No. 24 K-State Falls to No. 19 Michigan State, 3-1
Sept. 14, 2002
Tampa, Fla. - The 24th-ranked Kansas State women's volleyball team dropped consecutive matches for the first time since this season, as the Wildcats dropped a hard-fought 31-29, 30-25, 22-30, 30-27 decision to 19th-ranked Michigan State on Saturday on day two of the USF Adidas Invitational held at The Corral.
With the win, Michigan State garnered its first win of the USF Invitational and improved to 6-2 overall, while Kansas State dropped consecutive matches for the first time this season and fell to 4-3 on the season. The two straight losses were the first by the Wildcats since opening the 2001 season with back-to-back losses to No. 5 Hawaii and No. 7 UCLA.
Michigan State narrowly outhit Kansas State, .276 to .222, with both teams tallying 64 kills and 62 digs. Both teams committed 14 service errors with Wildcats posting seven aces to the Spartans' three. MSU outblocked K-State, 14.5-7.0.
Junior outside hitter Cari Jensen led four Wildcats with double-digit kills with 13 on the day, while sophomore setter Gabby Guerre tallied her second straight double-double with a career-high 12 kills on .529 hitting and 46 assists. Senior co-captain Jennifer Pollard added a double-double with 11 kills and 14 digs and junior middle blocker Lauren Goehring chipped in 10 kills and three aces.
Sophomore outside hitter Kim Schram paced four Spartans in double-digit kills with a match-high 19 on .432 hitting, while junior outside hitter Sara Villwock added a double-double with 13 kills and 17 digs.
The two teams battled back in forth in the opening set before Michigan State took a four-point lead at 10-6. Kansas State kept the score close until a service ace and a kill by Martin knotted the game at 17-all. A 6-2 run gave MSU a solid 23-19 lead before K-State rallied to tie the game at 27-all on back-to-back kills by Pollard. The Wildcats had game point at 29-28 after a Goehring block, but the Spartans again tied the score and won on their first game point opportunity, 31-29. Pollard's four kills paced a balanced attack with six Wildcats with two or more kills, while Downey-Wallace had a game-high eight digs.
The game remained much the same in game two with the teams battling through several ties before Michigan State expanded a small lead into a six-point advantage, 20-14. Kansas State used another late game rally to close within one point on two occasions, lastly at 25-24. However, the Spartans scored five of the last six points to close out the game with a 30-25 victory. MSU hit a blistering .514 in the game, while K-State hit just .281. Guerre, Jensen and Franklin all collected three kills to pace the balanced attack.
With the momentum clearly on the side of the nationally-ranked Spartans, it was Kansas State who jumped out to the early lead in game three. The Wildcats maintained as much as three-point advantage before the Spartans rallied to tie on four occasions. On the strength of the serve of Pollard, K-State broke an 18-all tie with a 6-0 run to take a 24-18 advantage. After a MSU closed to within 25-22, the Wildcats closed it out with five straight kills for a 30-22 win. K-State held Michigan State to negative .029 hitting in the victory, while just hitting .152. Guerre and Jensen each tallied four kills, while Guerre added 11 assists.
In the pivotal game four, the two teams again battled through eight ties before Michigan State converted on back-to-back kills to take a 14-12 lead. The Spartans extended the advantage to as many as five, lastly as 21-16, before the Wildcats rallied within one point on four occasions. However, K-State tallied back-to-back hitting errors to give MSU a 29-26 advantage in an eventual 30-27 win. Jensen and Goehring each tallied four kills, while Downey-Wallace had a team-high six digs.
Kansas State continues play at the USF Adidas Invitational on Saturday, as the Wildcats play Georgia Tech at 4 p.m. CDT.