K-State Drops First Match of the Season, 3-0 to Santa Clara - KOAM TV 7

K-State Drops First Match of the Season, 3-0 to Santa Clara



TheK-State volleyball team's seven-match winning streak to start the season wassnapped on Thursday as the Wildcats lost to Santa Clara 3-0 (25-18, 25-17,25-17) at the Haas Pavilion in the Cal Invitational.

 TheWildcats' 24 kills and .115 hitting percentage in the match trailed the 53kills and .256 attack percentage of the Broncos.  The speed in which theBroncos (4-3) offense came out firing, K-State(7-1) could not answer.

 "SantaClara is a very high octane offense," said K-State head coach Suzie Fritz, "andto play with them, you have to match them, which we simply did not do. Wedidn't manage their speed very well."

 SantaClara opened the match with a 6-2 lead, benefitted by .625 hitting percentageon its opening swings. K-State trailed as much as 12-4, but the Wildcats wenton a 6-0 run, featuring a Dallas Gardner ace and Courtney Traxson kill. Threestraight attack errors by Santa Clara closed out the run and made it 12-10Broncos. The two sides traded points to make it 14-12 Santa Clara, but theBroncos finished the set with an 11-6 advantage. K-State hit at .053 percent inthe first set.

 "Idon't think anybody goes into the match thinking, 'We want to start slowly,'"said Fritz. "Volleyball is such a game of momentum, that if you don't getenough momentum shifts in there, then it is tough. It feels like it is gettingaway from you. [Santa Clara] started by firing on all cylinders, and it took usa game-and-a-half to get going."

 Inthe second set, K-State pulled within one, 9-8, on a block by Katie Brand. Fourstraight points for Santa Clara, though, forced the Wildcats to call a timeout.After the break, the Wildcats were only able to close the gap to three points,with a kill by Kaitlynn Pelger making it 17-14. Santa Clara scored five of thefinal six points to close out the set.

 Pelgerled the team with seven kills on 15 attempts with two errors for a .333 hittingpercentage. Dakota Kaufman was second on the team with five kills.

 Aswas the story in the first two sets, K-State never led in the third set.Chelsea Keating entered when the Wildcats were trailing 7-3, and she quicklyput herself in the score sheet with her first kill of the match on her firstswing. Pelger and Keating combined for a block, and Keating added another killto make it 8-6 Santa Clara. It was 16-11 Broncos before a 4-0 Santa Clara run,capped by back-to-back aces, put the Wildcats down 20-11. A Traxson killbriefly halted the run and ignited a short 3-0 run for K-State before SantaClara closed out the match.

 Whilethe Wildcats were outmatched on being terminal, K-State did keep its errors toa minimum, including just two attack errors in the final set. The Wildcats had13 attack errors and 22 errors total in the match compared to Santa Clara's 20attack errors and 27 total errors.

 "Westayed low error," said Fritz about one positive from the first loss of theseason. "Although we were not terminal and find enough kills, we didn't hurtourselves. That is going to be a mark of this team. We are going to make youbeat us, but we are not going to hurt ourselves."

 TheWildcats continue their Cal Invitational slate with a 4:30 pm PT/6:30 pm CT matchagainst Cal Poly on Friday, September 13. Cal Poly plays host Cal in thenightcap on Thursday.

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