MANHATTAN, KS -- Texas A&M made a strong comeback after dropping the first two games against No. 12 Kansas State, but the Aggies’ upset bid fell short in a 3-2 ( 30-19, 30-27, 30-32, 28-30, 15-10) loss to the Wildcats at Ahearn Field House.
With the loss, A&M falls to 18-8 overall and 7-8 in the Big 12. K-State, third in the Big 12 standings, improves to 19-7 overall and 11-5 in the Big 12.
K-State took advantage of A&M’s early passing and serve reception woes, tallying four aces en route to a 14-5 lead to begin the match. The Wildcats built their biggest lead of the first game at 19-7, and A&M got no closer than nine points before Megan Farr posted back-to-back kills to cap the Wildcats’ 30-19 win.
K-State, which finished with five aces in the frame, out hit the Aggies, .359 to .094.
A&M held a 10-5 advantage in the second game when K-State went on a 10-2 run to build its first lead of the game. A&M stayed within striking distance, never trailing by more than three points and getting within a point eight times. K-State, which out hit A&M, .277 to .205, held a 27-24 advantage when a service error and a kill by Sarah Ammerman put the Aggies within 27-26. Consecutive kills by the Wildcats put K-State serving for the game, but the serve went into the net. A&M, however, was whistled for being in the net on the ensuing play, giving K-State the 30-27 win.
A&M, which trailed by as many as five points early in the third game, was down 18-15 when the Aggies scored three unanswered points to tie the score at 18-all. Natalya Korobkova put down a kill for the Wildcats, but Ammerman answered with a kill, and Kristen Schevikhoven posted an ace to give the Aggies their first lead since 1-0. K-State tied the score three times before taking the lead at 26-25 following a three-point run.
The teams exchanged point for point until a K-State attack error gave A&M a 29-28 lead. Korobkova came back with a kill and then teamed for a block to put the Wildcats serving for the match. Ammerman tooled a kill off the block to tie the score for the 12th time. A&M then took the lead after Megan Farr’s attack narrowly sailed long. Farr’s next attack went wide to give A&M the 32-30 win and force a fourth game.
A&M tied the score nine times before taking its first lead of the fourth game at 16-15 on an Ammerman kill. K-State tied the score at 17 and 18 before A&M went on a 4-0 run. A&M then committed consecutive attack errors to put K-State within 22-20. A Wildcat attack error and an A&M block followed by an ace gave the Aggies their biggest lead at 25-20. K-State took a timeout and then came back to score five of the next six points to get within 26-25. Jillian Phillips teamed with Ammerman for a block to end the run, and Kelsey Bryant and Ammerman followed with back-to-back kills to put A&M serving for the game. The Wildcats fought off three straight game points with kills before Phillips put down the game-winning kill and evened the match at two games apiece.
Korobkova began game five with a kill, but A&M answered with three consecutive kills to take its only lead of the game. KSU went on a 4-1 run to regain the lead. A kill by Mary Batis knotted the score at five, but the Wildcats, who out hit A&M .692 to .182 in the frame, came back with a kill and a block and never lost the lead en route to the 15-10 win to clinch the match.
Ammerman and Batis led A&M with 19 and 18 kills, respectively, and Kelly Stanton added 11 kills and a match-high eight blocks. Schevikhoven had 56 assists and a career-high seven blocks as A&M posted 15 blocks for the match. Batis led the Aggies with 18 digs, and Schevikhoven and Jen Moore also reached double figures with 13 and 11, respectively.
Korobkova had the most kills by an A&M opponent this season with 27, including the match winner as KSU tallied 92 kills to A&M’s 69. Farr added 20 while hitting at a .529 pace, to lead the Wildcats to a .303 hitting percentage for the match. Kelsey Chipman pitched in 15 kills to lead the Wildcats to a 92-69 advantage in kills. Libero Angie Lastra had 29 digs, the most by an A&M opponent this season, and Chipman led the Wildcats with eight blocks.
The Aggies face their second of three consecutive Top 15 opponents Friday as they take on No. 3 Texas in Austin. First serve is at 6:30 p.m. at Gregory Gym. A&M returns home Wednesday to host No. 2 Nebraska at 5:30 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum.