K-State Scores Eight Straight Points to Cap Five-Set Win over Oklahoma




8-15 (2-9 Big 12)

16-8 (8-4 Big 12)

Kierra Holst: 17 kills, 11 digs
Marion Hazelwood: 15 kills, .323%, 11 blocks
Audrey Alford: 55 assists, 15 digs

Bryna Vogel: 15 kills, 14 digs, 4 blocks
Alyssa Schultejans: 13 kills, 2 aces, 2 blocks
Katie Brand: 60 assists, 11 digs, 8 kills, 4 blocks

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5
Oklahoma 23 27 25 25 11
K-State 25 29 21 23 15

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Freshman Alyssa Schultejans had four straight kills to cap an eight-point comeback win in the fifth set and help lift K-State to its fifth straight victory with a 3-2 decision (25-23, 29-27, 21-25, 23-25, 15-11) over Oklahoma on Wednesday in Ahearn Field House.

Despite winning the first two sets, K-State (16-8, 8-4 Big 12) saw its advantage in the match wither away after hitting .000 over each the third and fourth as the defense of Oklahoma (8-15, 2-9 Big 12) had 10 of its 14 blocks in the two sets. In the fifth, the Wildcats were four points away from dropping their fifth five-set match in six tries this season, but for the second time this season, K-State ended a set by scoring eight straight points.

Schultejans used five of her 13 kills in the match to fuel the Wildcat run in the fifth while a kill by Bryna Vogel, an attack error by Oklahoma, and a combo block by Katie Reininger and Schultejans also added to the eight points. Starting at 11-9 Oklahoma, Vogel occupied the service line to help manage the Sooner first-swing offense.

The victory gives K-State its longest Big 12 winning streak since 2004, a decision that required the Wildcats to snap a four-match losing streak in five-set contests.

“I did not think we played very well really throughout a good portion,” said K-State head coach Suzie Fritz. “I did not think we were playing well in the two sets that we won, and then I thought we got worse. In contrast, Oklahoma played really well. They played hard on defense. What they were doing at the net created some problems and took away some things that we wanted to do, and frustrated us a bit on offense.”

While Schultejans had six of her 13 kills in the fifth set, junior Brooke Sassin and Vogel tied for the team high in kills with 15. The pair of outside hitters also had double-doubles, with Sassin contributing 16 digs and Vogel 14. The double-double was Sassin’s 12th this year, the most by a Wildcat outside hitter since 2001. Vogel, meanwhile, brought her double-double total to 10.

Piloting the K-State offense to 68 kills, including 40 over the first two sets, was redshirt junior Katie Brand, who had 60 assists along with eight kills and four blocks. The setter chipped in 11 digs as well to record her Big 12-best 16th double-double of the year and 47th of her career (third-most in K-State history).

Redshirt junior Katie Reininger brought the number of Wildcats with double-digit kills to four as she had 11 alongside seven blocks. 

The Wildcats had a season-high 15 stuffs total, with freshman Macy Flowers pacing the team in that category for the second straight match as she had a career-high eight.

For the second time over the last three matches, junior Kersten Kober had 25 digs to lead K-State. The libero became the 12th member of K-State’s 1,000-career dig club in the process while it was her 10th career match with 20 or more digs, tied for the sixth-most in school history.

The first two sets featured a combined 36 ties and 10 lead changes as K-State and Oklahoma would not allow each other to pull away any more than two points after the 15th point was tallied by either side. In the first, K-State was the first to 15 and 20 points with kills by Vogel and Reininger, respectively, but down 23-22, a kill by Sassin preceded the third and fourth kill by Vogel in the set to give K-State the early advantage in the match.

K-State had set point six times in the second before a block by Vogel and Reininger helped the Wildcats break through. A combo block by Reininger and Sassin, one of seven team blocks by K-State over the first and second sets, made it 24-22 K-State, but attack errors by the Wildcats evened it at 24-all. Both teams continued to side out until the stuff on a Kierra Holst attack put K-State within one set of its 12th sweep of the year.

Oklahoma, however, came out in the third and fourth with an improved defense that had let up 19 and 21 kills in the first and second sets, respectively. The Wildcats had a combined 20 attacking errors in the third and fourth, 10 of which were unforced. In the third, K-State trailed for all of the set after the 4-4 mark, but the Wildcats did make it interesting when they were down 23-16. K-State scored back-to-back points on a kill by Reininger and an ace by Schultejans before Oklahoma brought it to set point on a kill by Marion Hazelwood. The Wildcats then took advantage of three consecutive Oklahoma errors to make it 24-21, but an attack error did K-State in.

“When you are having trouble killing balls you start to search for something that you should do next to try to create some offensive productivity,” said Fritz. “We just need to let the situation evolve and then take what they give us a little bit.”

A 7-0 run in the fourth helped put Oklahoma ahead, 16-10 – a six-point advantage that was maintained up to the 23-17 mark. The Wildcats, though, took advantage of three straight attack errors by the Sooners to bring them within three, 23-20, and force Oklahoma to call a timeout and slow the momentum. After a kill by Hazelwood helped the Sooners side out and bring it to set point, a kill by Reininger, an Oklahoma attack error and Schultejans ace fought off three set points before Oklahoma forced the fifth.

The Wildcats trailed for nearly all of the fifth set, but on the back of Schultejans, the Wildcats came out ahead to give them their first season sweep of Oklahoma since 2008.

K-State will have its only weekend bye of the Big 12 season this Saturday before it wraps up its four-match homestand on Wednesday, November 18 against Iowa State, a battle between the current third- (Cyclones) and fourth-place (Wildcats) teams in the Big 12 standings. First serve in Ahearn Field House is at 7 p.m.

The first time K-State scored eight straight points to end a set this season was in the very first set of the campaign on August 28 vs. Florida A&M, a set in which K-State won, 25-8. Last year, against Oklahoma at home, the Wildcats went on a 9-1 run to end the third set of a K-State sweep.

The 15 blocks by K-State were its most in a match since it had 18.5 in a four-set loss to Oklahoma in Norman on November 26, 2014. The Wildcats have double-digit blocks in five straight matches against the Sooners, a span that started on November 3, 2013. K-State is 4-1 against Oklahoma over that stretch.

K-State improved to 8-1 at home this year, including 5-1 in Big 12 play. Oklahoma, meanwhile, dropped to 0-6 in road conference action and 2-7 in overall true road matches.

Over the last five matches, K-State has 17 aces and been aced just six times. On Wednesday, the Wildcats had four aces, including two by Schultejans, while surrendering one. Schultejans leads the team with 22 aces on the year.