Wildcats Rally to Tame Tigers

COLUMBIA, Mo.   The No. 13 Kansas State Wildcats had to rally from behind to get a win on the road against Missouri on Wednesday night. The win ensured K-State third place in the Big 12 Conference. The Wildcats had to battle back after dropping the first set and rallying late in the fourth to force a fifth set and eventually win the match 21-25, 25-19, 12-25, 25-20, 15-12.


In the fifth set, Missouri scored four straight points to pull ahead 10-7 answered by three in a row from K-State to even the set at 10-10. Missouri used its final timeout of the set leaving each team without any to finish the match.


The Tigers scored on a kill by Amanda Hantouli to go ahead 12-11. The Wildcats answered in style scoring the next four points to close the match and get the win. Rita Liliom helped lead the way with a kill to even the score and an ace to closeout the win on the final point. Sophomore JuliAnne Chisholm contributed in the rally with her 11th kill of the night setting up match point. Her 11 kills was a new career-high.


K-State (23-6, 13-5 Big 12) was led by Liliom with 22 kills for her sixth 20-kill match of the season. Chisholm added a career-high 11 kills and had three digs and two blocks. Liliom also marked her 11th double-double of the year with 15 digs. Setter Soriana Pacheco also had a double-double with 42 assists and 13 digs.


Lauren Mathewson won the battle of liberos as the match featured two of the top defensive players in the conference with Missouri’s Caitlyn Vann. Mathewson had her eighth 20-dig match of the season with 27 as Vann led the Tigers with 22. Missouri (13-14, 7-10) was led by Julianna Klein with 20 kills as she was joined in double digits by Hantouli with 12.


The Wildcats hit .202 for the match compared to Mizzou’s .185. K-State had its most efficient performance of the night in the finale hitting .348 in the fifth set to get the win. The Wildcats struggled to produce consistent offense in the two sets they dropped while Missouri hit over .200 in just one set hitting .344 in the third.


K-State found itself in a hole early against the Tigers falling behind 11-5. Missouri opened the match with a 4-1 run with two kills on a dump and push to the corner. K-State evened the score with a run of its own, but a 7-1 run by the Tigers opened the lead back up.


K-State battled back within one point at 17-16 but Missouri responded with a quick four-point run to push the Wildcats into a corner. That margin proved to be too much as the Tigers closed out the first set 25-21 led by Klein with four kills. The Tigers led the entire way with just one tie in the set.


Neither team’s offense got into a rhythm in the first set with each hitting below .200. The Wildcats and Tigers each tallied 13 kills in the first set but a number of errors for each resulted in the low percentages.


The Wildcats dug another hole in the second set but clawed its way out much quicker. After falling behind 6-2, K-State scored four straight points utilizing its size up front with back-to-back blocks during the run.


K-State continued the run with a solo block and kill from Chisholm. The Wildcats extended the streak to nine straight points to open an 11-6 lead. K-State continued to pour it on building a seven-point lead at 20-13. The Wildcats hit .286 in the set and slowed Mizzou down to a .050 percentage thanks to five blocks in the set en route to the 25-19 win.


In the second set, Chisholm continued to find cracks in the Tigers’ defense with four kills to bring her total to seven and one shy of her season-high after just two sets. Liliom ended the set with seven total kills as well as the pair helped even the match at one set apiece heading into the break.


The Wildcats came out of the gates sluggish following the intermission falling behind 7-1 after Mizzou scored six straight points. They clawed back within two points but three in row for the Tigers extended the lead to five points.


Following a K-State timeout, Missouri continued its run to eight straight points and pulled ahead by 10 on the arm of Klein as she had three kills in the run. Klein also had a block assist during the run. The Tigers stuffed three Wildcat attacks in the eight-point swing.


K-State hit just .026 in the set with only nine kills and eight errors while Mizzou had its highest percentage so far in the match hitting .344 with just two errors to get the 25-12 win and claim a 2-1 lead.


In the fourth set K-State opened the early lead but Missouri fought its way back with a three-point run to tie it up at 19-19. A block on the next point by the Tigers gave them their first lead of the set at 20-19 and forced a K-State timeout.


Liliom got the kill for the Wildcats out of the timeout to even the set in a race to five points followed by a block by Korobkova and Farr. An attack error by Missouri led to a Tiger timeout with K-State leading 22-20 on a three-point run.


The Wildcats ended the set on a six-point run scoring every point after Missouri took its first lead. Liliom pulled the Wildcats to the win with four kills in the rally including the final point on an over dig by Missouri with a wide open court to send the match to a penultimate fifth set.


K-State will be off this weekend receiving its bye through the second rotation of round robin play in the Big 12. The Wildcats will return to action November 26 for Senior Night against Iowa State.