MORAGA, Calif. – The Kansas State Wildcats made quick work of the Utah Valley Wolverines on Friday night at the Saint Mary’s Tournament getting the sweep. K-State rolled from the start for the win 25-14, 25-20, 25-16 spreading the offense around and utilizing its size on the block late to get the win.
Sophomore Kaitlynn Pelger again led the team in kills with 11, but it was a complete team effort in the win with strong showings from juniors Kathleen Ludwig, Alex Muff and Caitlyn Donahuealong with sophomores Dakota Kaufman and Lilla Porubek.
Ludwig added eight kills on the night while hitting a strong .462. Donahue, Porubek and Kaufman each added five kills with Muff contributing four. Muff’s presence was felt more at the net defensively as she was in on six of K-State’s blocks. Pelger did have another double-double as she posted 11 digs to lead the team along with libero Kuulei Kabalis, who also had 11 digs.
K-State’s (10-3) 10 blocks were too much for the Wolverines as they combined to hit just .028 for the match with 25 kills and 22 errors. Utah Valley (8-5) did not have a player reach double digits in kills for the match.
The Wildcats opened the match the same way they closed against Sacramento State on Thursday night storming out to an early 9-1 lead thanks to a 3-0 run and another of six straight points. A point by the Wolverines slowed the ‘Cats down for just one point as K-State answered with another five straight to go ahead 14-2.
K-State would not slow down in the opening stanza scoring multiple points in a row every time the Wildcats scored except three times. One of those was set point when the ‘Cats couldn’t score more than one point.
In the second set, the Wildcats traded blows and runs with the Wolverines for a while until a 6-2 run put K-State on top 14-9. Utah Valley answered with three straight points to edge closer before both teams went on a streak of eight straight sideouts. K-State then went on a 5-1 run to go up 23-17 and eventually Utah Valley shut the door on itself with a service ace to end the set and trail 0-2 after the first two sets.
K-State closed out the match with a late push to put the Wolverines away in the third set. After falling behind, the Wildcats went on a 7-2 run to reclaim the lead 13-11. Utah Valley then pulled within one point at 16-15, but the Wildcats had different thoughts than allowing a comeback. K-State proceeded to score the next seven points as the block put a roof on the Wolverines for three stuffs during the run before K-State closed the door for good 25-16.
The Wildcats close the tournament against the hosting Saint Mary’s Gaels on Saturday night at 9 p.m. CST. The Gaels are currently receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. The match will be aired tape delayed on 1350 KMAN but can be heard live online at kstatesports.com.