Sept. 17, 2011
MORAGA Calif. – The Kansas State Wildcats gained momentum throughout the match at Saint Mary’s on Saturday night and got their seventh straight victory winning this time in four sets. The Wildcats rolled in the fourth set as they were able to leave the Gaels behind and add another quality win to the schedule as Saint Mary’s was receiving votes in the latest AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll.
K-State (11-3) got the win 25-21, 22-25, 25-20, 25-14 with the Wildcats again being led by tournament MVP Kaitlynn Pelger. The sophomore middle blocker again proved why she is leading the Big 12 Conference in kills as she pounded out 18 on the night while hitting .429. Pelger also added a pair of aces on service and was in on six of K-State’s 13.5 blocks while also contributing nine digs.
The Wildcats saw the best match of the season from team captain Kathleen Ludwig as well. The junior opposite had a season-high 14 kills, surpassing her previous high of 12 set in the first match of the season against Georgia Tech. Ludwig had a hitting percentage of .310 to provide consistent kills and also had seven digs. Sophomore outside hitter Lilla Porubek found her stroke as she added 11 kills to the effort and had seven digs. Perhaps Porubek’s most impressive stat of the night was her three aces as she was able to keep Saint Mary’s off balance with her serve all night even when it didn’t fall to the floor for an ace.
Setter Caitlyn Donahue had another strong performance with her fifth double-double of the season. Donahue distributed the ball well to the hitters to tally 48 assists to go with her 11 digs. She also had one of the biggest plays of the night as she had a solo block one-on-one against Saint Mary’s middle blocker Gabby Jolly following an over pass that would have caught K-State off guard if not for Donahue’s quick reaction to the attack by Jolly.
Saint Mary’s was led by outside hitter Lauren Corp with 15 kills and she was joined in double digits as Samantha Tinsley added 13 kills. The Gaels hit .167 for the match while K-State was able to get the winning hitting .264.
The first set was all Pelger as she pounded out seven kills to lead the Wildcats and she was in on two of K-State’s three blocks to open the match. She was not the lone offensive threat, however, as Ludwig and Porubek each added three kills as the Gaels could not find a way to slow K-State down with the ‘Cats hitting .286 in the opening stanza.
In the second set, K-State held the momentum early after a 5-0 run pushed the lead to 7-3. More blocks and a pair of kills from Porubek put the Wildcats ahead 16-11. Then, Saint Mary’s would steal the momentum away from the Wildcats with an impressive 7-0 run to take the lead 21-18. Pelger tried to pull the Wildcats back to get the win but her two kills were not enough late as Corp took control of the set late with three kills to lift her team to the win 25-22 and head to the locker room tied at one set apiece.
K-State responded out of the break with three straight points to open the third set and grab the early momentum. That momentum would swing further onto K-State’s side of the net with a 4-0 run to go ahead 12-6. The Wildcats were able to avoid letting the Gaels go on any extended runs of their own as Saint Mary’s scored consecutive points just a handful of times and three in a row only once allowing K-State to get the win 25-20 and hold the advantage.
The Wildcats rolled in the fourth set with a series of runs by the team, including a 6-0 run to close the door on the Gaels. K-State dominated the set hitting .429 with Ludwig and Porubek playing key roles down the stretch as Pelger was in the back row passing.
K-State now begins preparation for the Big 12 Conference as they will open league action on Saturday against Baylor. First serve from Ahearn Field House is set for 7 p.m. The rest of the league begins on Wednesday, but the Wildcats start the conference season with one of their Wednesday byes.
Saint Mary's All-Tournament Team
Kaitlynn Pelger, K-State MVP
Caitlyn Donahue, K-State
Kathleen Ludwig, K-State
Lauren Corp, Saint Mary's
Samantha Tinsley, Saint Mary's
Erica Nish, Utah Valley
Breanne Menees, Sacramento State