Despite team effort, Wildcats swept in second conference loss


The Iowa State Cyclones proved worthy of their No. 16 ranking by sweeping the K-State volleyball team with scores of 27-25, 25-21 and 25-23, giving the Wildcats their second straight conference loss. The Wildcats, despite not having Caitlyn Donahue in the lineup due to injury, fought hard but could not grab the momentum in key situations.

Ashley Kelican filled in for Donahue as the starting setter and head coach Suzie Fritz praised Kelican for her play but said that switching setters will ultimately have an affect on timing between setters and hitters, with a spot-on comparison.

“In football you have one quarterback that gets all the snaps, and it’s similar to volleyball in that we have one quarterback that gets all the snaps,” Fritz said of the setter position. “Ashley did exceptionally well given that she doesn’t get as many snaps. When you have a different setter, they might release the ball differently and the hitters have to adjust.”

When asked whether she considered Donahue’s injury to be serious, Fritz simply replied, “Not at this point.”

Lilla Porubek and Kathleen Ludwig led the Wildcats on offense with 11 and 10 kills respectively.

Ludwig said despite the result, the team felt good about the effort it put forward.

“We fought really hard, I know that it was the same result as last weekend at A&M but we feel like it was such a different result,” Ludwig said. “We’re going to take away the good stuff from this one and try to just keep going.”

The Wildcats got off to a slow start in the first set, allowing the Cyclones to an early 6-2 lead. The Wildcats dug themselves out of the hole with a 5-0 run sparked by an Alex Muff block to make the score 8-7 in favor of K-State.

The set was back and forth from that point until the Cyclones brought the lead back to four with a 15-11 advantage. The Wildcats did not let the lead grow and eventually tied the set at 19-19 on another Muff block.

The set would eventually represent nine tie scores and four lead changes but a late service error by the Wildcats would give the Cyclones the momentum they needed to win the set 27-25.

The Wildcats got off to another turtle-like start in the second set as they lost the first four points. They responded well to the adversity, though, and fought hard to keep the set close by posting runs of 3-0 and 5-0. The runs were not enough for the Wildcats, however, as the Cyclones took the set 25-21, only allowing Kaitlynn Pelger, the Big 12 leader in kills, one kill in the set.

The Wildcats came out refocused after the second set with intentions of making the third set result in a better outcome. The third set would be the closest of all three sets with 11 tie scores and six lead changes. Neither team would lead by more than three points in the set but the Cyclones came up with the key points when they needed them and completed the sweep with a 25-23 win.

Fritz said she is proud of how her team held the Cyclones to .218 hitting percentage but needed more from its offense.

“What we weren’t able to do, was kind of match that effort,” Fritz said. “We needed to be able to hit for a higher efficiency. I thought we hurt ourselves more than they did. I thought we made some critical errors at inopportune times and I thought they played more consistently.”

The Wildcats travel to play the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday with first serve set for 1 p.m.