MANHATTAN, Kan. – The 16th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats (10-3; 2-1 Big 12) dropped a five-game match to the Oklahoma Sooners despite a career-high effort from junior Rita Liliom with 23 kills. While the Cats led in every statistical category, the Sooners nabbed the win 3-2 by scores of 16-30, 30-28, 30-26, 16-30, 15-13.
K-State’s .280 hitting on 72 kills could not contain Oklahoma who had 59 kills on .141 hitting. Liliom led the Cats’ attack with 23 kills to tie her career high, matching her mark against Florida A&M in December 2005. The Budapest, Hungary, native hit .381 on the night and tallied a match high four service aces. In addition, juniors Nataly Korobkova and Jenny Jantsch added double-digit kills; Korobkova converted on 18 while Jantsch had 11.
Stacey Spiegelberg put down six kills, while dishing out 59 assists and eight digs. The Overland Park, Kan., junior continued a streak of 12-consecutive matches with a service ace as she recorded two on the night.
The Wildcat defense had both middle blockers finish with nine blocks, as Megan Farr had nine assisted and Kelsey Chipman put back one solo, eight assisted.
The Oklahoma attack was led by four Sooners in double-digit kills; Anna Stadel had a team-high 15 while also aiding the defense with six blocks. Both Bridget Laplante and Mariana Blum recorded double-doubles; Laplante had 12 kills and 11 digs and Blum added 11 kills and 11 digs.
K-State cruised to the 30-16 win in game one with .286 hitting compared to the Sooners’ -.097. Jantsch and Liliom each had four kills to lead in the first with 11 assists from Spiegelberg.
In the second game, the Cats and Sooners battled through 14 tied scores and four lead changes to finish with OU winning 30-28. Korobkova had eight kills in the second game, including two that brought the Cats to within one at 6-5. She produced a final kill in the game to tie the score at 28-all.
The Wildcats were unable to earn a lead in the third, which only had one tie score. Oklahoma took advantage of the Cats’ lowest hitting on the night: 14 kills and 10 errors on 37 attempts (.108). One of Liliom’s five game-three kills brought the Cats to within three at 21-18, but a trio of costly errors gave K-State its largest deficit of the game at 24-18. K-State fell in the third 30-26 despite three consecutive kills from Farr at the end.
K-State had its best hitting of the night in game four at .429 and won in similar fashion to the first set at 30-16. Liliom and Korobkova finished with 10 kills between the two. Liliom elevated the Wildcats to the game four win with three kills in K-State’s final five points.
In the final game, each conference foe fought for the victory through 10 tied scores and two lead changes. With back and forth rallies, K-State earned its first lead at 5-4. The Sooners battled to regain the advantage and brought the game to a tie at 9-all and forced a KSU timeout. K-State had a final lead at 11-10, but Oklahoma rallied back to capture the win 15-13.
With a 2-1 conference record, K-State will make its first Big 12 trip outside of the Sunflower State for a meeting with Colorado on Sat., Sept. 22. The first serve is set for 7:30 Central time. A complete recap will be made available on www.kstatesports.com as soon as it becomes available.