Wildcats lose heart breaker to Jayhawks

Brooke Smith, junior setter, during the Sunflower Showdown between the University of Kansas and Kansas State University at Ahearn Field House on September 24. (Photo by Cooper Kinley | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State volleyball team took on the University of Kansas Jayhawks Sunday inside Ahearn Field House in a five set loss.

The Wildcats were up 2-1 in sets, but could not win one of the final two sets in their sixth straight loss to KU in the Sunflower Showdown.

“This was disappointing because I felt like we had our opportunities,” K-State assistant coach Jeff Grove said in a radio interview following the match. “We had all the momentum after game three and we could’ve closed the door, but we kind of got soft in some areas.”

In the first set, the Jayhawks scored four straight points after being tied at four. From there, KU won the set 25-20.

KU jumped out to an early 9-4 lead in the second set, but K-State responded. They scored five straight points to tie the set at nine. The teams went back and forth until the Wildcats emerged victorious with a 25-21 set win.

The Jayhawks got an early lead again in the third set as they led 9-4. K-State won 10 of 11 points and continued fighting off KU to win the set 25-22, achieving a one set advantage.

During the fourth set KU led by as much as 10 throughout the set and won 25-15 to force a decisive fifth set.

The final set was back and forth with both teams holding leads, but it was the Jayhawks who picked up the victory with a score of 16-14.

“I don’t believe in moral victories, but I do think we can build from this match,” Grove said. “If we would’ve got a few more swings here or there we could’ve ended up winning this one.”

K-State was led in kills by freshman Peyton Williams at 14 while senior Bryna Vogel and junior Alyssa Schultejans both had 13. Junior Kylee Zumach finished with 10 kills. The biggest discrepency in the match stats was hitting percentage as the Wildcats finished at .278 and Kansas hit nearly .350.

“When you pass well usually other things go well along with that,” Grove said. “Peyton played very well for us today, but as a team there is always things we can still work on.”

The Wildcats have their break this week as their next match is not until next Saturday when they travel to Austin, Texas, to take on the University of Texas.