Kober, Zumach Help Lead K-State to 3-2 Win

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Freshman Kylee Zumach's career-high 25 kills helped make up a trio of Wildcats who had double-digit kills on Friday as the K-State volleyball team fought off Eastern Michigan for a 3-2 win (28-30, 25-11, 25-20, 16-25, 19-17) in Cliff Keen Arena at the Michigan Invitational.
 
Zumach, who had half of the Wildcats' 14 kills in the final set, led K-State (11-1) in the kill department, while redshirt sophomore Katie Reininger also established a career-high in kills with 15. Sophomore Brooke Sassin fell one short of tying her career-best as the outside hitter had 17 kills along with 11 digs for her first career double-double.
 
The career-highs in kills for Zumach and Reininger were not the only personal bests for the Wildcats. Sophomore Kersten Kober had 31 digs, the most by a Wildcat since Lauren Mathewson had a program-record 41 digs on Nov. 4, 2009 (Texas A&M), while redshirt sophomore Katie Brand had 62 assists, besting her previous high of 59. Brand also had 12 digs, helping her tally her sixth straight double-double and eighth overall this season.
 
The win for the Wildcats not only extended their active winning streak to nine matches, but it also gave them their 13th consecutive win in a five-set match, a streak that dates back to 2011.
 
The fifth set was a back-and-forth affair that capped a match that saw Eastern Michigan (7-4) come back to win the first and fourth sets while K-State outmatched the Eagles in the second and third. The final set had 10 ties and two lead changes, with the Wildcats pulling to match point five times before senior Chelsea Keating's eighth kill of the match sealed the deal for K-State.
 
The Wildcats hit .357 in the fifth, led by Zumach's .636 attack percentage on 11 unblemished attempts. For the match, K-State hit .270, compared to Eastern Michigan's .210.
 
K-State led for most of the first set, building as much as a six-point lead, 19-13, and pulled within set point on three occasions on the back of Reininger's seven kills in the first. The Eagles clawed back, though, tying the match at 26-26 with a kill by Devon Murray and taking themselves to set point at 27-26 following an attack error by Keating. Neither side relinquished control until a kill by Stacey Perinar and attack error by Sassin gave the Eagles the first set in extra points.
 
The Wildcats wasted little time crawling back into the match as they overpowered the Eagles with a .414 hitting percentage in the second set, compared to Eastern Michigan's .000 (8 kills-8 errors-30 attempts). K-State had only two attack errors in the second while five different Wildcats had at least two kills, led by four from Zumach.
 
K-State once again balanced its offense and defense coming out of the set-two break, with the offense hitting .310 and the defense limiting the Eagles to a .158 clip in the third. Zumach (6) and Sassin (5) combined for 11 of K-State's 19 kills while Brand guided the offense with 16 assists.
 
In the fourth, K-State scored eight of the first 10 points, with three coming the way of kills by Sassin, but over the remainder of the set, the Wildcats only scored eight of the remaining 31 points. The Wildcats' hot start to the fourth was cooled to a .075 hitting percentage for the entire set as K-State had seven attack errors.
 
The Wildcats continue the Michigan Invitational when they take on the host of the tournament tonight at 7:30 pm ET. The Wolverines swept Youngstown State on Friday morning.
 

NOTES
Kylee Zumach's 25 kills on Friday were the most by a Wildcat since Lilla Porubek had 26 on Nov. 23, 2011 vs. Kansas. Zumach is also the first Wildcat to have 23 or more kills in two different matches in a single season since Porubek (2) and Kaitlynn Pelger (4) did so in 2011.
 
Brand became the first Wildcat to tally 60 or more assists in a match since Dec. 2, 2011 when Caitlyn Donahue had 65 in K-State's 3-2 win at #2 Nebraska in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
 
Friday's fifth set was the longest for K-State since they beat Baylor, 21-19, on Oct. 25, 2008. The Wildcats have never lost a fifth set that has gone to extra points in program history.