MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team suffered a 25-20, 25-18, 27-25 loss to No. 22 Kansas State on Thursday night on the Wildcat campus. The Gaels welcomed back Jordan Shaw to the outside hitter position, but it was not enough.
With the loss, Saint Mary's drops to 4-3, while Kansas State improves to 8-0.
"This is a really disappointing match for us," said head coach Rob Browning. "Kansas State is a very good team with lots of weapons and experience. For us it was a revolving door of one aspect after another, getting in our way of performing at the level we need to."
Kristina Graven led the Gaels with 11 kills and added seven digs. Shaw and Gabby Jolly added 10 kills apiece for SMC. Lauren Corp added four kills and eight digs. Dalas Dodd had 35 assists with eight digs and five blocks.
In the first set, K-State used a 5-0 run to take a 15-8 lead forcing the Gaels into a timeout. A Corp kill ended the run but the Wildcats did not make many errors down the stretch and took the first set 25-20.
"First we didn't pass well and Kansas State served great, then we struggled setting the ball," said Browning. "Then our serving went south at the beginning of set two, then missed some big opportunities to dig some balls and score points."
The Gaels were leading 5-4 in the second set when KSU went on a 13-3 run to pull ahead 17-8. The Gaels did answer with five straight points to trim the deficit down to 18-13 after a Samantha Tinsley ace. Five points would be as close as SMC could get as KSU won 25-18.
In the third set, SMC led 13-9 after a Graven kill, but K-State would charge back and tie it up at 16-16. From that point, the teams would go back and forth and would remain tied all the way until 22-22. KSU went up 24-22, but the Gaels got a kill from Shaw and a big block by Dodd and Rachel Gillcrist to tie it up at 24-24. Down 25-24, Shaw responded with a kill to retie the match at 25-25. Kansas State would wrap up the match with a kill and block to end the set at 27-25 KSU.
"We played well in other areas, but there was always something that was holding us back," continued Browning. "We need to recover tomorrow because Utah State is good."
Saint Mary's is back in action Friday afternoon when it faces Utah State at 3:00 p.m. in Manhattan, Kansas.