The K-State volleyball team dropped another road match on Saturday, falling to the Kansas Jayhawks 3-1 at Horejsi Family Athletics Center in Lawrence. The loss dropped the Wildcats to 16-9 on the season, and 4-8 in conference play.
The match started off exactly how head coach Suzie Fritz wanted it to, with a 25-19 first set victory. Her team was poised and swinging with confidence, and things were looking great. However, after a 26-24 overtime loss in the second set, everything seemed to unravel. The Wildcats went from hitting over .330 in the first two sets, to swinging with a kill percentage of less than .100 and committing 16 errors in the final two sets. K-State lost set three 25-14, and set four 25-18, dropping the match, and losing for the fourth straight time to KU.
Senior outside hitter Courtney Traxson had a career day, finishing with 19 kills and leading the Wildcat offense. She was joined by senior middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger, who finished with 16 kills and was spectacular as usual on the defensive side. Redshirt freshman setter Katie Brand ended the night with 51 assists, and did a wonderful job in the first two sets of keeping the powerful KU defense on its heels.
The big story was the change in momentum between the second and third set. The KU offense and defense kicked it into a higher gear, forcing the Wildcat offense into difficult situations, and punishing K-State with a kill percentage of .533. Senior Tristan McCarty finished with 14 digs, and led the Wildcats, who recorded 50 total team digs for the match.
The Wildcats will return to action on Wednesday for a home-match against the Baylor Bears. A return to Manhattan will surely be a warm welcome for a K-State team that has looked uncomfortable and out of sync on the road. With a winnable game against Baylor on the horizon, Fritz and her team will look to bounce back and get back on track.