K-State Trumps South Dakota State in Sweep

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MANHATTAN, Kan. - With 10 kills apiece from outside hitters Brooke Sassin and Kylee Zumach along with a double-double by setter Katie Brand, the K-State volleyball team swept South Dakota State, 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-17), on Tuesday in Ahearn Field House to extend the Wildcats' winning streak to eight matches. 
 
K-State (10-1), which never trailed throughout the entire match, held the Jackrabbits (4-8) to a .097 hitting percentage on the night, a figure weighed down by a -.023 and .032 clip in the first and third sets, respectively. 
 
"We started sets two and three hot, especially set three," said K-State head coach Suzie Fritz. "Sometimes when you come out of the set-two break, there is a little bit of a lull as you work your way back into the match. I thought we came out of the break on fire - we had the killer mentality. 
 
"It allowed us to work some different personnel in there to try new things and get some players some game experience."
 
Sassin and Zumach hit .381 and .318, respectively, making up half of the Wildcat quartet that hit higher than .300. As a team, the Wildcats tallied a .237 hitting percentage. 
 
Brand notched her seventh double-double this season - and fifth straight - to help direct the Wildcat offense. The redshirt sophomore led the team in assists (31) and digs (10) while also registering an ace, two blocks and four kills, matching her season-high. 
 
While Brand hit .429 on her seven attacks, redshirt senior Chelsea Keating had five kills with a .444 attack percentage. The outside hitter also had nine digs and two aces, giving her a team-best 13 aces on the year. 
 
"Brooke [Sassin] and Kylee [Zumach] are playing really well," said Keating. "They have great vision, and they are killing a lot of balls." 
 
While the first set featured 24 total combined errors for both sides, the Wildcats banked a quick 6-0 lead to pull away early. K-State never allowed South Dakota State to pull any closer than four points as the Wildcat defense not only held the Jackrabbits to a negative hitting percentage but also out-dug (22-18) and out-blocked (3.0-1.0) the visitors.
 
In set two, both offenses awakened, including a South Dakota State side that had just one attack error in the set - after 10 in the first - and hit .345. The Wildcats, though, used 20 kills, the most for K-State in a single set this season, and a .500 hitting percentage to neutralize the Jackrabbits. Sassin and Zumach each had five kills in the second while Brand had more than half of her total assists in the match (16) in the second set alone.
 
The Wildcats and Jackrabbits were tied at 4-4 early in the third, but sparked by one of Zumach's five kills in the set, K-State scored 17 of the next 21 points to open up a 21-8 advantage. The run was capped by kills from Sassin and redshirt sophomore Katie Reininger, who had five kills to go with her four blocks in the match.
 
K-State will end its non-conference slate for the 2014 regular season this weekend with a three-match tour in Ann Arbor, Michigan as part of the Michigan Invitational. The Wildcats open the tournament with a 12 pm CT/1 pm ET match against Eastern Michigan on Friday, September 19 in Cliff Keen Arena.
 

NOTES
The win for K-State not only extended its active winning streak to eight matches, but it also gives the Wildcats 17 straight wins at home against non-conference opponents and nine consecutive victories at home overall. This season marks the third straight year K-State did not lose a home non-conference match in the regular season.
 
Over the last four matches, Zumach and Sassin have combined for 105 kills. Zumach is averaging 4.0 kills per set over the stretch while Sassin is averaging 4.21.
 
Redshirt freshman Brookelyn Langhaim made her K-State debut in the first set. She had no kills on two attacks.