K-State Rally Falls Short in the Rockies

BOULDER, Colo. Kansas State set a new school record for blocks in a match and forced Colorado into a fifth game on Wednesday night in the Coors Events Center, but the Buffaloes held serve on their home floor, 3-2 (27-30, 37-35, 33-31, 23-30, 15-12).  


K-State (9-15, 1-13 Big 12) tallied 25.0 total blocks on the night, which surpasses the previous mark of 23.5 set Oct. 24, 1986 at Wichita State. This is the second time this season the Wildcats have broken a team blocks record, the first in a three-game match against Notre Dame on Sept. 9 with 20.5.


The Wildcats were led by middle blockers Kelsey Chipman and Megan Kroeker. Chipman tallied career-highs of 20 kills and 15 blocks for her first career double-double. The blocks by the Topeka, Kan., product sets a new school record for block assists in a five-game match, surpassing the previous mark of 11 by four players.


Kroeker carded 15 kills and eight blocks. It is the 14th time this season and 18th time in her career she has surpassed double figures in kills.


Junior setter Stacey Spiegelberg tied a season-high with 62 assists and tallied 14 digs for her eighth double-double this season. Junior Angie Lastra carded 11 kills and 16 kills for her fifth double-double this season. Reshirt freshman Ginta Gabruseva added 10 kills and three blocks off the bench.


Colorado (13-8, 9-5) was paced by Lauren Schaefer and Amber Sutherland with 19 and 18 kills, respectively. Senior setter Ashley Nu’u dished out a match-high 74 assists.


Kansas State rallied from an early 5-1 deficit in game one on the strength of a 13-5 run sparked by two kills from Werner and Spiegelberg. Spiegelberg also added a pair of block assists with Chipman during the run.


Colorado refused to go away, coming back to take a 20-19 lead. A Werner and Kroeker block pushed K-State to a 6-0 run to secure the lead for the final time. Kroeker sealed the game one win with a kill, 30-27. Werner led the Wildcats with six kills in the game, as the team tallied 17 kills on a .250 hitting percentage. The Buffaloes hit just .162 with just 14 kills.


K-State again rallied from a deficit, charging back from a 21-15 Colorado lead in the second game to capture a 28-27 lead on a Kroeker solo block. The Wildcats reached game point first at 29-28 on a Spiegelberg kill, but the Buffaloes held off the Wildcats. This was a recurring theme late in the second stanza, as Colorado held off seven game-points for the Wildcats before securing the game two win, 37-35, to even the match. It is the longest game for K-State since a 39-37 game two with Iowa State on Oct. 2, 2004.


The Wildcats were led by Chipman with eight kills as K-State hit .291 with 22 kills. Colorado registered an incredible 30 kills on a .312 hitting percentage.


K-State secured its largest lead of the third game, a five-point lead at 24-19, on a Megan Farr kill. The Buffaloes chipped back into the frame and evened the game at 27. The Wildcats reach game-point first on a Colorado attack error, but the Buffaloes quickly turned the frame in their favor. Ginta Gabruseva tallied her third kill of the game to even the third at 30, before Colorado reached game point again. Chipman and Farr registered a block to even the game at 31, but Colorado pieced together two points for the third game win, 33-31.


The Wildcats bounced back in the fourth frame to hold a 17-9 lead punctuated by a Farr kill. K-State never was in danger of dropping the game, as Gabruseva put the game away with a kill, 30-23. The Wildcats hit a blistering .378 with 19 kills, including five from Chipman and Gabruseva.


K-State held a 9-8 lead in game five, but Colorado used a 7-3 charge down the stretch to seal the match, 15-12. Colorado hit .240 with 10 kills, while the Wildcats hit .105 with six kills.  


Kansas State will return to Manhattan for a two-match homestand beginning Saturday at 1 p.m. The Wildcats welcome Texas A&M to Ahearn Field House.