Texas sweeps squad; Cats await tourney

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The K-State volleyball team was the only obstacle standing between No. 3 Texas and its first Big 12 Conference championship in 10 years.

The No. 12 Wildcats were defeated by the Longhorns 3-0 (30-25, 30-18, 30-26) Saturday night at Gregory Gymnasium in Austin, Texas. K-State closed the regular season with a 22-8 overall record and 14-6 in the Big 12. In front of 3,121 fans, the Longhorns (24-3, 19-1) grabbed their second Big 12 volleyball title, with the first coming in 1997.

Nataly Korobkova led the Wildcats in kills with 13 on 37 attempts. She was K-State’s only player to finish with double-digit kills.

Texas’ Juliann Faucette finished with a match-high 19 kills and also added 11 digs.

Senior defensive specialist Angie Lastra led the Wildcats in digs with nine. Seniors Lauren Rosenthal and Stacey Spiegelberg each added four digs to K?State’s 27 total.

Spiegelberg led the Wildcats with 38 assists, while the Longhorns’ Michelle Moriarty finished with a match-high 47 assists.

The Wildcats finished with a .203 hitting percentage, compared to Texas’ .408 hitting.

Sophomore Kelsey Chipman and freshman JuliAnne Chisholm were the only two K-State players to finish with at least .300 hitting, while five Longhorns hit .300 or better.

Chipman and junior Jenny Jantsch each converted one service ace, continuing the Wildcats’ streak of matches with an ace.

The Wildcats led game one early, 8-3, but the Longhorns charged back to lead 13-12. K-State found its last lead of the match at 17-16, and Texas won 30-25.

“Game one, we were a little tight early on,” said Texas coach Jerritt Elliott. “We kind of steadied out and played smooth the rest of the match.”

The Longhorns posted their largest lead of the night at the end of game two, 30-18. The Wildcats led just once during the game, 4-3.

In the final game of the match, K-State again led only early in the game, 5-4. The Longhorns went on to lead 15-7 and never looked back, winning 30-26.

Texas shares the Big 12 title with Nebraska because both finished 19-1 in league play, each with one head-to-head loss. The Big 12 volleyball title never had been shared until this season. Nebraska has won every title except in 1997, when it belonged to Texas, and 2003, when K-State won the championship.

The Wildcats completed the regular season turnaround they were looking for, after finishing 4-16 in conference play during the 2006 season.

K-State now awaits the NCAA tournament which begins Thursday.

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