On Saturday afternoon the No. 10-ranked Texas Longhorns (11-4, 4-1 Big 12 Conference) rolled into Manhattan having won the last 15 meetings against Kansas State. Texas also lead the series 25-7 record all time against the Wildcats.
The Longhorns entered the match winners of 9 of 10 matches.
The Wildcats came into the match with a 14-5 record, 3-2 in Big 12 play. In the last Top 25 volleyball poll, they were among the teams receiving votes.
The Wildcats entered the game with an opportunity to get a huge resume-building victory over the pre-season favorite to win the Big 12.
The first set started off tightly contested having four scores tied and two lead changes. Texas started to pull away with a quick four point run to stretch the lead out to 18-13. The Wildcats kept battling until a call seemed to take the life out the team.
K-State was down 21-16 when an apparent hit by Caitlyn Donahue cut the score to 21-17. However, the referees called a lift and awarded the point to Texas and made the lead 22-16. The Longhorns went on to win the set 25-17 due heavily to the Longhorns’ .643 hitting percentage, their highest on the season.
The Wildcats looked to to bounce back in the second set and tie the match up at one set apiece at intermission.
The Wildcats came out in the second set winning what seemed to be the first two points, only to have the second point taken off the scoreboard for being out of rotation — just one of the many mistakes that K-State would make this set. The Wildcats went on to make eight attack errors and two serving errors. Texas easily won the second set 25-15.
In the third set, like the second, errors got the best of the Wildcats. K-State had six attack errors — simply too many to make against the potent offense of Texas, which put down 16 kills in the set. The Longhorns steadily built their lead as they cruised to a 25-20 sweep of the wildcats.
K-State’s leaders were Kaitlynn Pelger with 12 kills and Lilla Porubek with 11 kills, but those two could not compete with the Texas athletes. The Longhorns had four girls with at least nine kills each, highlighted by the outside hitter Bailey Webster, who had a match-high 15 kills. In the first set, Texas hit the ball well, as evidenced by an attack percentage of .463 on the day, including a season-high .643 attack percentage in the first set.
After the game, head coach Suzie Fritz talked about how tough it was against Texas’ potent offense.
“It was difficult to match their offensive productivity,” Fritz said. “Texas is one of the more physical teams in America in terms of playing above the net.”
The Wildcats are now 14-6 on the season and 3-3 in conference play. K-State will be in action on Wednesday as they take on in-state rival Kansas in Lawrence. The Jayhawks enter the match with a 12-7 record overall, and 0-6 in Big 12 play.
First serve is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on Metro Sports.