Wildcats taken to the limit by KU

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Before K-State’s Wednesday night match with in-state rival Kansas, Suzie Fritz said the Wildcats were viewing the rivalry as any other match.

K-State’s head coach said her team was preparing for the meeting just like they would for any other contest.

However, it looks like the Jayhawks had other plans, as they took the Wildcats down to the wire in a 3-2 K-State win at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center. The Wildcats survived the scare and won the match by scores of 22-25, 25-19, 25-18, 18-25, 15-9.

The match’s opening game was a seesaw battle with 13 ties and five lead changes. Neither squad managed more than a two-point lead until the No. 17 Wildcats (14-2, 4-1 Big 12 Conference) used a late 4-0 run to stretch the gap to 22-18. That’s as far as they would get, however, as the Jayhawks (7-7, 1-4 Big 12) reeled off seven consecutive points to take the game.

The second game began similarly, as the teams evened the score five times and traded the lead twice in the early going. With the game deadlocked at 7-7, K-State went on a 7-1 run to jump out to a 14-8 lead, but the Jayhawks responded with a 6-0 run to knot up the score at 14. The K-State defense tightened, as the Wildcats scored the next two points and didn’t relinquish the lead for the remainder of the game.

The Wildcats used their momentum to coast to a much easier win in the third game. After opening with a 2-2 tie, K-State scored three straight to take the lead for good. Kansas trimmed the lead to one on two occasions, but that’s as close as the Jayhawks got. After taking an 18-15 lead late in the game, the Wildcats went on a 5-0 run to solidify the win.

It appeared K-State had all the momentum it needed after taking two straight games, but the Jayhawks responded again in the fourth game. K-State jumped out to an early 7-3 lead, but the Jayhawks used a 9-0 run — the longest of the night by either team — to take the lead. Kansas evened the match with ease, as the Wildcats didn’t get within five for the rest of the game.

With their backs against the wall, the Wildcats came through, and overpowered the Jayhawks in the match’s finale. After a pair of ties and lead changes, K-State went on a 7-2 run to bury its opponent. The Jayhawks didn’t get within four points after the run, and the Wildcats escaped with the victory.

Four scorers tallied double-digit kills on the night, including K-State senior outside hitters Nataly Korobkova, Rita Liliom and Jenny Jantsch, who accounted for 20, 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Sophomore outside hitter Karina Garlington led the Jayhawks with 17 kills.

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