K-State Upends Arizona in Season Opener

GAME RECAP

1

3

RV
ARIZONA
WILDCATS
0-1 (0-0 PAC 12)

NR
K-STATE
WILDCATS
1-0 (0-0 Big 12)

LEADERS:
Kalei Mau: 19 kills, 10 digs
Penina Snuka: 32 assists, 7 digs
Kendra Dahlke: 11 kills, .318%

LEADERS:
Brooke Sassin: 14 kills, 10 digs, .351%
Katie Brand: 34 assists, 6 digs, 7 block assists
Kersten Kober: 14 digs

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5
Arizona 21 16 25 18 --
K-State 25 25 20 25 --

HONOLULU – The Kansas State volleyball team defeated the Arizona Wildcats in its opening match of the 2016 season, 3-1 (25-21, 25-16, 20-25, 25-18), at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational Friday night. The victory marked the fifth consecutive season in which K-State won its season opener.

“It feels good,” said head coach Suzie Fritz after the win. “It feels better because I thought we played relatively well. I thought we played, at times, really well.”

K-State (1-0) only trailed once in the first two sets, including leading wire to wire in the opening frame in which K-State hit .308 while holding Arizona (0-1) to just an .088 hitting percentage. Kansas State followed that by committing only one error on 26 swings with 12 kills in the second set, good for a .423 attacking percentage, best in any single set by either team on the night.

Kansas State received contribution from all over the floor as six players recording at least three kills in the match, led by Brooke Sassin who tallied 14 kills while hitting at a .351 clip. It was the 40th time in Sassin’s career reaching double-figure kills. The senior outside hitter was the only Wildcat to register a double-double with her 10 digs.

After dropping the third set 25-20, Macy Flowers and the K-State defense took over. The sophomore middle hitter registered two solo blocks and four block assists while the Wildcats racked up eight total blocks in the set, forcing Arizona into more errors than kills for a -.024 kill percentage. Kansas State finished the night with 14 team blocks compared to Arizona’s six.

“Bolts got a little loose, I think, going into that third [set] we got a little complacent,” said Fritz after dropping the third set. “Let’s get back on task,” she told her team. “Let’s accomplish what we came here to do.

“We played team volleyball, we had a lot of people contribute. I like the way they played together,” Fritz added.

Senior libero Kersten Kober posted a match-high 14 digs, eclipsing the double-digit threshold for the 12th consecutive match, dating back to 2015. Preseason All-Big 12 senior setter Katie Brand dropped 34 assists and added seven assisted blocks.

Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Kylee Zumach, playing in her first match since Aug. 30 of last season due to a knee injury, added eight kills, three digs and an ace.

Kansas State continues its play in the Wahine Invitational Saturday night when the Wildcats take on host and sixth-ranked Hawai’i Wahine at 7:00 p.m. HT (Midnight CT).