K-State Forces No. 11 Wisconsin to Four Sets, Has Winning Streak Snapped at Six




8-2 (0-0 Big 12)

7-1 (0-0 Big Ten)

Alyssa Schultejans: 14 kills, .306%
Bryna Vogel: 11 kills, 13 digs, 2 blocks
Brooke Sassin: 10 kills, 18 digs, 2 blocks

Lauryn Gillis: 18 kills, .283%, 16 digs
Kelli Bates: 13 kills, 11 digs
Lauren Carlini: 53 assists, 14 digs, 2 blocks

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5
K-State 20 14 27 23 --
No. 11 Wisconsin 25 25 25 25 --

OMAHA, Neb. – K-State fought off two match points in the third to force a fourth set and staged an advantage as late as 23-22 in the fourth, but No. 11 Wisconsin prevailed over the Wildcats, 3-1 (20-25, 14-25, 27-25, 23-25), on Friday in the D.J. Sokol Arena at the Creighton Classic. 

The six-match winning streak of the Wildcats (8-2) was snapped with the defeat to the Badgers (7-1) as they have now dropped four-straight contests to ranked opponents. 

K-State, which was the first team outside this week's AVCA Coaches Top-25 Poll, overcame its lowest hitting percentage in a set this season in the first (.049) and Wisconsin’s .517 clip in the second by out-killing the Badgers in the third and erasing a five-point deficit at 20-15 in the fourth. However, K-State, which limited Wisconsin to its second-lowest hitting efficiency of the season (.206), was unable to match the Badgers’ 65 kills on the evening, including 18 in the fourth and three straight to end the match.

“I thought we were really good in sets three and four,” said K-State head coach Suzie Fritz. “Our ball-handling and passing were good. I also loved the way we played from a defensive spontaneity perspective. Wisconsin is a wonderful defensive team, and we were matching them. That’s the first time this season we’ve had to play that hard defensively.”

Freshman Alyssa Schultejans helped turned the Wildcat attack around by recording 12 of her team-high 14 kills over the final two sets. The outside hitter had four in the third, including one for set point, and then added eight of the team’s 14 kills in the fourth. The double-digit effort in kills, her sixth of the season, was turned in on a .306 attack percentage.

Schultejans was one of three Wildcats to notch 10 or more kills as fellow outsides Bryna Vogel and Brooke Sassin had 11 and 10, respectively. The sophomore and junior also registered double-doubles as Vogel had 13 digs while Sassin had 18. The double-double for Sassin was her fourth straight and team-leading seventh of the season.

Redshirt junior Katie Brand also had a double-double, her sixth of the season and 37th of her career, as the setter recorded 42 assists and 14 digs. She also added five kills, four blocks and an ace.

In the first, K-State led by as much as four points while also trailed by as much as four before a late surge pulled the Wildcats within one at 21-20. Wisconsin immediately called a timeout to slow K-State, with the strategy working as the Badgers scored four straight to close out the set. Lauryn Gillis, who had a match-high 18 kills, ended the first with back-to-back kills.

The second set was narrow in the early going following one of Wisconsin’s three attack errors making it 13-11 Badgers, but Wisconsin closed it out scoring 12 of the final 15 points. The .517 hitting percentage allowed by K-State in the set was its highest against all season.

Coming out of the intermission in the third, K-State pulled away with the score at 5-5 when Sassin tallied one of her three kills in the set to spark a 7-1 run. Schultejans later made it a seven-point lead at 15-8, but a service error by the freshman, one of eight in the match by K-State, allowed Wisconsin to close the gap. 

The Badgers scored nine of the next 12 points to tie it up at 18-18, but consecutive attack errors forced by the K-State defense staked the Wildcats a 20-18 advantage. After the two sides were tied three times, a block by Wisconsin gave the Badgers the first of their two match points in the third. However, a Wisconsin serve into the net evened it at 24-all. Later, a kill by Vogel staved off match point once again and ignited a three-point run to give the Wildcats the set in extra points.

K-State appeared to be up against the wall in the fourth when it trailed 20-15, but a run of six straight points, featuring two kills and a block assist by Schultejans, flipped the deficit into a 21-20 advantage. Schultejans went on to help the Wildcats keep a one-point lead as late as 23-22, but kills from Wisconsin’s Kelli Bates, Lauren Carlini and Gillis sealed the match.

“We were a much different team in sets three and four,” added Fritz. “Now, the challenge is to learn how we can establish that earlier in the match.” 

The Wildcats return to action in the Creighton Classic on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. when they face Arkansas. The Razorbacks took on host Creighton following the K-State-Wisconsin match on Friday.

K-State was out-killed by its opponent in a match for the first time this season as Wisconsin had 65 kills to the Wildcats’ 52. K-State’s streak of out-killing its opponent in nine straight matches was its longest since 2012 (17 straight).

Sassin’s seven double-doubles are the most by a K-State outside hitter since 2008 (Rita Liliom, 11).

Zsofia Gyimes led K-State with a career-high seven blocks. K-State out-blocked Wisconsin, 9-7.

Friday’s match was the first for K-State against a top-15 non-conference opponent since 2012. The Wildcats are 6-11 against all ranked opponents over the last four years.