Oct. 12, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. - Senior Kaitlynn Pelger had a match-high 17 kills along with 10 digs and five blocks, but the K-State volleyball team could not match Oklahoma as the Wildcats lost in four sets (25-22, 20-25, 25-19, 25-19) on Saturday in McCasland Field House.
The Wildcats (13-5, 1-4 Big 12) were forced to overcome a large early deficit and long rallies in the first set while they controlled the entire second set. K-State had five of its nine blocks in the second as the Wildcats controlled the up-the-middle attack by Oklahoma (15-4, 3-2 Big 12) early on in the match.
Pelger was among three Wildcats with double-digit kills, with senior Courtney Traxson adding 13 and junior Taylor Johnson chipping in 10. Redshirt freshman Katie Brand had six kills to go along with her 46 assists, eight digs and three blocks.
Junior Gina Madonia had a career-high 21 digs, making up over a quarter of the Wildcats' 80 digs during the evening. Senior Tristan McCarty had 18 digs and freshman Kersten Kober had 15. It was the fifth straight match for McCarty in which she had double-digit digs.
K-State fell behind early in the first set after the Sooners tallied four blocks and a .500 hitting percentage to open a 10-4 lead. The Sooners' advantage swelled to 13-4 before a Johnson kill on a quick ignited a 5-1 run for the Wildcats. Pelger had a pair of kills during the burst while she also combined with Brand for a block. Pelger had six kills in the opening set.
The Wildcats pulled within two, 21-19, after a pair of attack errors and kill from Pelger forced Oklahoma to take a timeout. Another Sooners attack error made it 21-20, and the Wildcats kept it within one as late as 23-22 before Oklahoma closed it out with two K-State errors.
The Wildcats never trailed in the second set, thanks to a .306 hitting percentage offensively and five blocks and a .195 hitting percentage allowed. K-State and Oklahoma were tied at 4-4, but three straight points, capped by kills from Pelger and Johnson, gave the Wildcats a three-point lead.
With a 14-12 advantage later in the second set, the Wildcats grabbed a five-point lead when McCarty dropped in K-State's first ace of the night that made it 17-12. A block by Dakota Kaufman and Johnson started the 3-0 burst. The Wildcats forced the Sooners to use a timeout when Pelger and Keating stuffed a Kierra Holst attack and Pelger delivered a kill down the line to make it 20-15 K-State. Brand later dumped a ball deep into the Oklahoma corner to give the Wildcats' their largest lead of the set, 22-16.
The Sooners closed it within 22-20, but K-State finished off Oklahoma with a kill by Traxson, block from Johnson and Brand, and a Johnson kill on a quick to clinch the set.
K-State led in the early going of the third set. With kills by Brand and Traxson surrounding an ace by Chelsea Keating, the Wildcats built a 13-10 lead before the Sooners slowed the Wildcats' momentum with a timeout. Oklahoma went on a 6-1 run following the break to put the Wildcats down 16-14. Three attack errors by K-State, including two on Oklahoma blocks, contributed to the Sooner burst.
The Wildcats managed to stall Oklahoma's surge midway through the third set, pulling within one after a kill from Traxson, but the Sooners built a 20-17 lead and forced K-State to use its final timeout. The Sooners closed out the third set with a 5-2 run, featuring two kills from Oklahoma's Madison Ward.
In the third set, the Wildcats had a match-high 11 attack errors. Oklahoma, meanwhile, had three attack errors.
The Wildcats were unable to match Oklahoma's .326 hitting percentage in the fourth set. K-State, which hit at a .133 percentage in the fourth, had eight attacking errors in the final set while Oklahoma had two.
Oklahoma scored four straight points to turn a tie into an 11-7 lead. The Wildcats narrowed the gap to 13-11 with Pelger's penultimate kill of the match, but a 9-3 run for Oklahoma gave K-State its largest deficit of the set, 22-14. Back-to-back kills by Keating spawned some life for the Wildcats, but they could not narrow the lead any closer than five over the final points.
Pelger's 17 kills gives her 1,393 in her career, one shy of tying Yolanda Young for fourth on K-State's career kills list.
K-State will have a bye this Wednesday before returning to action on Saturday, October 19 against Texas Tech in Ahearn Field House. Tickets are $1 for the home match against the Red Raiders as part of "Pack the Field House."