Aug. 30, 2002
Fort Collins, Colo. -
Colorado State and Kansas State gave the 1,892 fans at Moby Arena on Friday evening a hard-fought battle, however, it was the 18th-ranked Rams that outdueled the 22nd-ranked Wildcats in five games at the University Park Holiday Inn Classic by scores of 26-30, 30-25, 30-24, 26-30, 15-10.
Kansas State (0-1) dropped their season opener in five games for the second consecutive year and fell to 0-5 all-time against Colorado State in Fort Collins, while the Rams (1-0) won their fourth straight season opener.
"Colorado State is a very physical team," said Wildcat head coach Suzie Fritz. "They got hot towards the end of game one and continued it in game two and three. I was proud of the way our team battled back to take game four. We had our chances. We just didn't get it done. We now have to focus on getting better for two tough matches tomorrow."
Both teams were plagued by poor hitting and serving in the match. Colorado State hit .164 with five aces and 17 service errors, while Kansas State posted a .103 hitting percentage with seven aces and 12 service errors. The .103 hitting percentage was the lowest by a Wildcat team since the squad posted a .022 percentage at No. 2 Nebraska on October 27, 2001. The Rams also totaled over 25 more kills (78-51) and 20 additional digs (93-73) and outblocked the Wildcats, 14-9.
Junior middle blocker Lauren Goehring paced the Wildcats with 15 kills on .367 hitting with three digs and three blocks, while senior outside hitter Jennifer Pollard and junior outside hitter Cari Jensen added 12 kills apiece. Both Pollard (15) and Jensen (10) added double-digit dig totals to highlight three players with double-double, along with sophomore setter Gabby Guerre's 42 assists and 10 digs. Junior libero Laura Downey-Wallace tied for the fifth-most digs in a tournament contest with a match-high 20.
Freshman outside hitter Tess Rogers led five Colorado State with double-digit kills on the night with 20, while sophomore outside hitter Katie Jo Shirley paced four Rams with double-doubles with 14 kills and a team-high 18 digs. Sophomore setter Melissa Courtney ran an effective Ram offense in her first career start with 63 assists, 15 digs and six kills.
In game one, Colorado State had an early two-point advantage before Kansas State took its first lead on back-to-back Ram hitting errors at 6-5. The teams battled through five ties before the Wildcats scored four straight points to take a 16-12 lead. The K-State lead was as high as eight points at 24-16, however, host CSU refused to give up, scoring seven of the next eight points to close within 25-23. The advantage remained at two points until the Wildcats converted on back-to-back kills for a 29-25 lead. Kansas State then won on its second game point, 30-26. Goehring and Pollard each tallied four kills in the win, while Downey-Wallace and Cari Jensen each notched four digs.
Kansas State took the early lead in game two at 6-4 before Colorado State rallied to take its first lead at 10-9 on back-to-back Wildcat hitting errors. The lead remained with the Rams until K-State tied the match at 17-all on three straight points. However, CSU grabbed the momentum by scoring 10 of the next 13 points to take its largest lead at 27-20. The Wildcats refused to give in, closing to within 28-25 before a Ram timeout, however, CSU closed the game with consecutive kills for a 30-25 win. Cari Jensen paced the Wildcats in the game with four kills on .500 hitting, while Downey-Wallace contributed six digs.
Kansas State jumped out to 4-0 lead in game three, but it was quickly erased with four straight points by Colorado State. The two teams battled through a number of ties, the last being at 7-all, before the Rams scored seven of the next eight points for a 13-8 lead . The Wildcats closed to within one point on two occasions, including 19-18, but the Rams were too strong down the stretch, winning the game on their second first game-point opportunity at 30-24. Martin and Cari Jensen each posted three kills in the loss, while Pollard and Downey-Wallace turned in four digs apiece.
With the momentum clearly on the side of Colorado State, Kansas State raced out to a 5-1 lead in the pivotal game four on three kills and two Ram hitting errors. After CSU rallied to tie it at 9-all, the Wildcats scored seven of the next 10 points for a 16-12 advantage. However, once the Rams tied it at 16-all, the two teams displayed their true potential with each battling through seven ties and a number of lead changes before Kansas State scored the game's final three points at 27-26 to pull out a 30-26 win. Goehring led the team with five kills on .444 hitting, while Downey-Wallace again paced the team in digs with six.
In the decisive game five, Colorado State jumped out a 5-2 lead before Kansas State knotted the game at 5-all on a kill and two Ram hitting errors. However, the Rams scored seven of the next nine points to take a commanding 12-7 advantage en route to a 15-10 victory. CSU hit .333 in the final game compared to K-State's .053. Goehring had three kills on .500 hitting to lead the Wildcats.
Kansas State concludes play at the University Park Holiday Inn Classic with two matches on Saturday, as the Wildcats play Connecticut at 11 a.m. CST and Western Michigan at 6 p.m. CST.
--The Wildcats' starting lineup consisted of middle blockers Lauren Goerhing and Lisa Martin, setter Gabby Guerre, outside hitters Cari Jensen and Jennifer Pollard, defensive specialist Kris Jensen and libero Laura Downey-Wallace.
--Redshirt freshman Katie Stanzel saw her first career action when she came in for Kris Jensen in the front row of game one.
--Sophomore transfer Michaela Franklin saw her first career action in relief of Stanzel in game two.
--Junior libero Laura Downey-Wallace started her first match as the team's libero, a new back-row position recently adopted by the NCAA... Downey-Wallace tied for the fifth-most digs in a five-game match in the tournament history with 20... She missed her career-high by one, a 21-dig performance versus Texas A&M on November 17, 1999.
--Junior middle blocker Lauren Goehring posted a .300 hitting percentage or better for the 31st time in her career... She has now posted a .300 or better hitting percentage in 11 of the team's last 16 matches.
--Kansas State falls to 19-10 all-time in season openers, including 0-2 under head coach Suzie Fritz.