Cats dominate in Werner's final match

The lone senior on the Kansas State women's volleyball team got three of the last five points, including the final kill of the match, in a 3-0 (30-16, 30-14, 30-28) victory over the Kansas Jayhawks Saturday in the Sunflower Showdown in Ahearn Field House.

Her teammates were looking to set her on all the final few points of the match. Sophomore middle blocker Megan Farr had a chance to set freshman middle blocker Kelsey Chipman on the final point, but instead she back set Werner to give her the final kill.

"That was really exciting, and just like coach (Suzie) Fritz told me, it was the perfect way to end my career," said Werner, a native of Topeka. "Everyone played so well and we came out on fire, it was awesome. It was a really fun match."

Werner finished her final match with a team-leading 12 kills and 3.5 blocks. She received a standing ovation from the 812 fans in attendance, and K-State President Jon Wefald and Athletic Director Tim Weiser presented her with a plaque commemorating her accomplishments after the match.

Her teammates wouldn't allow her to finish her career on a down note, especially after K-State (12-18 overall, 4-16 Big 12 Conference) struggled to string together any wins after conference play began in mid-September.

"We are very happy for Sandy," junior setter Stacey Spiegelberg said. "She had a great career here, and we wanted this win desperately for her, especially against the Jayhawks."

Farr had 10 kills on a .350 hitting percentage, and sophomore middle blocker Megan Kroeker and junior outside hitter Angie Lastra combined to register 14 kills. Kroeker led the Wildcats with a .471 percentage. Lastra and libero Lauren Rosenthal combined for 26 digs.

The team combined for 15 service aces, which are the most for a K-State team since recording 18 in a 3-0 win over UMKC on Sept. 9, 2003. For the week, the Wildcats dropped in 24 aces, tallying nine at Texas Tech on Wednesday. Junior outside hitter Jenny Jantsch had a career-high five aces and Spiegelberg added four and 37 set attempts.

The win over the Jayhawks (10-19, 3-17 Big 12) gave the Wildcats their only back-to-back victories in the conference all season. Like Werner said, the Wildcats came out on fire in the opening game, and they jumped out to a 6-3 lead. They later used a 10-2 run to take a 17-6 advantage. Kansas had a 5-0 run of its own to pull the score to 19-12, but K-State went on a long 12-4 run to end the opening game with a 30-16 victory.

K-State played with extreme confidence and looked unstoppable in the early going. The Wildcats seemed to block everything KU hit their way, and were also running down every loose ball.

All the Wildcats were getting involved, with five players recording at least two kills and the team registering seven total blocks. Jantsch and Lastra each had two service aces in Game 1.

The K-State players were playing with a swagger after that first game.

"I liked that, I don't know what took us so long to get to that point," Fritz said. "They played very aggressive and with a lot of confidence. It was fun to watch them. They were very focused and it was a great match for us."

In Game 2, the Wildcats again jumped out to a 6-3 lead. Both teams exchanged four-point runs before K-State went on an 11-1 run to take a 22-10 lead. The Jayhawks couldn't answer the constant pressure from the Wildcat attack, and the home team took the second game 30-14 on a kill by Werner.

Kansas was the aggressor in the third game. The two teams exchanged points for a while, and the Jayhawks used multiple runs to go up 14-10, 17-13 and 24-20. K-State fought back, and cut the deficit to 26-24 before going on a four-point run. Kansas scored twice to tie the game at 28, and then the Wildcats scored the final two points, including Werner's final kill of her career, to end the match with a 30-28 victory in the final game.

Werner said she still has a year and a half before she graduates from K-State with a dual degree, and she hasn't thought too far beyond graduating.

She also said that if she were remembered for anything, it would be her passion and love for the game.

"I would like to be remembered for my work ethic and just playing hard and playing with a lot of heart. I think that's what I try to do and I just love playing," she said.

Werner ended her career with 1,109 kills to put her 12th on the K-State career list. She is just the 14th player in school history to register 1,000 kills for a career, and she is just the ninth player to record at least 1,000 kills, 300 digs, 200 blocks and 50 aces for a career. She finished with 407 digs, 234 blocks and 67 aces.

Side notes

Here are some of the milestones reached by a few of the Wildcats this season

Junior setter Stacey Spiegelberg recorded just the third quadruple-triple in K-State history. She finished with 107 kills, 249 digs, 1,415 assists and 105 blocks. The only other two players to ever record a quadruple triple in a single season are Gabby Guerre (2003) and Renee Whitney (1985).

Spiegelberg also recorded just the 18th triple-triple in a season.

She is now fifth on the individual career assists list with 2,950. Whitney is fourth with 3,154.

Junior outside hitter Angie Lastra is second on the all-time career digs list with 1,457. She will be chasing Kim Zschau (1,518) next season to try and break the all-time record.

Lastra also recorded the fifth most digs in a single-season for a K-State player with 474.

The Wildcats recorded 632 block assists this season, which broke a year-old team record for block assists in a single season.

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