Wildcats defeat Aggies despite poor hitting

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Despite a slow start and a rough environment, the K?State volleyball team defeated Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, on Friday, for the third time in school history.

Coach Suzie Fritz said she didn’t feel like it was her team’s best possible effort, but she saw several things she liked.

“The first 20 points of the match were pretty slow,” Fritz said. “I felt like we played really well in a very difficult environment.”

The No. 17 Wildcats (13-3, 5-1) took down the Aggies (12-4, 2-4) in four (23-30, 30-24, 30-27, 30-23) and recorded eight service aces and 66 kills.

“I felt like Rita Liliom played very well down the stretch,” Fritz said. “Rita took some big swings when we needed them.”

Liliom finished the match with 16 kills – one of three Wildcats to finish with more than 10 kills. Juniors Nataly Korobkova and Jenny Jantsch were the others who broke into double-digit kills, tallying 17 and 14, respectively.

The match was marked by uncharacteristically low hitting percentages on both sides, as the Wildcats hit .185 on 178 attacks, and the Aggies hit .132 on 159 attacks.

“We did a very nice job defending their left-side attack,” Fritz said. “Probably 70 percent of their offense goes to two players, and we held them to a very low hitting percentage. Blocking was a huge factor during the match.”

Sophomore middle blocker Kelsey Chipman led K-State in blocks with 11 and one solo block. Chipman was closely followed by senior setter Stacey Spiegelberg, who finished with eight blocks.

The Wildcats totaled 62 digs, with six players who tallied five or more digs. Senior libero Angie Lastra finished with a match-high 23 digs, marking her 24th career match with 20 or more digs.

“Angie always seems to be there and makes plays when we need them,” Fritz said. “She is always very consistent.”

The Wildcats’ next match will be Wednesday in Lincoln, Neb., as they challenge No. 1 Nebraska. Play is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

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