Volleyball Drops Five-Set Match to Wildcats
Oct. 5, 2013
MANHATTAN, Kan. - The TCU women's volleyball team fell in a five-set heart breaker to Kansas State 3-2 (20-25, 25-21, 25-21, 21-25, 7-15) Saturday evening in Manhattan, Kan., inside the Ahearn Field House.
Despite holding a 2-1 advantage in the match, the Horned Frogs (12-6, 1-3 Big 12) could not stop a comeback led by two-time All-American Kaitlynn Pelger, who finished with a match-high 23 kills to go along with 11 digs for the Wildcats (13-3, 1-2 Big 12).
TCU and Kansas State started the match by trading points, but the Wildcats always had the upper hand by holding out at least a one-point lead through the first half of the set. Out of the media timeout where the Frogs trailed 15-12, TCU scored four straight points to take their first lead of the set with a block from Stephanie Holland and Mattie Burleson. The teams continued to battle until tied 19-19, the Wildcats scored five unanswered points to put Kansas State at set point. A kill from Alexia Heist held off the win, but a kill from Taylor Johnson, her fifth of the set, sealed the first set victory for the Wildcats at 25-20.
The Frogs came out on a 4-0 run to start the second set with two blocks from Yvonne Igodan and Natalie Gower and unforced errors from Kansas State. The Wildcats responded with a 3-0 run of their own, but that was as close as Kansas State got the entire set as TCU tallied six and a half blocks in the set and 12 kills and only three errors for a .333 hitting percentage. Blaire Pickens led the Frogs in the set with four kills and no errors for a .800 hitting percentage as TCU took the second set 25-21 and tied the match at 1-1.
Out of the break, the Frogs continued their momentum and charged out to a 4-1 lead and continued to extend its lead to 8-4 off of kills from Stephanie Holland and Ashley Smith. The Wildcats did not back down though as five straight points from Kansas State gave them the first lead of the set at 9-8. TCU responded with a 4-1 run of its own to take the lead back at 12-10, as the Frogs would not relinquish the lead the rest of set with a kill from Pickens giving TCU a 25-21 set victory and a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Wildcats did not let the match slip away though as they battled TCU point-for-point in the fourth set. The Frogs jumped out to an early 15-9 lead with the duo of Smith and Natalie Gower combining for three kills and two blocks in a 6-0 run. Kansas State found a spark and used a kill from Dakota Kaufman and three from Kaitlynn Pelger to pull the set within one at 15-14. TCU fought back and took a 19-15 lead off a service ace from Gower, but a 10-2 run at the end of the set by the Wildcats proved to be too much for the Frogs as Kansas State came back to win the fourth set 25-21 and send the match into the fifth and deciding set.
The Wildcats could not be stopped going into the fifth set as Pelger and Johnson split the offensive load and led Kansas State with eight kills and no errors in the final frame for a .444 hitting percentage. TCU had no answers and could not put together a complete offensive attack in the set and fell in the fifth set 15-7 for their first five-set loss of the season.
Pickens was the only Frog with double-digits kills by finishing with a career-high 10, while Shane Peters chipped in a career-high 23 digs. Trisha Langley recorded her third career double-double of her career with 18 assists and 12 digs.
Kansas State finished the match with four players notching double-digit kills. Along with Pelger, Johnson has 18 kills, Courtney Traxson finished with 15 kills and Kaufman rounded out the group with 10 kills. Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year Katie Brand guided the Wildcat offense with a double-double of her own with 59 assists and 15 digs.
TCU will head home for its next match as it welcomes Texas Tech to the University Recreation Center on Sat., Oct. 12, with first serve set for 5 p.m.