Last night, the K-State volleyball team fell to 0-5 on the road in Big 12 play. The Wildcats failed to get any momentum built up against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, which has become a recurring issue on the road.
The Wildcats have not been able to win more than one set on the road since they beat Missouri State in their last non-conference game.
The loss drops the Wildcats, who throttled Oklahoma Sunday night 3-0, to 15-8 on the season (3-7 Big 12) while it moves the Red Raiders to 9-18 (3-7 Big 12). The Wildcats 7th Big 12 loss matches the total conference losses the last two season, where the Wildcats went 9-7 and 8-7 in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, respectively. The storybook non-conference run for the Wildcats has turned into a nightmare situation for the Wildcats who sit only above the Red Raiders and TCU (2-8 Big 12) in the conference standings.
The Wildcats lost the first set far worse than the 25-20 score makes it seem. They were on the wrong end of a 10-point run and found themselves down 20-11. The Wildcats made it close before the Red Raiders’ junior middle blocker Mikia Mills earned three kills to win the set for Tech.
The Wildcats then rebounded during the second set, fighting back from an 0-5 deficit, before tying it at 17-points apiece, eventually winning the set 25-21.
The fourth set saw the Wildcats looking desperately for points. After falling to an early 7-1 deficit, the Wildcats could hardly seem to put up a challenge, as the Red Raiders quickly earned a 25-13 victory in the deciding fourth set.
Senior outside hitter Courtney Traxson led the team with 13 kills, her second game with that number. Traxson is second on the team with 200 kills on the season, behind only senior middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger with 256 kills. Traxson averages 2.47 kills per set on the season.
Last week’s Big 12 offensive player of the week, Pelger had six kills and seven assists on the night, a far cry from the 5.67 kills per set she averaged last week over the Sooners. Her six kills is her second worst total on the year.
Redshirt-freshman setter Katie Brand had 41 of her teams’ 48 assists on the night, which is the second-highest mark for her in Big 12 play, second to her 59 assist total against TCU on Oct. 5.
The Wildcats next face a West Virginia (17-9, 3-7 Big 12) who is in the same predicament as the Wildcats. The Mountaineers went 16-1 in the preseason, before having the same meltdown that the Wildcats seem to be having. The Mountaineers won the first meeting in Morgantown, W. Va in September 3-1.
This is a seemingly must-win match for both the teams who both look to avoid a two-game skid. The Wildcats will look to use their home court advantage and to limit their errors Saturday night and must have a strong performance from both Pelger and Brand to make it rough on the Mountaineers.