School-Record 23.5 Blocks Power 3-1 Win
School-Record 23.5 Blocks Power 3-1 Win
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The K-State volleyball team had 23.5 team blocks on Friday evening, the most in school history for a four-set match, to help power the Wildcats to a 3-1 win (19-25, 25-17, 25-13, 25-10) on the road against Michigan at Cliff Keen Arena.
K-State (12-1) overcame a first-set defeat by bouncing back with 21.5 of its 23.5 blocks over the final three sets, holding the Michigan (4-5) offense to a .021 hitting percentage for the match. After the first set, in which the Wolverines hit over .300, Michigan hit -.081.
"This was a big day for us," said K-State head coach Suzie Fritz. "We showed tremendous toughness and resilience bouncing back after a five-set match this morning [against Eastern Michigan] and a loss in the first set this evening."
Three Wildcats had at least 10 blocks, led by a career-high 13 from redshirt sophomore Katie Reininger and followed by 11 from redshirt sophomore Katie Brand and 10 from redshirt senior Natali Jones. The 13 blocks by Reininger were the most by a Wildcat since Kaitlynn Pelger had 14 on September 8, 2011 at Missouri State.
"After set one, we were able to get our serving going, which kept [Michigan's] quick hitters from being as involved in the match and allowed us to be better defensively," said Fritz. "We did a tremendous job getting our hands on a lot of balls, both at the net and in the back row as well. [The coaching staff is] very proud of the team and how hard they played today."
The win over Michigan extended K-State's winning streak to 10 matches, its longest since it opened the 2012 season on a 12-match winning streak.
Reininger paired her double-digit blocks with double-digit kills, 14 of them, to record her first career double-double.
Brand, meanwhile, became the first Wildcat since Caitlyn Donahue in 2011 (Oct. 26 vs. Missouri) to register a triple-double. The setter had 42 assists and 10 digs to go with her career-high 11 blocks. Brand became just the ninth Wildcat in school history to notch a triple-double.
Reininger was matched by freshman Kylee Zumach for the team-lead in kills with 14. Zumach had one attack error on her 32 attempts, helping her hit .406. Reininger, meanwhile, tallied a career-best .522 hitting percentage on her 23 attempts.
After Michigan erased an early K-State lead in the first set by hitting .364, K-State's defense answered the call beginning in the second when it had seven blocks and held Michigan to a .000 hitting percentage. With the defense standing tall, the Wildcats used an 8-1 run midway through the set, which featured three block assists by Reininger as well as three kills from sophomore Brooke Sassin, to open an insurmountable lead.
In the third, the K-State defense one-upped itself by posting eight blocks, limiting Michigan to a negative hitting percentage. The Wolverines had 10 attack errors against their seven kills while K-State had just two errors against its 12 kills.
The fourth set was all K-State after a kill by redshirt senior Chelsea Keating, one of her three on the night, sparked a run of 11 straight points by K-State that opened a 19-7 lead. A service error by Keating interrupted the run, but kills by Reininger and Brand along with two team blocks allowed the Wildcats to close out the match by scoring six of the final eight points.
K-State will end the Michigan Invitational as well as its nonconference schedule for the 2014 regular season on Saturday at 1 pm ET/12 pm CT against Youngstown State. The Penguins were swept in their first two matches on Friday.
Kersten Kober led K-State in digs once again with 15. The sophomore, who had a career-high 31 against Eastern Michigan earlier in the day, has led the Wildcats in digs in eight of the 13 matches this season.
Chelsea Keating had a career-high 14 digs. The redshirt senior bested her previous high of 11, last set earlier this year on September 4 vs. Arkansas. Keating has 105 digs this season; she entered the year with 86 digs in her entire career.
The Wildcats fell 1.5 team blocks short of matching the all-time record for total blocks in any match. K-State had 25 blocks in a 3-2 loss at Colorado on Nov. 1, 2006.