Wildcats Win Sunflower Showdown

MANHATTAN, Kan. The Wildcats ousted their in-state rival Kansas Jayhawks in four sets Saturday to reach 20 wins for the season and put coach Suzie Fritz one win short of tying the school record for career wins. Kansas State held the Jayhawks off 25-17, 25-17, 23-25, 25-14 en route to the victory.


K-State (20-4, 10-3 Big 12) was led by Rita Liliom with 19 kills. She had an efficient night hitting .359 for the match on her 39 swings. Nataly Korobkova and Kelsey Chipman joined her in double digits with 13 and 11 kills respectively. Libero Lauren Mathewson continued to stay hot defensively for the Wildcats with 21 digs her sixth 20-dig match of the season. Fritz said the play of Mathewson has factored into how the team has developed this season and charges the team.


“She’s big time,” Fritz said. “We knew she had the potential in the spring it was a matter of her developing confidence in herself and she has. She’s playing like a big time libero.”


Kansas (10-12, 4-9), on the other hand, did not have a single player reach double digits in kills as the Wildcats held the Jayhwaks to a .129 hitting percentage for the match. K-State’s defense shut down KU in the fourth set as the Jayhawks struggled with errors and hitting into the Wildcat block. Kansas hit -.094 in the final set.


“We played well tonight. I liked our energy,” Fritz said. “I think we are starting to come together as a team and are enjoying playing together. When this team flips the switch it can really go. The problem is that switch goes off and on too much.”


The Wildcats tallied 12 blocks on the night compared to the six from Kansas. Chipman played a big part in the front line of defense with five block assists and two solo stops. Korobkova also was huge with six blocks assists.


Senior Jenny Jantsch moved into sole possession of sixth place on the career service aces list at K-State to give her 130 and pull ahead of Stacey Spiegelberg. Setter Soriana Pacheco also had a strong night for the Wildcats as she had 51 assists and three aces herself.


The Wildcats will conclude their three-match homestand at 7 p.m. Wednesday when they play host to the Oklahoma Sooners. K-State rallied from behind to win in its previous match with OU after trailing two sets to none and facing match point in the third.