MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — The K-State volleyball team fell to West Virginia 3-1 (25-16, 18-25, 25-22, 25-22) on Friday at the WVU Coliseum in both teams’ Big 12 season opener. The loss halts the Wildcats’ five-match winning streak and drops their record to 12-2.
Junior middle blocker Taylor Johnson had a career-high nine blocks for the second straight match to help lead K-State’s defense, but the Wildcats were unable to maintain offensive momentum over the course of the entire match against West Virginia (14-1, 1-0). As a team, the Wildcats had a .077 hitting percentage, including .000 hitting percentages in the first and fourth sets. Senior middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger led K-State with 10 kills on a .241 hitting percentage.
For the first set, 10 attack errors by K-State and a .462 attack percentage from West Virginia helped determine the 25-16 result. The Wildcats fell behind early 12-7 due in part to five attack errors while the Mountaineers registered seven kills with no errors. The lead was eventually extended to 20-11 as West Virginia had a .588 attack percentage through the first 31 points of the set. A Courtney Traxson kill ignited a 5-1 run for the Wildcats late in the set, which featured kills by four different K-State players, to close the gap to 22-16.
After a West Virginia service error and with Gina Madonia on the service line for K-State, the Wildcats grabbed an 11-7 lead in set two with a 6-0 run. During the burst, double-blocks by Katie Brand and Johnson as well as a kill by Brand on a West Virginia over-dig helped fuel the quick turn in score. The Wildcats extended the lead to six points with Pelger’s kill, her first of the set and second of the match, through a double-block to make it 14-8 K-State. The Wildcats ended the set with a 7-1 run.
West Virginia had nine attack errors in the second set, four coming off K-State blocks. K-State limited the Mountaineers to a .000 attack percentage in its only set victory of the match.
K-State recorded 10 team blocks in the match, which is the fifth straight contest in which the Wildcats had 10 or blocks. The Wildcats limited the Mountaineers to a .164 hitting percentage for the entire match.
The Wildcats and Mountaineers were engaged in a back-and-forth set three. The two teams were tied as late as 19-19, but a kill and block by West Virginia created too tough of a lead, 21-19, for the Wildcats to overcome. K-State trailed 12-8 at one point in the set, but back-to-back attack errors by West Virginia’s Nikki Attea started a 5-1 run for the Wildcats that tied it at 13-13.
K-State led as late as 16-10 in the fourth set after Pelger delivered a kill, but the Mountaineers were too much for K-State thereafter. West Virginia tied it at 19-19 on a block, but the two sides traded points to 22-22. West Virginia clinched the match with an ace by Jordan Lee.
Tristan McCarty had a team-high 11 digs for K-State while Madonia added 10 digs and an ace.
Six different Wildcats had five or more kills. Dakota Kaufman had nine kills on 38 attempts with 10 errors. Johnson had seven kills on 22 attempts with five errors to go with her nine blocks.
The Wildcats return to action on Wednesday, October 2 when they take on rival Kansas in the Dillon’s Sunflower Showdown in Ahearn Field House. First serve is set for 7 pm.