HONOLULU, Hawaii – Suffering its first loss of the season, No. 25 Kansas State fell short of No. 16 Hawaii in a 3-1 defeat in the first match of the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic. The Wildcats, who are 4-1 on the season, lost by scores of 32-34, 26-30, 30-25, 29-31. Costly errors in serving could not be overcome as KSU lost despite putting up better numbers in most categories, including kills, hitting percentage, assists and blocks.
The Wildcats had a slow start during the first game as they quickly fell behind 12-3 and burned both timeouts during that period. K-State regrouped to score 10 of the next 15 points, including three Rita Liliom kills, after being down by nine. With the Rainbow Wahine fighting back for the large point spread, Hawaii gained a 22-14 lead before creating a series of five errors that aided in bringing K-State to within one at 24-23. K-State continued to inch closer and tied the game at 25 with a Jenny Jantsch kill. After six more ties and five combined game points, Hawaii finished the extra-point game 34-32.
After losing their first game one of the year, the Wildcats found themselves trailing in game two at 5-3. A pair of Nataly Korobkova kills and Rainbow Wahine attack errors earned K-State a two-point lead at 7-5. Hawaii again gained control with three unanswered points and led 8-7. The teams remained closely matched and went into a television timeout with the Wildcats being up 15-14. Out of the break, K-State went on a 3-1 run to earn its largest lead of the game at 18-15. The Rainbow Wahine rallied back with a 15-8 run, including starting with a four-point run and ending with five consecutive points, to win 30-26.
The Wildcats returned to the court in game three to score the first five points with two coming from block assists involving Korobkova and Megan Farr. Improved hitting in the third set helped K-State maintain a point lead as the Cats were ahead at 18-12 when Hawaii took its second timeout. Hawaii made a push with three-straight points to force a KSU timeout at 24-20. As the Rainbow Wahine pulled within two at 27-25, the Cats came out of their second timeout with three straight Korobkova kills to win 30-25.
In the fourth game, K-State earned the first point on a Farr kill, but then allowed two three-point runs by Hawaii to fall behind 6-3. After the third string of three points from Hawaii, the Cats rallied back to bring the game to a tie at 14-all, their first since one-all. With 10 more ties in a back-and-forth match Hawaii took control with two points to sit at game point 29-28. The Cats had one last effort with a Liliom kill, but the Rainbow Wahine put away the match 31-29 to earn the 3-1 victory.
Two Wildcats finished with 20 or more kills, as Korobkova led the squad for the third time this season, knocking down 24. Liliom added 20 as the pair of Cats combined for 72 percent of the team’s 62 total kills and each finished with .200 hitting or better.
Four K-State members notched a service ace (Jantsch, Kelsey Chipman, Stacey Spiegelberg and Liliom) to continue the Cats’ streak of consecutive matches with a service ace, as the mark moves to 260 competitions.
Spiegelberg finished the night with 54 assists, which moves her to 3,186 career assists and to fourth in the K-State history books.
The tournament from Honolulu, Hawaii, continues for the Cats on Saturday, as they face Louisville, who was swept by UCLA prior to the KSU/Hawaii match. For a complete recap of the contest, please visit www.kstatesports.com following the match.
Courtesy: Kansas State University