Mark Kern Assistant Sports Editor
Coming off of a weekend in Atlanta where things did not go as well as they had hoped, the Wildcats were anxious to get back on the court.
Their opponent was the Creighton Blue Jays, a team that had reached the NCAA tournament last year. This was just the type of team that K-State needed to play; a team that was talented and would give them a real test.
The first set started off a little rocky as Creighton got off to a quick 3-0 lead. The Wildcats settled down and battled back, but every time it seemed like the momentum shifted towards K-State, Creighton would answer with a big play and eventually won the game 25-21. This defeat in the first game seemed to wake up the team as they came out in game two with more of a purpose.
Despite the stronger start in the second set, the Wildcats still were not on their A game. Repeated simple mistakes burdened the team during game two. Down 13-9, Kathleen Ludwig went on a personal 6-0 serving run that jump-started the Wildcats to finish the set on a 16-3 run and win the game 25-16. This tied the match at one game apiece and set up a pivotal game three in this best of five match.
In the third set, the two evenly matched teams gave a great effort all over the court. Every time one team would go up a couple points, the other would come right back with a couple of their own. The game went like this until finally the Wildcats made a couple of big plays. Tied at 22 points, Creighton hitter Karisa Almgren went for a spike to take the lead, but two Wildcat blockers were there to deny her and take a one point lead. With the score at 24-23, Caitlyn Donahue stepped up and got her first kill of the match to win game three 25-23.
This put the Blue Jays in a must win game and they came out playing with a purpose. The game was tied at 5-5 before Megan Bober of Creighton went on her own 6-0 run serving to put Creighton up 11-5 and put the Wildcats in a hole they were never able to get out of. Creighton went on to win this set 25-17, again setting up another pivotal game, but this one was for the whole match.
Both teams were playing their hearts out as they went back and forth, Creighton holding an 8-7 lead when they switched sides. Creighton went up 11-8 and it did not look promising for K-State. However, the effort that they were playing with started to show its stuff as the Wildcats came back to tie the match at 13, causing the Wildcat crowd to erupt. Donahue again stepped up with another kill to give the Wildcats a 14-13 lead, and then a bad pass by Creighton gave the Wildcats the victory.
Kaitlynn Pelger was a preseason all-conference selection and she lived up to it with 24 kills, 13 digs and 9 blocks. Caitlyn Donahue was also a key player with her passing and her timely kills helping lead the Wildcats to victory.
After the game, Coach Suzie Fritz was proud of her team for pulling out the tough victory, but knew they could play better.
“Our girls know that they can play much better, but being back in front of our fans caused us to play anxious early. We battled back and pulled out the victory.”
Pelger summed it up very well when asked her thoughts on the game: “A win is a win.”
Having gotten the first home game out of the way, the Wildcats will look to build off their momentum on Friday as they host the Varney’s Kansas State Invitational. They will play at 12:30 and 7:30 on Friday night and 1:00 pm on Saturday.