Nov. 19, 2011
MANHATTAN, Kan. – It took a balanced offense and a scrappy defense to get the job done on Saturday for the Kansas State Wildcats as they defeated Texas Tech in four sets in Ahearn Field House. K-State got the victory 25-22, 25-18, 23-25, 25-21 with four players reaching double digits in kills and a defensive effort that posted nearly 70 digs.
K-State (19-10, 8-7) was ready for a Texas Tech team that would bring everything it had and the Wildcats responded well to the pressure early in the match keeping a number of long rallies alive and eventually scoring the point. Head Coach Suzie Fritz said she was proud of how her team played but also said there are areas to improve on still despite the win.
“We played with some inconsistencies on both sides of the ball. I’d like to see us string successes together over a long stretch of time,” Fritz said. “I felt our defense was scrappy. We were feisty. We were flying all over the place. It’s a huge thing if you can frustrate people by making them pay longer, and we did that tonight.”
The Wildcats were led in kills by Kaitlynn Pelger again with 14 as she also hit .343 to lead the way. Pelger added three aces as the Wildcats tallied nine on the day. She aided in the defensive effort with nine digs and five blocks as well.
Courtney Traxson tied her career-high with 13 kills and only had one error heading into the fourth set. She hit .333 for the match and had a career-high in digs with nine as she came up with a handful of digs on those long rallies for the Wildcats. Lilla Porubek continued her strong play with 12 kills, and Alex Muff posted her second match with at least 10 kills and she hit right on the number and had four blocks.
Setter Caitlyn Donahue had another impressive showing on her birthday spreading the offense around evenly for the Wildcats to keep Tech’s defense honest. She tallied 46 assists and 18 digs for her 13th double-double of the season. She also had a pair of aces. Kuulei Kabalis had 12 digs as well for the Wildcats.
Texas Tech (15-15, 1-13) was again led by star player Amanda Dowdy with 21 kills. Dowdy ranks second in Tech history in career kills. She also had 10 digs for another double-double. The Red Raiders had four players reach double digits in digs, but the offense could not find another attacker to help Dowdy. Breeann David and Miara Cave each posted nine kills, but their percentages were lower due to errors and blocks.
“We came out well and we controlled the people we needed to control on their side of the net,” Donahue said. “I’m proud of the way we bounced back in the fourth set and got the win. We did a good job of scrapping. We dug up a lot of balls. We knew they were a team that wanted to make us make errors, and we didn’t let that happen.”
Traxson added the match was exciting and her improved play over the last few weeks has helped her become more of the player she knows her team and coaches need her to be.
“I had a lot of fun today. I don’t know what happened to us in the third set, but we bounced back in the fourth and pulled it out. I’m so proud of my team for that,” Traxson said. “I’m getting more confidence and taking bigger swings, which is something I need to do.”
The Wildcats close the regular season against in-state rival Kansas at home on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The Sunflower Showdown will be the final chance for the Wildcats to make their case for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, where K-State is hoping to return for the first time since 2008.