Cats Knock Off No. 6 Hawai'i in Four Sets

GAME RECAP

3

1

NR
K-STATE
WILDCATS
2-0 (0-0 Big 12)

6
HAWAI`I
WAHINE
0-2 (0-0 Big West)

LEADERS:
Brooke Sassin: 18 kills, 9 digs
Katie Brand: 49 assists, 21 digs, 4 blocks
Kylee Zumach: 14 kills, 11 digs, 3 aces

LEADERS:
McKenna Granato: 19 kills, 12 digs
Norene Iosia, 21 assists, 7 digs, 4 aces
Savanah Kahakai, 21 digs, 5 assists

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5
K-State 19 30 25 25 --
Hawai`i 25 28 22 20 --

HONOLULU – The Kansas State Wildcats earned their first-ever victory over the Hawai`i Rainbow Wahine Saturday night in the Wahine Invitational, 3-1 (19-25, 30-28, 25-22, 25-20). The win is K-State’s first over a team ranked in the top 10 since 2012, and the first road victory over a top-10 team since the Wildcats defeated No. 2 Nebraska in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2011.

“We were better today than we were yesterday. We did some really nice things,” said head coach Suzie Fritz after the match. “We didn’t like our matchups early. We dialed it and got a little different matchup and a little different look. We came out of game three and we switched the dial and I do think that helped us a little bit.”

K-State (2-0) rebounded after a first-set loss in which it committed five service errors by taking a pivotal second set, 30-28, from the Wahine (0-2). Kylee Zumach tallied eight of her 14 kills in the second set on her way to her first career double-double with a career-best 11 digs. Senior Brooke Sassin added seven kills on 12 swings and would finish the night with 18 kills.

“I thought early [serving and passing] was not where it needed to be, but as we got locked in we started running some points on defense and building some momentum there” Fritz added. “Late in the match it was significant, we were a very good defensive team. Our back-row defense was extremely tenacious.”

The duo of Katie Brand and Katie Reininger combined to score three consecutive points in the fourth set via blocks that pushed K-State’s lead to five at 13-8. Then, fittingly, the pair ended the match with their fourth block assist of the set, a set they never trailed in.

The Wildcats registered 12 team blocks on the night, their second straight match reaching double-figures, a feat they only accomplished once in 2015. The Cats’ defense held Hawai`i to a .174 attack percentage, including just .082 in the final frame.

Brand recorded the third 20/20 double-double of her career with a match-high 49 assists and 21 digs. Reininger led all players with seven block assists. Senior Kersten Kober’s streak of double-digit digs reached 13 matches, as the libero tallied 19.

Kansas State concludes its trip to the Aloha State when it meets No. 4 Wisconsin Sunday at 12:00 p.m. HT (5:00 p.m. CT). The Badgers have also won both matches in the Wahine Invitational and the all-time series between the two schools is tied 2-2.

NOTES

·         The win is head coach Suzie Fritz’s 297th in her career at Kansas State. Fritz is now 8-4 against the Big West, with the only losses coming to Hawai`i.
·         Kansas State begins the season 2-0 for the fifth straight season.
·         The win is K-State’s first win over a team ranked No. 6 in the AVCA Top 25 poll, which is the third-highest ranking win for the Wildcats.
·         In its matchups with K-State, Hawai`i has been nationally ranked and been the host in all six meetings.
·         Kylee Zumach set a new career high with 11 digs and equaled her career best with three service aces.
·         Three Cats reached double-figure kills – Brooke Sassin (18), Kylee Zumach (14) and Bryna Vogel (12).
·         It is the first win for K-State over a ranked opponent in the season's opening weekend since 2007 when the Cats defeated No. 14 Cal Poly.