MANHATTAN, Kan. – The K-State volleyball team was swept by #1 Texas (25-11, 25-18, 25-20) on Saturday in Ahearn Field House. The loss drops K-State to 14-7 on the season and 2-6 in the Big 12.
Seniors Dakota Kaufman and Courtney Traxson along with redshirt freshman Katie Brand led the Wildcats with six kills apiece. Brand added 20 assists, a dig and a block while Kaufman tallied two digs and two blocks.
Senior Kaitlynn Pelger led K-State with three blocks, giving her 11 blocks over the last two matches.
The Wildcats were out-hit by the Longhorns, .345 to .050. Texas had a .371 or higher hitting percentage in each of the final two sets.
“I think being the number one team in the country really tells you something,” said head coach Suzie Fritz. “[Texas is] also the defending national champion. It is very hard to make them uncomfortable. They are without question one of the most physical teams in the country.”
After a kill from Kaufman and an attack error from Texas, the Wildcats trailed 8-7 in set one. The Longhorns pulled away, though, as Texas went on an 11-0 run that featured three kills and three blocks. A block from Chelsea Keating and Pelger interrupted the Texas burst, but the Longhorns finished K-State by outscoring it, 7-3, to end the set. K-State had 13 attack errors in the opening set.
The two sides were tied 5-5 early in set two, helped by a kill each from Traxson, Brand and junior Taylor Johnson, but a 4-0 spurt by Texas allowed the Longhorns to pull away. The Wildcats used a service error from Texas to narrow it to 10-8, but Texas – behind a .375 hitting percentage in the set – closed it out.
After a media timeout in the third set, two blocks from Kaufman and kills from Johnson and Brand pulled K-State within three, 19-16, and forced Texas to call a timeout. A kill from Haley Eckerman made it 20-16, but the Wildcats responded with a kill by Traxson and an ace from Pelger to bring them within two, 20-18. K-State could not manage to overcome the deficit, though, and eventually another kill from Eckerman clinched the match for Texas.
K-State had its highest hitting percentage for a set, .237, in the third.
“We were better in transition,” said Traxson about K-State’s performance in set three. “It kind of went to show that if we made them work for it, then they are the ones to make the mistakes.”
The Wildcats have now faced every team in the Big 12 once, finishing with a 2-6 record. Starting at 7 pm on Wednesday against Oklahoma in Ahearn Field House, K-State looks to keep improving.
“The first half of conference play is now over,” said Fritz. “Starting with Oklahoma on Wednesday it is essentially a brand new season for us. It is a double-round robin in volleyball so we have an opportunity to better ourselves.”