Wildcat volleyball continues to surprise

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After an exciting five-set victory over the Missouri Tigers, the Wildcats moved to (16-7, 5-4) on the season. The Wildcats are in fifth place in the Big 12 Conference and are only a half game behind the Texas A&M Aggies for fourth place.

The Wildcats are rebounding from last year as they went 12-19 on the season and finished ninth in the Big 12. It was because of last season that the Wildcats were picked to finish ninth in the Big 12 again this season. The only player that seemed to be receiving any talk during the preseason was Kaitlynn Pelger.

The sophomore came into the season coming off a season that saw her make the All-Freshman Big 12 team.

Pelger has been outstanding thus far in the season as she leads the conference with 4.55 kills per set. If she is able to keep up these types of numbers, then she is going to make a case to be an All-American. As good as Pelger has been, one of the main reasons that the Wildcats have already won four more matches is the balance that the team has found during the season. The player that is responsible for getting all of the players the ball is junior setter Caitlyn Donahue.

Donahue is to the Wildcat volleyball team as Collin Klein is to the football. She is the quarterback of the volleyball team. It is her responsibility to get the hitters the ball in situations that they can be the most successful in.

So far this season, Donahue is leading the Big 12 in assists per set with 11.41. Her ability to set up all of the hitters has enabled the Wildcats to have the season that they are having.

Pelger was expected to be the star of the team, and while she has been incredible this year, the Wildcats have gotten great season this far by Alex Muff and Lilla Porubek.

Muff, a junior, is second on the team in blocks with 71. However, she has turned it on in conference play with 37 blocks, more than any other Wildcat during conference. Her ability to be a big-time presence at the net has helped the Wildcats to be able to stop an opposing team run with a big block.

Porubek, a sophomore, has given the Wildcats a great second offensive weapon to compliment Pelger. She is averaging 3.28 kills per set. Her effectiveness has opened up the offense to where the defense cannot focus 100 percent on Pelger, thus giving Pelger opportunities to score.

The Wildcats have been the surprise of the year so far in the Big 12. With seven games left in the season, the Wildcats still have a lot of chances to get many more victories on the season. There are some definite challenges on the schedule with home matches against Texas A&M and Oklahoma as well as road-trips to Austin, Texas and Ames, Iowa, but the Wildcats have shown the ability to compete with any of these teams.

As has always been the case with a Suzie Fritz team, the Wildcats are going to play their hardest. This effort is going to allow them to be in matches even when they are not playing their absolute best.

Look for the Wildcats to continue to play some very good volleyball for the rest of the season, and do not be shocked to see the Wildcats in the NCAA tournament.

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