LINCOLN, Neb. – The 17th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats were handed their first 3-0 loss of the year in the home of the nation’s top-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers on Wednesday in Lincoln, Neb. K-State lost by scores of 16-30, 16-30, 25-30 to fall to 13-4 on the season and 5-2 in the conference. In front of a packed house of 4,115 at the Nebraska Coliseum, the Huskers improved to 13-0, 6-0 Big 12.
Junior Nataly Korobkova led the Wildcats with 19 kills on the night, including 11 in the third game. She also tallied six digs and two service aces. Rita Liliom and Megan Farr each recorded six kills for the Wildcats, who finished with a team hitting percentage of .117.
Senior Stacey Spiegelberg registered her 22nd career double-double and second of the season as she tallied 30 assists and had a team-high 10 digs. She also converted on the Cats’ first service ace of the night to continue K-State’s nation-leading streak of matches with one or more aces.
Four other K-State members had five or more digs on the night. Angie Lastra finished with eight, while Korobkova added six and Lauren Mathewson and Rita Liliom each had five.
Nebraska notched a hitting clip of 54 kills and 11 errors on 111 attempts for .387 hitting. The Huskers were led by Sarah Pavan with 16 kills, Rachel Holloway in assists with 43 and Chris Houghtelling who tallied 13 digs.
A six-point start propelled the undefeated Huskers at the start of the first game and forced the Wildcats to call a timeout after an NU 4-0 lead. K-State earned its first point on a Korobkova kill and completed a two-point string after a Husker attack error. With both teams having effective sideouts, the Wildcats remained four points back with a final time at 9-5 on Korobkova’s second kill of the night. The Huskers then scored four unanswered to gain a 13-5 advantage and force the final KSU timeout. Out of the break, KSU scored two straight with a Nebraska service error and a Farr kill. The .424 hitting attack brought the Huskers back to a comfortable lead off of a 5-1 run at 18-8 before K-State scored their final back-to-back points. Nebraska capped off the 30-16 game one victory with a 10-4 run as they held the Cats to a hitting percentage of .031.
The second game had the Huskers again gain an early lead at 5-1 including four straight. Jenny Jantsch and Kelsey Chipman hushed the Nebraska attack with a block to pull the Cats within three at 5-2. After an NU point, Korobkova recorded one of her five second game kills to keep K-State at a three-point distance. The Huskers responded with three-consecutive points to force KSU’s first timeout at 9-3. Despite coming out with a kill from Liliom, Nebraska continued to pull ahead with .457 hitting in the second to lead at 19-10. The Wildcats put together a 5-3 run, including all three of Farr’s game two kills, to sit seven back at 22-15. Nebraska again pushed to the game win with a strong run of 8-1 to win 30-16 over the Cats.
As the Wildcats fought to avoid their first sweep of the season, KSU earned its first lead of the match with the first two points of the set on Farr and Korobkova kills. K-State withheld the top-ranked Huskers from the lead until NU gained the advantage at 6-5. With a service ace from Spiegelberg to continue the nation’s longest ace streak at 272 matches of at least one, K-State regained the lead at 7-6. When the Huskers took over at 10-9, K-State responded with six-unanswered points including two service aces from Korobkova to earn a 15-10 lead. Nebraska went on a 6-3 run before the Cats called their first timeout of the third game. Husker attack errors allowed K-State to maintain a lead at 21-17, but a 7-3 Nebraska run gave the Huskers their first lead since 10-9 at 23-22. After calling its final timeout, KSU was unable to slow the hot-hitting Nebraska squad who went on a 6-3 run to win the third by a score of 30-25.
The Wildcats will return home to Ahearn Field House to compete against the other ranked Big 12 member, as No. 7 Texas travels to Manhattan, Kan. The first serve is set for 7 p.m. For complete coverage of Kansas State volleyball, please visit www.kstatesports.com.