LAS VEGAS — Behind four players in double-digit kills, the Kansas State volleyball team defeated UNLV in five games late Saturday night, winning (25-27, 25-19, 25-19, 21-25, 15-13 to capture the UNLV Invitational at the Cox Pavilion.
Tournament MVP Kaitlynn Pelger turned in a season-high 19 kills for the Wildcats (3-0) in their third five-set victory of the weekend. The senior added 13 digs, eight blocks (one solo) and four aces on Saturday. She credits redshirt freshman setter Katie Brand, who had 49 assists, for the strong showing in the tournament’s final match.
“(Brand) set me on the dot every time,” Pelger said. “Her setting was perfect and that really helped me and got me going.”
Freshman Kersten Kober and junior Taylor Johnson were also named to the All-Tournament team. Johnson had 11 kills and eight blocks, while Kober had 11 digs and a service ace for the Wildcats against UNLV.
“When it came down to it, we were going to do whatever it took to win,” said Kober about her team’s will to overcome the fifth set three times during the weekend. “That comes from the inside. It takes a special team.”
For the true freshman, the season-opening tournament had an even more special meaning personally — it was her first All-Tournament nod of her career.
“I came in working hard, and I didn’t even know I was going to travel (to Las Vegas),” Kober said.