams battled to 14 ties and six lead changes during game three. The teams alternated points down the stretch, but a Jantsch kill in the first game point for the Wildcats sealed the match, 30-28.


Kansas State will finish the UNI Invitational later this afternoon against Alabama at 5 p.m.