Aug. 31, 2002
Fort Collins, Colo. -
The 18th-ranked Kansas State women's volleyball team used season-highs in both service aces and blocks to sweep Western Michigan, 30-26, 30-24, 30-27, on Saturday to conclude the University Park Holiday Inn Classic at Moby Arena.
Junior middle blocker Lauren Goehring was named the tournament's most valuable player, while junior libero Laura Downey-Wallace was selected to the all-tournament team. Goehring tallied a team-best 3.18 kills per game average on .460 hitting to go with a 1.45 digs per game and 0.91 blocks per game average. The .460 hitting percentage was the fourth-highest by a player in the tournament's 16-year history. Downey-Wallace, who leads the team with a 3.82 digs per game average, tallied double-digit dig totals in each of the team's three matches.
"Lauren (Goehring) was fantastic," said Wildcat head coach Suzie Fritz. "She was as good this weekend as she has ever been. There is no doubt in my mind that she is one of the best middle blockers in the nation. Laura (Downey-Wallace) was also nice as our libero. She dug a lot balls and had a ton of perfect passes. In all, I am really proud of the way this team responded to a tough tournament. We played a heartbreaking five-game match against Colorado State then had to come back and play at 10 a.m and 5 p.m. today. This is a good start for us. Now we have to go home and build on it."
Kansas State (2-1) used a season-best 10 service aces, including a career-best four from junior defensive specialist Kris Jensen, to go along with 13 team blocks in the three-game sweep. The Wildcats got three or more blocks from six different players, including four each from Goehring, junior outside hitter Cari Jensen and sophomore setter Gabby Guerre. Goehring paced the Wildcats' offensively with 15 kills on .550 hitting, while senior outside hitter Jennifer Pollard added a double-double with 10 kills and team-high 11 digs. Guerre displayed an all-around effort with six kills on .385 hitting with 35 assists and eight digs.
Senior middle blocker Angie Sillmon and freshman outside hitter Abby Gephart each posted 10 kills to pace the Western Michigan (0-3) attack, while freshman defensive specialist Katy Duffy collected a team-best 13 digs.
Kansas State jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the opening set before Western Michigan rallied to within 8-7. However, the Wildcats scored five straight points to widen the gap at 13-7. K-State maintained a solid lead until WMU turned in a key 7-2 run to close within 27-26. However, the Wildcats closed it out with a kill apiece from Goehring and Martin and a service ace from Kris Jensen for a 30-26 win. Goehring paced the team with five kills on .571 hitting, while Guerre added four digs and two blocks to go with 10 assists.
The two teams battled through six ties before Kansas State took its first substantial lead at 18-13. After Western Michigan closed to within 19-17, the Wildcats scored eight of the next 12 points to extend their advantage to 27-21. K-State then won on its third game point at 30-24. Goehring again led the team with five kills on .625 hitting, while Pollard chipped in four kills on .667 hitting.
Kansas State broke open a tight game three with an early 7-1 run with the game knotted at 3-all. The Wildcats maintained as much as a three-point lead until the Broncos closed to within two at 21-19 and 23-21. However, K-State built the lead back up to 28-23 before holding on for a 30-27 win and the sweep. Martin and Cari Jensen each posted four kills, while Pollard turned in six digs.
Kansas State will next be in action on Tuesday, September 3 when the Wildcats play state rival Wichita State in the home opener beginning at 7 p.m. This will be K-State's first meeting with the Shockers since 1998.