Schultejans' Career-High 18 Kills Fuel Four-Set Win over Cal




3-2 (0-0 Pac-12)

4-1 (0-0 Big 12)

Lillian Schonewise: 19 kills, .484%
Christine Alftin: 10 kills, 6 digs
Maddy Kerr: 20 digs, 3 assists

Alyssa Schultejans: 18 kills, .234%, 4 blocks, 2 aces
Katie Reininger: 14 kills, .423%, 4 blocks
Brooke Sassin: 10 kills, .333%, 18 digs, 1 ace

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5
Cal 26 21 20 18 --
K-State 24 25 25 25 --

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Freshman Alyssa Schultejans tallied a career-high 18 kills in Friday’s 3-1 win over Cal (24-26, 25-21, 25-20, 25-18) in the Varney’s Invitational at Bramlage Coliseum, leading K-State to its 19th straight home win over a non-conference opponent.

The Wildcats (4-1), which also improved to 9-0 all-time in Bramlage, had Schultejans and three other Wildcats reach double-figures in kills to overcome the first-set loss. Juniors Katie Reininger (14) and Brooke Sassin (10) were joined by underclassmen Bryna Vogel (12) and Schultejans in the powerful attack.

Schultejans also had a career-high in points (22.5) as she dropped in two of K-State’s five aces and recorded a career-high four blocks (one solo, three assists). The outside hitter had four aces earlier in the day against Green Bay and now has seven on the young season.

Sassin and Vogel each notched their third double-doubles of the season as Sassin led all Wildcats with 18 digs and Vogel contributed 15. Both outside hitters also had an ace.

The Wildcat offense had a .293 hitting percentage in the match, a clip powered by Reininger’s .423 percentage on 26 attempts. The middle blocker, who is hitting .431 in the first five matches of the season, has hit over .400 in each of the last three contests.

Redshirt junior Katie Brand had a match-high 54 assists in addition to 10 digs for her third double-double of the year. The 54 helpers were the most for the setter in a four-set match since September 12, 2014 vs. Marshall (57).

K-State overcame a narrow first-set loss, in which it hit just .140 and had seven attack errors, by erasing a four-point deficit and scoring 11 of the final 14 points in the second. Down 18-14, and with no timeouts, K-State sided out on one of Zsofia Gyimes’ five kills in the match and went on a 5-1 run to even the score at 19-all. Coming out of a Cal (3-2) timeout, a block by Reininger and Vogel kept the fuel on the K-State surge while Schultejans had kills for the final two K-State points to even the match at 1-1.

“I thought the difference coming out of the break, tied one-to-one going into game three, was that our serving upgraded in a lot of ways,” said K-State head coach Suzie Fritz. “We got bigger point scoring runs with our serving and I thought our transition game was a lot tighter. Even if we did not kill the first one, the swings we were getting on the second and third and fourth opportunities were more productive swings.”

In the third, K-State went on a 12-0 run midway through the set after being sparked by a Sassin kill. Following the kill, Sassin moved to the service line and kept the Cal offense out of rhythm while Schultejans had five of her seven third-set kills over the burst. The run also helped the Wildcats turn in a .417 hitting percentage, their highest in any of the four sets on the evening.

“(Brooke) Sassin really got it going back there,” said Fritz. “She was being very strategic in how she was serving, where she was serving, and who she was serving. I think that was clearly a momentum changer.”

Despite Cal going on a 6-1 run of its own in the third, the Wildcat advantage proved too much as Reininger sealed the set with a kill down the line.

K-State controlled the entire fourth set, never looking back after scoring the first four points. Cal closed it within one on two occasions, but at 7-6, Vogel tallied a kill and an ace to provide breathing room for the Wildcats. Vogel finished with three kills in the final set, helping the Wildcats hit .400 in the fourth.

The Wildcats will cap off the Varney’s Invitational on Saturday with a 1:30 p.m. match against UNLV. The Rebels lost their first two matches of the tournament, a five-set decision to Cal to open the tournament and a four-set loss at the hands of Green Bay.

Schultejans leads the Wildcats with 24 kills and six aces in the Varney’s Invitational.

K-State out-hit its opponents, .295-.144, across the two matches on Friday. Brand has helped steer the Wildcat attack by averaging 12.14 assists over seven sets.

The win was K-State’s first against a Pac-12 opponent since 2013 when the Wildcats trumped Cal in five sets in Berkeley. K-State had lost its last two matches against teams from the conference.