WACO, Texas – It had been four years since the Wildcats last won a volleyball match at the Ferrell Center against the Baylor Bears, but that streak came to an end as Kaitlynn Pelger and Courtney Traxson had their best matches of the season. K-State got the victory 18-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-16 to get its first road win at Baylor since 2008.
Pelger posted a season-high 23 kills taking command of the match early on with the Wildcats. Traxson was just shy of her season-best, but she did not play the first set. Traxson subbed in during the second set and finished the night with 10 kills and .476 hitting percentage. Traxson helped push the Wildcats to the victory as eight of those kills came in the fourth set alone.
“She did really well,” said K-State Associate Head Coach Jeff Grove in his postgame radio interview. “This is kind of like last year when we she had her breakout match. To get 10 kills in that short amount of time is good. That really helped us get a little bit more diversity in our offense.”
Senior setter Caitlyn Donahue guided the Wildcats to a .255 hitting percentage for the match and was only two assists short of her best effort this season with 57. Her best mark came in a five-set victory over Oregon State.
Defensively for K-State (15-1, 2-1), Kuulei Kabalis posted 17 digs for a new season-best, and three other players joined her in double digits. Donahue had 10 digs for her 31st career double-double, and Tristan McCarty also had 10 digs to go with an ace. Pelger also had a double-double as she had 12 digs. The Wildcats had 72 digs as a team compared to 66 for Baylor (13-5, 0-3).
The No. 15-ranked Wildcats struggled to keep the ball in bounds early in the match with five unforced attack errors. With two more errors added with Baylor blocks, K-State hit .000 in the first set as Baylor jumped on top with a 25-18 win. In comparison, the Bears hit .320 to open the match with Torri Campbell and Laura Jones leading the way with three kills each.
K-State rebounded in the second set with a 25-22 win. The Wildcats were rolling with a seven-point lead at one point in the frame. Baylor would go on a 5-1 run to pull within three points, however, at 20-17. The Bears would score a quick two points to make it 21-19, but the teams would trade blows from there to give K-State the win and tie the match heading into the intermission.
In the third set, the Wildcats and Bears traded blows back and forth with neither team able to string together long runs to take a large lead. The largest lead of the set was three points when Baylor did manage a 3-0 run to go up 19-16. K-State answered with a 4-0 run to go up 24-22 and establish set point. A kill from Muff would give K-State the 2-1 edge after hitting .250 for the third frame as a team despite Baylor’s higher percentage of .319 overall that set.
Traxson got hot in the fourth set for the Wildcats. She and Pelger accounted for all five of K-State’s kills during a 5-0 run to go ahead 13-8. Another 5-0 run would put it out of reach with Lilla Porubek and Alex Muff providing a pair of kills each. The 20-11 deficit was too much for Baylor to overcome and the Wildcats would close the door 25-16 to get the win.