Tough weekend for Cats

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Coming off a hard-fought victory against Creighton in the home-opener, the Wildcats looked to build on that as they hosted the Varney’s Invitational at Ahearn Field House. Their first opponent would be the Georgia Southern Eagles from the Southern Conference. This matchup would not provide near the excitement as the game on Tuesday, since the Wildcats proved to be a strong match for the Eagles.

The Wildcats took control early in the match and cruised to win the match in three sets (25-19, 25-17, 25-15). Caitlyn Donahue played a huge role in the matchup as she was able to control the ball and get her teammates the ball in good position. She finished the match with 33 assists. The K-State defense was able to keep the Eagles’ hitters from getting in a groove as they totaled six blocks for the match.

After the first win, the Wildcats were able to get some rest before they played their second match of the day.

In their second match, the Wildcats would host the Idaho Vandals from the Western Athletic Conference.

The Vandals were up to the challenge as they gave the Wildcats a tougher match, but the Wildcats were able to win the match in three sets (25-23, 25-19, 25-22).

As competitive as this match was, the Wildcats never trailed in any of the three sets. The match was a team effort as many players made key contributions. Kaitlynn Pelger and Lilla Porubek each had 12 kills, and Donahue was once again key in keeping the team going well on the floor with 36 assists. This victory, and the fact that the Brigham Young University Cougars had won their two matches on Friday, set up a matchup on Saturday for the championship of the tournament.

BYU would provide a different style of challenge for K-State as Jennifer Hamson, who stands at 6’6″, was there at the net to help challenge the Wildcats hitters.

K-State came out strong. However, the Wildcats would lose in three sets to the Cougars (25-23, 25-19, 25-23). Pelger, along with teammate Porubek, made the all-tournament team.

After the game, coach Suzie Fritz thought it took her team too long to get going.

“I think today was more of what we weren’t doing than what they were doing,” Fritz said. “We were not good in terms of discipline. We seemed very uncomfortable, I think, until about midway through the first set. We were inconsistent against BYU. They made us play and we didn’t make them play.”

Junior Kathleen Ludwig also thought the team let a great opportunity slip through their hands.

“It was a missed opportunity,” Ludwig said. “This was a good match to play at home and I think if we had showed up a little earlier maybe we could have had that match. BYU had a good rhythm going on their side, and we weren’t really playing in system early on.”

Even though the Wildcats were not able to get the last win, they played competitively. It is still early in the season, and this is a team that will improve with experience as the season continues.

K-State will be off until Thursday, when the team travels to Missouri State to play Hofstra, S.D., and host Missouri State in the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational.

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