Over 3,000 volleyball fans packed into Ahearn Field House Saturday night to support their No.14 K-State Wildcats as they took on the No. 9 University of Texas Longhorns. Texas proved that it would take more than a home field advantage to get the best of them, leaving Manhattan with a 3-0 win over the Wildcats. This was Texas’ 18th consecutive win against K-State, dating back to 2003.
In the first set, Texas came out strong with a 25-17 win. The Longhorns had a .385 hitting percentage and two errors, compared to K-State’s .200 hitting percentage with five errors.
However, the result of the match seemed to be determined in the second set. Errors and missed opportunities ultimately led to K-State’s downfall in a 30-28 second set win for the Longhorns.
“We didn’t take care of opportunities or we probably could have pulled that one I think, and it might have changed momentum going into the third,” said head coach Suzie Fritz. “It’s a nice situation to be 1-1 against Texas coming out, against being down 0-2 and recover there.”
K-State held a 24-21 lead late in the second set with multiple chances to close it out. Two errors from the Wildcats late in the set gave Texas new life. The lead went back and forth, but after K-State pushed the score to 28-28, the Longhorns jumped on their chance and claimed the set.
“It’s really important to get on them fast and win when we have a chance,” said senior middle blocker Alex Muff. “I think that we lost a little bit of momentum there losing the second set, and I think if we would have gotten that, we would have maybe come out that third set a little more ready and with a little more energy.”
All the momentum seemed to be lost for the Wildcats coming out of halftime, as Texas went on to close out the match with a 25-15 win. K-State only managed a .032 hitting percentage in the final set, and .123 overall in the match.
“I’m a little bit disappointed, but i’m really proud of the way my team played, especially in games one and two,” said senior setter Caitlyn Donahue. “Texas is a very powerful, physical team. So to play with them, we needed to do the little things right on our side, which means pass well, serve well, dig well, touch balls. Do the things that don’t require power. I don’t know if we quite did that, especially in the third.”
K-State has a mid-week bye on Wednesday, and the Wildcats’ next match will be on the road against new Big 12 Conference member TCU on Oct. 13 in Fort Worth, Texas.