MANHATTAN, Kan. – Led by junior Rita Liliom, the Kansas State Wildcats picked up the win against Missouri 3-0 at Ahearn Field House Wednesday night. Strong hitting of .371 elevated the 18th-ranked Cats to victory in scores of 30-21, 30-20, 30-20 and improves K-State to 12-3, 4-1 Big 12.
Liliom led the Wildcat attack with 15 kills and only one error on 24 attempts for a .583 hitting clip. The Budapest, Hungary, native also capitalized on four service aces, which ties her career high set one week ago versus Oklahoma. Adding 13 kills for KSU was junior Nataly Korobkova, who also tallied two service aces and five block assists. Kelsey Chipman had another night of hitting .500 as she converted 10 kills on 16 attempts.
Senior Angie Lastra dished out 13 digs for the K-State defense and registered three service aces to tie her season high. Stacey Spiegelberg, who notched 43 assists, had five digs, as did freshman Lauren Mathewson.
Missouri drops to 7-6 on the season and is still in search of its first conference win with four losses. The Tigers hit .223 on the night and had one finish in double-digit kills with Na Yang tallying 11 on .611 hitting. Tatum Ailes had 11 digs for the Tigers, while Luiza Jarocka led in assists with 17.
The first game featured the match’s only ties with an even score early in the set at one- and two-all. The Cats took control early after a 4-3 score and went on a 6-2 run, including two Chipman kills, to pull ahead 10-5 and force an MU timeout. The Tigers pulled within three at 13-10, but K-State rallied to a nine-point lead at 22-13 with two service aces (Liliom and Lastra) and two kills from Megan Farr, who finished with four in game one. K-State’s hot hitting in game one (.421 percent) earned the Cats the 30-21 win.
Game two started with a 7-2 KSU lead, including two of Korobkova’s seven second set kills. The Tigers pulled to within three at 9-6, but lost the rotation with one of their seven service errors on the night. Following the error, K-State continued to earn points to gain a 16-9 advantage and force Missouri to call a timeout. The Wildcats found help from five different hitters to eventually capture the 30-20 win in the second.
In search of its sixth sweep at home, K-State again found a 7-2 lead in the third game before a Tiger timeout was taken. A 3-1 run brought Missouri to within three, but Liliom converted for three of K-State’s next four kills to put the Cats up 12-7. Each of the next three servers for K-State (Liliom, Lastra and Korobkova) were able to take advantage of a struggling receiving MU team as all three Cats were able to earn a service ace, putting KSU up 18-10. Liliom’s seven game three kills plagued the Tigers and the Cats finished off the match with two straight kills from Chipman to win 30-20.
Kansas State will have a quick turnaround, as the Wildcats will take on Texas A&M on Fri., Sept. 28th, from College Station, Texas. Live stats will be available at www.kstatesports.com and a complete recap will be posted following the match’s conclusion.