Cats Test No. 4 KU, Fall in Five Sets




21-2 (10-1 Big 12)

17-7 (6-5 Big 12)

Kelsie Payne: 23 kills, .292%, 11 digs, 5 blocks
Madison Rigdon: 14 kills, 11 digs
Ainise Havili: 54 assists, 13 digs

Brooke Sassin: 18 kills, .333%, 14 digs
Katie Brand: 55 assists, 15 digs
Bryna Vogel: 14 kills, 23 digs, 4 blocks

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5
Kansas 25 26 25 21 15
K-State 18 28 22 25 11

MANHATTAN, Kan. – For the second time this season, the Kansas State volleyball team took the fourth-ranked team in the country to five sets. Wednesday night at Ahearn Field House, K-State succumbed to in-state rival Kansas, 18-25, 28-26, 22-25, 25-21, 11-25, on a night that senior setter Katie Brand moved into second place on K-State’s all-time career assists list in the rally-scoring era (since 2001).

Brand’s 55 assists bring her career total to 4,586, passing Stacey Spiegelberg (2004-07) for sole possession of second on K-State’s list. The Grand Island, Nebraska, native added 15 digs for her fifth consecutive double-double and 66th of her career – three shy of equaling the program record.

Brooke Sassin and Bryna Vogel also recorded double-doubles with Sassin posting a team-high 18 kills and Vogel led K-State (17-7, 6-5 Big 12) with 23 digs. Vogel, a junior right-side hitter, picks up her fourth straight double-double.

KU (21-2, 10-1) takes both meetings in the Sunflower Showdown for the second straight season and fourth time in five years.

“I thought we outplayed them at certain points in the match,” said head coach Suzie Fritz. “I don’t want to take anything away from them, they are a talented team. There was a lot of good volleyball that was played tonight.”

Kansas scored the first four points of the final set and opened up a lead as big as seven at 9-2 but after its second timeout, K-State cut the deficit to 13-10 before falling 15-11. The Cats committed four service errors in the game and finished with 14 for the match. Sassin tallied four kills in the frame.

“They found a different level,” Fritz added. “I thought we got a little high error and we got a little tentative at the service line. In the end, in the fifth, it came down to serve and pass. They were a little better at it than we were.”

The Jayhawks claimed the opening set as the two sides alternated set victories throughout in a match that saw 26 tie scores and 10 lead changes. Neither team was able to break .300 in any set, as KU recorded 16.0 team blocks and K-State tallied 10.0. The two rivals finished with similar team stats - K-State finished with a .182 (65k-28e-190ta) hitting percentage while Kansas ended hitting .195 (62k-29e-181).

K-State fought off two set points in the second set and scored the final three points to take the deuce set, 28-26. Redshirt sophomore Kylee Zumach picked up five of her 14 kills in the set.

Tied at 20 in the fourth set, K-State finished on a 5-1 run in a set in which it recorded 17 kills and hit a match-high .273 (5e-44ta). Sassin, who had one kill after the first set, tallied 10 kills in the fourth and fifth sets.

“We knew we could play with them,” said Sassin. “We didn’t start out the way we wanted to, obviously, in the fifth set.

"It’s going to burn for a while,” Sassin added. “But you have to let that feeling remind you next time you get in that situation.”

Freshman middle blocker Elle Sandbothe added 10 kills as four Wildcats reached double-figures.

Senior libero Kersten Kober tallied 16 digs and was one of five players that reached double-digit digs.

Kansas State heads to Fort Worth, Texas, for the season’s second meeting with TCU (10-11, 3-8) Saturday, with first serve scheduled for 5 p.m. The Cats claimed the first meeting at Ahearn Field House in four sets. Fans can also listen to Rob Voelker call the match on local radio on 1350 KMAN and at


·         K-State is now 63-50-1 vs. KU and 28-28 at home. KU has now won five straight in the series and nine of the last 10 overall.

·         This marked the third match (0-3) K-State has faced the No 4 team in the country (Wisconsin, Texas, KU).

·         K-State is now 2-2 in five-set matches this season.

·         Kersten Kober moved into third place on K-State’s career digs list (rally-scoring era) with 1,462.

·         Brand now has 66 career double-doubles, ranking second on K-State’s career list (Kim Zschau, 69).

·         K-State is now 9-2 when recording at least 10.0 team blocks.

·         K-State is 12-4 in the fourth set this season and 6-2 in Big 12 play.

·         This was just the third home loss for K-State this year.