Defense Fuels Cats' Key Win Over Baylor Saturday




18-7 (6-3 Big 12)

17-6 (6-4 Big 12)

Katie Staiger: 22 kills, 13 digs
Aniah Philo: 11 kills, .259%, 10 digs
Morgan Reed: 38 assists, 7 digs

Bryna Vogel: 13 kills, .393%, 14 digs
Katie Brand: 40 assists, 17 digs, 5 kills, 4 blocks
Elle Sandbothe: 10 kills, .278%, 6 blocks

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5
Baylor 22 25 13 20 --
K-State 25 21 25 25 --

MANHATTAN, Kan.Katie Brand and Bryna Vogel each tallied double-doubles and the Kansas State defense held Baylor to its lowest hitting percentage of the season, aiding the K-State volleyball team to a four-set win (25-22, 21-25, 25-13, 25-20) over the Bears Saturday night at Ahearn Field House.

The two teams split the season series for the fifth straight year while K-State (17-6, 6-3 Big 12) now sits just a half-game behind Baylor (18-7, 6-3) for third place in the Big 12 standings.

“Our defense was much better [than the first meeting],” said head coach Suzie Fritz. “We were on task at the net defending their hitters and I thought the defense behind them was really good, too. When you can hold a team like that to [hitting] .100, that’s something.”

With the match level at a set apiece, the K-State defense forced Baylor into more errors (7) than kills (6) in the third set. The negative attacking efficiency helped the Wildcats take the set, 25-13, leading wire-to-wire. Behind five blocks by the Wildcats in the game, the 13-point output equaled the Bears’ fewest in a conference match this season.

Baylor finished the match with a season-low .111 (43k-27e-144ta) hitting percentage while the Cats out-blocked the Bears, 13.0-10.0. BU never hit more than .250 in any set and hit .200 or lower in three of the four sets.

K-State was able to come away with a back-and-forth opening set, 25-22. The first set saw 14 tie scores and seven lead changes and with the score tied at 21, the Cats finished the set on a 4-1 run that was capped by a kill from freshman middle blocker Elle Sandbothe. Sandbothe finished with three of her career-high 10 kills in the first frame.

The Wildcats looked poised to take a commanding 2-0 match advantage with a 21-18 lead late in the second set, but Baylor was able to score the final seven points of the set to tie the match 1-1 with a 25-21 victory. It was the only set that the Bears tallied more stuff blocks (5.0) than K-State (1.0). Vogel finished with five of her team-best 13 kills in the set.

After its dominant third-set victory, K-State was led by Kylee Zumach with six kills off the bench in the final set, including the final point to seal the Cats’ 10th four-set victory of the year (tying a program record). The Bears closed to within two points at 21-19, but K-State responded with a 4-1 run to end the match.

“It’s definitely a luxury to have so many talented hitters,” Fritz added. “The girls all support each other and just want what’s best for the team. Sometimes it’s a tough decision on who to put in but all of our girls are tremendous.”

Brand, a redshirt senior setter, picks up an assist-dig double-double (40 assists, 17 digs) for the fourth straight match and leads the Big 12 with 14 on the season. Vogel, a junior right-side hitter, records a double-double (13 kills, 14 digs) for the third straight match.

Sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Schultejans finished with 12 kills, the fourth time in the last five matches she has reached double-figures. Senior libero Kersten Kober recorded her 20th match this season with double-digit digs as the tallied 14 in the match.

Kansas State seeks to avenge an earlier-season loss to in-state rival Kansas, as the sixth-ranked Jayhawks visit Ahearn Field House Wednesday night. First serve is slated for 7 p.m., and will be broadcast world-wide on K-StateHD.TV. The Sunflower Showdown will also be streamed live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. Fans can also listen to Rob Voelker call the match on local radio on 1350 KMAN and at


·         K-State is now 28-15 against Baylor all-time and 17-5 at home vs. the Bears.

·         The 10 four-set victories ties the program record for such wins in a single season, set back in 1987.

·         The victory was K-State’s 10th at home this season, its most home wins since 2013.

·         The Wildcats are 10-2 this season in four-set matches.

·         The Cats are 13-1 this season when winning the first set.

·         Brand now has 65 career double-doubles, ranking second on K-State’s career list (Kim Zschau, 69).

·         Brand now has 4,531 career assists and sits just 10 away from moving into sole possession of second on K-State’s career list in the rally-scoring era (since 2001).

          Kober now has 1,446 career digs, just five from moving into third on K-State’s career digs list in the rally-scoring era.