Nov. 9, 2011
Box Score |
MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats added to their resume for a possible NCAA Tournament bid with their first win over a ranked opponent in two years on Wednesday night. The Wildcats defeated No. 25 Oklahoma in five sets 18-25, 25-23, 16-25, 25-21, 15-12 in a match that was not short on drama and saw a number of players come up big at the right moment for K-State.
"I'm so proud of my team again," Fritz said of winning back-to-back matches in five sets. "That was not pretty in any way, shape or form. I think we showed tremendous persistence to get the win, and that's pretty cool."
K-State (18-8, 7-5) rallied from behind in the fourth set 16-20 to send the match to the pivotal fifth set. Oklahoma (19-8, 6-5) scored one point after K-State pulled within two, but the Wildcats found another gear and scored seven straight points to end the set and grab the momentum heading into the fifth. It was similar to what OU did to K-State in the third set in the previous matchup this season when K-State gave up eight straight points to end the set and lose momentum to the Sooners.
The Wildcats were again led by sophomore outside hitter Lilla Porubek. The Hungarian tallied 23 kills and posted her first career double-double as she had to play all six rotations with middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger not available in her full capacity for the match. Porubek posted 14 digs in her first extensive back row action, which was something she was looking forward to doing for the first time since her club days in Hungary.
"I felt very confident tonight and knew I needed to play back row, which is something different for me here," Porubek said. "That gave me a bit more confidence because after you get a big dig it feels so good to go to the net and get a kill. I was so excited to play this game."
And her setter was excited to give her the ball.
"Suzie told me to feed the bear," Caitlyn Donahue said. "Lilla was swinging great, so I kept feeding her and feeding her and they were in."
The attacks were in again for sophomore Courtney Traxson, who backed her career day against Texas A&M on Saturday with 12 kills in the win over OU. Kathleen Ludwig also reached double figures with 12 kills and posted her third straight double-double with 14 digs.
Three Wildcats had double-doubles as Donahue also had 51 assists to go with her 20 digs. Her performance was the first 20-20 double-double by a Wildcat since Lisa Mimick against Nebraska in 2000.
Both teams had to find a way to play without their star players as the Wildcats had Pelger limited to serving and some back row play. Oklahoma, however, also had to play without star setter Brianne Barker as she left the match late in the second set and did not return. Fritz said it was a chess match for both teams and she was glad her team came together during the match and got the win.
"We're different without Pelger and they're different without Barker. I think we caught a bit of a break when, unfortunately for them, she went out," Fritz said. "This match was very much a team effort. There were several people who stepped up that you might not always read about that helped us win the match. Gina Madonia had a nice serving run in the fifth set under pressure, and that's a freshman. I'm proud of her. As a coach, when you see your team come together and see several people step up like that, that's what you love to see."
Madonia posted 13 digs in the victory to help strengthen the defense. Libero Kuulei Kabalis had another strong night for the Wildcats as she led the team with 26 digs. K-State combined for a team total of 98 digs.
With the win, K-State moves ahead of OU into fourth place in the Big 12 Conference standings and two games ahead of Missouri in sixth.
The Wildcats travel this weekend to take on the No. 9 Texas Longhorns at 4 p.m. Saturday from Gregory Gymnasium. The match will be televised on the Longhorn Network. The network is also offering a free preview weekend online, and the match can be seen free online at longhornnetwork.com.