K-State Starts 2015 with Sweep of Florida A&M




0-1 (0-0 MEAC)

1-0 (0-0 Big 12)

Ginna Lopez, 7 kills, .500%, 3 blocks
Deija Martin: 7 kills, .875%
Pamela Soriano: 4 kills, -.056%, 6 digs

Brooke Sassin: 10 kills, .529%, 3 digs
Katie Reininger: 6 kills, .417%, 4 blocks
Katie Brand: 22 assists, 6 digs, 4 blocks, 2 aces

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5
FAMU 8 11 19 - -
K-State 25 25 25 - -

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – For the fourth straight year, K-State started its season on a winning note as the Wildcats used a .371 team hitting percentage to sweep Florida A&M (25-8, 25-11, 25-19) in the Hurricane Invitational opener at the James L. Knight Sports Complex.

K-State (1-0) stayed low error and never trailed throughout the entire match, helping it turn in its highest hitting percentage in a season-opener since 2005 (.391, vs. Arkansas-Little Rock). The Wildcats never hit lower than .300 in any of the three sets while in the second, they posted a match-best .478 clip (13 kills, 2 errors, 23 attempts).

“I thought we were consistent,” said K-State head coach Suzie Fritz. “I liked our mentality, and we stayed together. I was very pleased on how very low-error we were for the first match of the year. Sometimes, that first one, you get the juices flowing a little bit and you try to do too much. I thought we did a good job of simply serving it in, hitting it in, making them play long enough – not hurting ourselves.”

Junior Brooke Sassin had a match-high 10 kills on a .529 hitting percentage (1 error, 17 attempts), her best attack clip in a match since September 4, 2014 vs. Arkansas (.583).

“That has been what we’ve been getting from (Sassin) every day,” added Fritz. “She has been tremendously consistent.”

Sophomore Bryna Vogel registered seven kills, on a .357 hitting percentage, while also adding four digs and two aces, the first two of her career.

Junior setter Katie Brand also added two aces, helping give the Wildcats five in the match, to go with her 22 assists, six digs and four blocks. Fellow junior Katie Reininger, who had six kills on a .417 hitting percentage as well, matched Brand for the team-high in blocks with four.

Brand and Reininger were the leaders of a K-State defense that limited the Rattlers (0-1) to a sub-.100 hitting percentage for the match. Over the first two sets, the Wildcats held Florida A&M to a combined -.037 clip (11 kills, 13 errors, 54 attempts) as the Rattlers finished hitting .083.

Redshirt freshman Makenzie Holcomb, in her first career match, had three blocks as K-State finished with seven team stuffs on the night.

In the first, K-State tallied the first six points with the help of two kills by Reininger and two aces by Vogel. The closest Florida A&M was able to close the gap was four points at 9-5, but a 6-0 run by K-State allowed it to pull away. The run, ignited by one of Florida A&M’s seven attack errors in the set, featured kills by Kylee Zumach and Holcomb as well as two aces by Brand.

Sassin’s five kills on an errorless six attempts in the second helped K-State turn in its highest hitting percentage in a set since November 15, 2014 vs. Baylor (.591, fifth set). Following a ball-handling error by the Rattlers, Sassin’s fifth kill of the match sparked an 8-2 run to give the Wildcats a 16-7 lead. Despite a kill by Andrea Soriano briefly interrupting the burst, K-State went on to score nine of the last 12 points in the set.

In the third, K-State was forced to fight off Florida A&M several times in the early going as the score was tied seven times up to 13-13. However, a kill by Zumach started a 3-0 burst and forced the Rattlers to call a timeout at 16-13. The Wildcats did not allow Florida A&M to close the gap any closer than two points, though, with kills by Reininger and Sassin bringing the margin to a high-water mark of 22-15. Vogel brought it to match point with her final kill of the night before a Florida A&M attack error ended the match.

K-State continues its stint in the Hurricane Invitational on Saturday with a pair of matches. The first one, against Illinois State, is set for 10:30 a.m. ET and will be followed by a 7:30 p.m. ET contest against host Miami (FL).

K-State has now beaten Florida A&M in both all-time meetings. The first meeting occurred in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats improved to 39-2 (.951) against non-conference opponents in the regular season since 2012.

Kersten Kober finished with a match-high 13 digs. The junior now has 639 career digs and 29 career matches with 10 or more digs.

In addition to Holcomb, three other Wildcats made their K-State debuts. Redshirt freshman Devan Fairfield had three digs while true freshmen Zsofia Gyimes and Alyssa Schultejans had two kills and one kill, respectively.