Wildcats pull out victory in 5 sets


The last time the Wildcats and Tigers met on the volleyball court, it was a back and forth battle from start to finish.
While the game scores weren’t nearly as close in the squads’ second meeting, both teams were again pushed to the limit as No. 13 K-State (23-6, 13-5 Big 12 Conference) escaped Columbia, Mo. with a 3-2 win over Missouri (13-14, 7-10 Big 12) on Wednesday night.
The Tigers jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the opening game before a 3-0 Wildcat run evened the score. However, Missouri responded with a  5-0 run of its own to take the lead for good. A late 4-0 run by K-State narrowed the Tigers’ lead to 17-16 midway through the game, but four straight points by Missouri extinguished any chance of a comeback as the Tigers won the opener by a score of 25-21.
Missouri used its momentum from the first game to jump out to a 6-2 lead in the second, but K-State caught fire after falling behind early. A 9-0 Wildcat run gave K-State a lead that it wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the game. The Tigers weren’t able to get within four again as the Wildcats coasted to a 25-19 win to even the match at a game apiece.
After battling in the match’s first two games, Missouri came alive in the third and dominated the Wildcats throughout. The Tigers opened with a 7-1 run to bury K-State early. The Wildcats weren’t able to recover, as Missouri used a series of runs, highlighted by eight consecutive points midway through the game, to take a 2-1 lead on the night with a 25-12 win.
With their backs against the wall, the Wildcats were able to rally in the fourth game. After piecing together a 9-4 lead, K-State allowed Missouri to score eight of the next 11 points to even the score at 12-12. The Tigers knotted the score again at 14-14 and were able to take a 20-19 lead late in the game. However, K-State would not be denied. The Wildcats ended the game on a 6-0 run to take a 25-20 win and force a fifth game.
Unlike the first four games, the fifth and final game turned into a seesaw battle as it featured six ties and four lead changes. K-State scored four of the game’s first five points, but Missouri clawed back to force a 6-6 tie. A 4-1 Tiger run left the Wildcats down by three and just five points from a loss, but they responded with a 4-0 run to reclaim the lead and held on to win the finale 15-12.
Senior outside hitter Rita Lilliom led all scorers with 22 kills on the night. Missouri had two scorers register double-digit kills. Julianna Klein and Amanda Hantouli tallied 20 and 12, respectively. As a team, the Wildcats made 62 kills to the Tigers’ 58.
K-State will return to action when it takes on Iowa State on Nov. 26 in Ahearn Field House. First serve is set for 7 p.m.