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Cats cruise to sweep of West Virginia

By The Mercury

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In their first trip to West Virginia the No. 16 Kansas State Wildcats made quick work of the Mountaineers on the volleyball court, getting another 3-0 win in straight sets.

The Wildcats came out on top 25-15, 25-16, 25-19 to post their 15th sweep of the season and did it with a strong serve and big defensive presence at the net.

The Wildcats (19-3, 6-3) had their best performance of the season at the service line with 10 aces. Lilla Porubek had a career night at the line with four aces, including a stretch of three straight in the first set to establish the tempo early in the match.

Junior outside hitter Courtney Traxson led the Wildcats with eight kills, as K-State spread its offense around and also utilized its block to score points. Traxson hit .278 on the night, and fellow outside hitter Porubek led the team at .312, while adding seven kills.

K-State had 11 blocks as West Virginia struggled to get through or over the Wildcats at the net. Senior middle blocker Alex Muff had six blocks with five assists and one solo stuff. Junior middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger also had five block assists. Those blocks helped limit West Virginia to only .022 hitting as a team.

After the Mountaineers (8-15, 0-9) grabbed an early lead in the first set at 5-1, but the Wildcats were able to settle in and take control.

Trailing 5-7, the Wildcats went on an 11-1 run to take a 16-8 lead. During that run K-State had four aces and three blocks to shut down West Virginia. Three of those aces came from Porubek as she mixed up her serve to get three in a row and force the Mountaineers to use their final timeout of the set.

K-State would continue to roll out of that timeout, getting back-to-back blocks late to help get the 25-15 win in the initial frame. The Wildcats had five aces and five blocks total to start the match.

The Wildcats used that momentum grabbed in the first set to jump out to a quick 4-0 lead in the second set. K-State’s block continued to give West Virginia trouble as the Wildcats added five more in the second set to post 10 through the first two stanzas.

Three more aces found the floor for K-State as well, as the team continued to have one of its best matches at the service line of the season against the Mountaineers.

A pair of blocks by Muff combined with an ace from Caitlyn Donahue capped off a 5-0 run late in the set to put it out of reach for West Virginia before K-State won 25-16. Donahue had 27 assists, seven digs, four blocks and a pair of aces.

The third set was a tight race with the Mountaineers taking an 11-10 lead after a 6-0 run following a series of miscues by the Wildcats.

Both teams would trade blows and neither would hold an advantage of more than two points down the stretch until K-State went up 21-18 on a push to the back corner from Donahue. K-State would close the door 25-19 with a ball handling error by West Virginia’s setter.

K-State returns home to take on the Baylor Bears at 7 p.m. Saturday.

It’s a Wildcat weekend in Manhattan, as both the men’s and women’s basketball teams will conduct an open scrimmage Saturday morning at 11, followed by the K-State football game at 2:30 p.m. against Texas Tech. The night will be capped off with the home volleyball match against the Bears.

Saturday’s volleyball match also is K-State’s Pack the Field House promotion with all tickets only $1.

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