Cats Held Off by No. 4 Texas Wednesday Night

MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State outside hitter Anna Dixon produced a match-high 14 kills and setter Sarah Dixon turned in a double-double, but fourth-ranked Texas held off the Wildcats in three sets Wednesday night at Ahearn Field House, 32-30, 25-17, 25-18.

The Longhorns (10-2, 4-0 Big 12) used 10 total blocks to limit K-State (6-10, 1-3 Big 12) to a .096 hitting percentage. Texas had three players register multiple blocks in the match, led by Brionne Butler with six (one solo, five assists).

“Just from a pure competitive perspective, I thought our dig effort was pretty good,” head coach Suzie Fritz said after the match. “We were fighting off some gnarly stuff and I thought our dig effort was really good. I thought Loren Hinkle did a nice job there getting lots of touches on balls.

“I think we continue to struggle in terms of stabilizing our serve receive. We played out of system far too much against a big, physical block. We needed to be able to have more people involved. We needed our middles more involved, we needed Gloria (Mutiri) more involved. It kind of became an outside hitter game, really on both sides. That’s a tough challenge. An outside hitter battle with those guys is going to be hard to win.”

Hinkle led K-State with 16 digs, a career high, while Sarah Dixon added 13 to go with her 23 assists. The Cats had 55 as a team over the three sets.

Anna Dixon recorded her sixth consecutive match reaching double-digit kills. The freshman from Louisburg, who also had a pair of blocks, picked up five kills in the opening set and added six more in the final frame.

“She managed her swings pretty well,” Fritz said of Dixon. “We put her in a position where she had to go hit mostly out-of-system stuff against a big block, and I thought she took pretty well-managed swings and generated kill production when she could.”

Led by Dixon’s five kill and four from Mutiri, K-State dug itself out of an early four-point hole in the first set. The Cats fought to level the score at 18 after a 7-3 scoring run and later had six set-point opportunities before the Longhorns ran off four of the game’s final five points. Kills by Butler and Micaya White closed the set and handed UT the opening set 32-30.

“You have to do small-ball skills really well when you play (Texas), things like serve and pass,” added Fritz. “We had an opportunity at the end of Game 1 and missed a couple of key serves in crucial moments and those are ones we’ve got to have. We are trying to learn through those and be a little bit better under pressure.”

The Wildcats tallied four of their seven service aces in the first set while Texas got seven kills from Skylar Fields. K-State picked up three blocks to the Longhorns four, as the Cats hit .080 to Texas’ .250.

Despite just seven kills and a .026 hitting efficiency in Set 2, K-State cut a six-point deficit to just one point at 16-15 after an 8-3 burst. The scoring run was capped by an ace by senior Mckenzi Weber. The Longhorns responded by scoring nine of the game’s final 11 points to take a two-set advantage.

Anna Dixon produced three of the Wildcats’ seven kills without an error on 12 swings. K-State picked up three aces while Sarah Dixon and Weber each added six digs.

In the third set, K-State raced out to a 4-1 lead and later held a 9-6 edge. A 10-3 Texas run opened a four-point lead and the match was later sealed by an ace from Jhenna Gabriel. Peyton Williams collected four kills on six attacks in the set, as the redshirt junior ended the night with five kills.

The Longhorns hit .250 in the match and were led by Logan Eggleston’s 11 kills. Eggleston added 11 digs for her double-double and Fields added 10 kills and four blocks.

White turned in a match-best 18 digs, as four Longhorns reached double-figure digs. White had three of UT’s seven aces.

The Wildcats will host West Virginia (8-7, 0-3 Big 12) Saturday at 1 p.m. at Ahearn Field House. The match will stream live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and Rob Voelker will have the call on News Radio KMAN (93.3 FM, 1350 AM). Free, live audio is also available at K-StateSports.com/watch.
 
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • K-State hit .096 as a team (33 kills, 19 errors, 125 attacks).
  • Texas turned in a .250 hitting percentage (43 kills, 13 errors, 120 swings).
  • K-State was held under a .100 hitting efficiency for the first time this season.
  • Sarah Dixon produced her team-leading eighth double-double of the season (23 assists, 13 digs).
  • Anna Dixon led the Wildcats with 14 kills, extending her season-long streak to six straight matches with 10 or more kills.
  • Hinkle set a career high with 16 digs.
  • The Cats matched a season high with seven service aces, as five different Wildcats ended the night with an ace.
  • Megan Vernon led K-State with three block assists.
  • Mutiri and Williams each had five kills.
  • Eggleston (11 kills, 11 digs) turned in a double-double for Texas.
  • The Longhorns picked up 10 total blocks, as three players had multiple blocks.
  • Butler led UT with six total blocks.

NOTES

  • K-State trails the all-time series with Texas, 7-42.
  • The Longhorns have won the last 32 meetings with the Cats.
  • The Cats are 4-20 at home all-time vs. UT.
  • K-State’s three-match skid equals its longest of the season.
  • K-State dropped its second straight match to a top-five opponent.
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Source: Kansas State Sports