Sept. 10, 2011
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Wildcats made quick work of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits getting the sweep at the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational 25-18, 25-21, 25-15 thanks to a solid offensive effort and one of the best performances of the year by libero Kuulei Kabalis. With the win K-State won the tournament hosted by Missouri State after going 3-0 defeating the host Bears and Hofstra earlier.
K-State (7-3) saw sophomore outside hitter Lilla Porubek step up and take control of the match multiple times against South Dakota State (8-3) tying her career-high in kills with 16. Porubek also had a hitting percentage of .433 for her most efficient performance of the year thus far, and she was named to the all-tournament team. Porubek was joined in double digit kills by sophomore middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger with 15 on a .667 hitting clip and Dakota Kaufman with 11 kills. It was the first time this season Kaufman posted double digits in kills. Kaufman only had one error on the day for a hitting percentage of .500. Pelger receiver her second tournament MVP honor of the season for her three strong matches this week.
Junior setter Caitlyn Donahue was rewarded with all-tournament team honors for her efforts this week, and again shined on Saturday posting her second double-double of the tournament. Donahue had 48 assists in the win over SDSU to average 16 per set for the match. She also added 10 digs. Kabalis had 16 digs on the day averaging much higher than her season average of 3.3.12 per set heading into the match. She came up with a number of digs during long rallies to give the Wildcats a chance to score in transition and get the win. The Jackrabbits were led by middle blocker Kelli Fiegen with 12 kills on a .500 hitting clip. Fellow middle blocker Kaitlin Klingemann added 11 kills in the losing effort.
The first set was all Wildcats with Pelger leading the way with an impressive seven kills on nine swings for a percentage of .778. Porubek was a force in the initial set as well pounding out five kills while Kaufman took advantage of her spot in the starting lineup on Saturday with four kills in the first set. Alex Muff also added three kills on four swings to help the Wildcats hit .381 in the first and get the win 25-18.
K-State saw the Jackrabbits storm to a lead thanks to four straight points. The Wildcats would respond with their own run of four points to reclaim the lead 17-15. Another 4-0 run by K-State got SDSU in trouble trailing 18-22, and K-State would close the door 25-21 on a kill by Porubek.
In the second set, Porubek had a strong showing tallying six kills on 12 swings without an error to help the Wildcats hit .395 in the second set. Kaufman also had a big second set with four kills on seven swings while Pelger had just three kills in the set as she was in the back row when the Wildcats went on their runs and got fewer swings.
K-State rolled in the third taking control and never relinquishing it. The Jackrabbits were unable to put together any offense in the last set as they only strung together one run of three points once in the set. It was the only time K-State did not sideout in the set and the Wildcats got the win 25-15. Porubek continued to pour it on for the Wildcats in the final set posting another five kills. Kaufman had four kills as well as she reached double digits in kills for the first time this season totaling 11.
The Wildcats return home to take on the Drake Bulldogs at 6 p.m. on Monday from Ahearn Field House. The match will be available on K-StateHD.TV and aired on 1350 KMAN. It will be K-State’s final home nonconference match of the season as the team will conclude nonconference action next week at a tournament hosted by Saint Mary’s in California.
Dr. Mary Jo Invitational All-Tournament Team – Kansas State honorees
Kaitlynn Pelger – MVP