The king is dead. Elvis has left the building. The frog has leapt out of the frying pan. Other statement of finality.
It was a long road here, with no wins in one month, but that all ended Wednesday night as the K-State volleyball team (10-15, 4-10 Big 12 Conference) defeated Texas Tech (3-20, 1-13 Big 12) in four games in Ahearn Field House.
“The win feels good,” said K-State head coach Suzie Fritz. “We needed it. We needed it bad. We needed to, as they say, get the monkey off our back a little bit.”
Players echoed her relief at finally not losing in a sweep, like sophomore opposite hitter Kathleen Ludwig.
“It’s definitely a huge win for us,” she said.
Player of the Match Kaitlynn Pelger, freshman middle blocker, started a little slow but soon picked up her game, ending with 16 kills on a .344 hitting percentage and four block assists.
“She was doing really well,” Ludwig said of Pelger. “She hustles, she makes those plays, and she scraps.”
Sophomore middle blocker Alex Muff had 9 kills and a hitting percentage over .500, while senior libero Lauren Mathewson recorded 27 digs.
Expectations were high pre-match for a K-State win, but the home team was unable to take a lead for the entire game. The two teams duked it out in the beginning, and the first rotation ended in favor of Texas Tech 9-8. The Red Raiders soon opened up their lead quite a bit, and a string of small runs slowly moved them up the ladder to 18-15. They capped a period of rallies with four straight, but a kill from Ludwig saved K-State from seeing the end early. No matter, Texas Tech regained the ball and two points to win 25-20.
As seems the mode for her team in general and her in particular, Ludwig swung for high numbers in the beginning of the match, recording four kills and a .375 hitting percentage. However, K-State was putting many balls into the net or block, as its 10 hitting errors showed.
Game two was not pretty for the Wildcats, at least not until the very end. Down 16-21, K-State rallied back to move within three, but the Red Raiders were still ahead by two. Not wanting to stretch the match out any longer than absolutely necessary, K-State tied the game 23-all, deflected an attack straight back to move up to game point and forced an error on the other side of the net to win 25-23.
Each team was siding out over 60 percent of the time, and that number would have been much higher had it not been for the final runs. It was the serving, though, that really tripped up the flow; K-State had six errors, Texas Tech had five.
Game three was smoother for the Wildcats, but still not entirely there. K-State took the lead with 12 points over two servers, but the Red Raiders chipped away at the lead, and that, coupled with K-State’s resumption of multiple errors, narrowed the gap considerably. The Wildcats managed to keep up their performance long enough, though, and an ace from Mathewson settled the dispute and gave K-State its second win, 25-20.
The Wildcats started game four with a five-point run. Not long afterward, K-State scored another run of six and won the match 25-15.
Ludwig said the victory will help propel her team into more success down the road.
“This late in the season, it’s hard to keep going and going when we’re not getting wins,” she said. “Getting this one win, it’s going to help us to continue on and try to finish out the season strong.”
The Wildcats have the weekend off and return to the court next Wednesday at Nebraska.