MANHATTAN, Kan. The Kansas State Wildcats battled with rival Nebraska at Ahearn Field House on Wednesday night but could not keep the momentum and fell in four sets. The No. 2 Cornhuskers handed the No. 18 Wildcats their first home loss of the season.
“There were a lot of breakdowns for us tonight,” said head coach Suzie Fritz. “We talked about sustained level of play. We knew Nebraska wasn’t going to give us any points. I thought we let up at the end of the third set.”
K-State (10-2, 0-1 Big 12) was led by Nataly Korobkova offensively with 15 kills. Rita Liliom had another double-double with 11 kills and 10 digs, but it was not enough to defeat the Cornhuskers (9-0, 1-0).
Nebraska’s Jordan Larson tallied 21 kills for the match adding 10 digs. Kori Cooper also reached double digits in kills with 11. The Cornhuskers hit .220 as a team and held the Wildcats to just .117.
The first set went to Nebraska 25-18 before the Wildcats controlled most of the second set to even the match at one set apiece 25-21. The third set saw a controversial call on a pursuit play by Nebraska that was whistled dead for a K-State point. The call was over-ruled and replayed. The Cornhuskers won the replay and shifted the momentum.
Fritz said after the match one play does not decide the match and her team had a chance to win the point again when it was replayed. Instead she said the difference in the match was passing.
The aggressive serving from Nebraska took the Wildcats out of system at times and kept them from making the type of attacks at Nebraska’s defense they would have liked. After the let down in the third set, Nebraska closed the door in the fourth never giving up the lead and ending the match 25-19.
“It’s not an endurance thing,” Fritz said. “It’s a skill and execution thing. A lot of people thought Nebraska wasn’t going to be any good this year replacing four All-Americans, but they’re as good as they’ve ever been.”
The Wildcats will close the week with a conference match against Colorado at home at 7 p.m. Saturday.