K-State Falls in Five to Arkansas




9-2 (0-0 SEC)

8-3 (0-0 Big 12)

Pilar Victoria: 20 kills, 17 digs, 4 blocks
Chanell Clark-Bibbs: 19 kills, .341%, 8 blocks
Valle Okiana: 26 digs, 3 assists

Brooke Sassin: 22 kills, 16 digs, 2 blocks
Katie Reininger: 10 kills, 5 blocks
Kersten Kober: 22 digs, 1 ace, 2 assists

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5
Arkansas 19 25 25 23 15
K-State 25 20 21 25 11

OMAHA, Neb. – For the first time since 2011, K-State lost consecutive non-conference matches as the Wildcats dropped a five-set decision to Arkansas (25-19, 20-25, 21-25, 25-23, 11-15) on Saturday in D.J. Sokol Arena at the Creighton Classic.

K-State (8-3), which lost to No. 11 Wisconsin in four sets on Friday, was unable to overcome the defense of Arkansas (9-2) that entered the weekend 10th in the country in opponent hitting percentage. The Wildcats were out-hit by the Razorbacks, .239-.164, as Arkansas tallied 15 team blocks and 95 digs.

The Wildcats could not hit higher than .200 in any of the five sets, with the team efficiency hurt by 30 attack errors in the match. K-State was out-hit by Arkansas in all but the first set, including the fifth in which K-State turned in a .138 attack percentage (9k-5e-29att) while Arkansas hit .269 (9k-2e-26att).

The loss also snapped K-State’s seven-match winning streak against the Razorbacks, a streak that started in 2001. The Wildcats hold the advantage in the all-time series, 7-2.

Despite the K-State offense hitting below .200 for just the second time this season, Brooke Sassin led the way for the Wildcats by registering a career-high 22 kills on a season-high 68 swings. The junior also had 16 digs for her fifth straight double-double and team-best eighth of the year.

Sassin was joined by Bryna Vogel (11 kills, 19 digs) and Katie Brand (50 assists, 11 digs) with double-doubles. 

Kersten Kober had a team-high 22 digs, her second straight 20-dig match and third of the season. The junior now has six 20-dig efforts in her career, tied for the eighth-most in K-State history.

K-State was able to take advantage of Arkansas’ 13 total errors in the first, including 10 on the attack, to grab a one-set-to-nothing lead in the match. The errors were crucial early as a 12-2 run by the Wildcats turned a 3-1 K-State deficit into a 13-5 advantage. 

In the second, a pair of big Arkansas runs kept the Wildcats out of the set, including a 6-0 burst at 11-11 and then a 5-1 spurt at 18-16. The Wildcats rattled off three straight points when they were down 23-17, keyed by a Vogel kill and combo block by Katie Reininger and Vogel. Arkansas called a timeout, though, with the strategy working as the Razorbacks rattled off back-to-back kills to end the set.

K-State led 16-12 in the third following one of Arkansas’ four service errors coming out of a Wildcat timeout, but a run of seven consecutive points for the Razorbacks put the Wildcats in a 19-16 hole. Arkansas had three blocks in the burst, including three straight that pulled it out of a one-point disadvantage. For the entire set, Arkansas had five blocks.

The Wildcats had 17 kills in the fourth, their most in a set for the entire match, to help force the fifth. Reininger, Sassin and Schultejans combined for 13 of the kills, with a kill by Sassin giving K-State an 18-15 lead. Arkansas drained the Wildcat advantage, though, capped by a block on a Zsofia Gyimes attack that made it 19-all. Kills by Arkansas’ Pilar Victoria, who had a team-high 20 in the match, gave the Razorbacks leads at 21-20 and 22-21, but a Schultejans kill and attack error by Victoria flipped the score back in favor of K-State, 23-22. After Arkansas once again tied it up, the sixth tie of the set, Reininger’s fourth kill in the fourth was proceeded by Sassin’s fifth to tie the match at 2-2.

K-State grabbed the lead early in the fifth, with one of Arkansas’ two attack errors in the set making 7-4 Wildcats. The Razorbacks quickly called a timeout, which resulted in a 6-1 run for Arkansas. K-State hit into four attack errors, two off blocks, as well as had one of its six service errors in the match during the burst.

The Wildcats were unable to close the gap any closer than one point when Vogel made it 10-9 with one of her 11 kills in the match. A Sassin kill fought off the first Arkansas match point at 14-10, but Victoria capped the day with her 20th kill of the contest.

K-State concludes the Creighton Classic and its regular season non-conference schedule with a 2 p.m. match on Sunday against tournament-host Creighton. The Bluejays, who played Wisconsin after the K-State-Arkansas tilt, swept the Razorbacks on Friday evening.

K-State dropped to 1-2 in five-set matches this season. Since 2011, the Wildcats are 23-5 in five-set contests.

Prior to this weekend, the last time K-State lost back-to-back matches in non-conference action was August 26-27, 2011. The Wildcats dropped a four-set contest at Georgia Tech to start the season and then were swept by Louisville.

Katie Brand’s double-double was the 38th of her career, which places her in a tie with Devon Ryning for sixth on K-State’s all-time list. Ryning, a setter for K-State from 1994-97, recorded her 38 career double-doubles in more than 100 matches while Brand has taken 71 to reach the mark.

Sassin registered her second career 20-kill match. The junior has double-digit kills in all 11 matches this season.