No. 25 K-State Rallies Thrice for Win

MANHATTAN, Kan. The No. 25 Kansas State volleyball team came back three times on Friday night to defeat Wichita State in the Varney’s Kansas State Invitational, 3-0 (30-21, 30-28, 32-30).


The Wildcats were able to make their strong comeback efforts due in part to a season-high nine service aces and a .264 hitting percentage. Leading the charge in aces was sophomore Jenny Jantsch with a career-high tying four. The Kansas City, Mo., native has 10 services in five matches this season.


K-State (4-1) was led by strong play from its middle blockers, as sophomore Megan Kroeker and redshirt freshman Tiffany Johnson combined for 24 kills and six blocks. Kroeker tied for match-high honors with a personal season-high 14 kills on a .355 hitting percentage. Johnson added 10 kills with a team-high .474 hitting percentage.


Wichita State (4-1) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead on the Wildcats to open game one, forcing K-State head coach Suzie Fritz to burn a timeout. Kansas State battled back using an 8-4 run to take its first lead of the frame at 12-11 on a Jenny Jantsch kill.


The Wildcats closed out the Shockers in game one with a 11-3 run after Wichita State closed to within one at 19-18. During the run, redshirt freshman Ginta Gabruseva carded four straight points on three kills and a service ace to aid the Wildcats to a 30-21 win. K-State put together a game one hitting percentage of .366 with 20 kills.


The Shockers held the early and late advantage in game two, but could not hold off a late charge by the K-State offense. The Wildcats trailed 25-22, but battled back with an 8-3 run capped by a Werner kill and an attack error by the Shockers to enter intermission on the back of a 30-28 win.  


In the final game, Wichita State held the early advantage by as many as three at 15-12. K-State again powered back into the match with a 6-3 run to force a Shocker timeout. The teams traded points until Wichita State took a 28-26 lead forcing a Kansas State timeout. The Wildcats used a 5-2 run following the timeout to close out the victory with a Werner service ace, 32-30.


The Shockers were led by Sara Lungren with 14 kills and Lindsey Eckenrode with 11. The Shockers carded more digs than the Wildcats, 57-48, led by Melissa Granville with a match-high 20.


Kansas State will conclude play in the Varney’s Kansas State Invitational on Saturday at 1 p.m. K-State faces Montana State in Ahearn Field House.