Defense, Seniors Shine in Sweep of Texas Tech


GAME RECAP

0

3

NR
TEXAS TECH
RED RAIDERS
10-21 (0-16 Big 12)

NR
K-STATE
WILDCATS
20-9 (9-7 Big 12)

LEADERS:
Lauren Douglass: 9 kills, .333%, 2 blocks
Marguerite Grubb: 23 assists, 5 digs, 2 blocks
Ren Akiu: 12 digs

LEADERS:
Brooke Sassin: 12 kills, .267%, 8 digs
Katie Brand: 39 assists, 9 digs, 7 blocks
Katie Reininger: 8 kills, .667%, 5 blocks

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5
Texas Tech 16 21 17 -- --
K-State 25 25 25 -- --

MANHATTAN, Kan. – On Senior Night, it was only fitting that the six-member senior class led the Kansas State volleyball team to a straight-set victory (25-16, 25-21, 25-17) over Texas Tech Saturday night at Ahearn Field House.

It was a senior that led the team in each major statistical category in K-State’s 20th win of the season. Outside hitter Brooke Sassin led in kills (12), middle blocker Katie Reininger led in hitting percentage (.667), libero Kersten Kober in digs (12) and setter Katie Brand in both assists (39) and blocks (7).

“No better way to go out,” Sassin said after the match. “It’s awesome to go out this way and look back and see how much I’ve grown as a player.”

“When I think about that core group of seniors,” head coach Suzie Fritz said. “It’s hard to describe how hard they work.”

K-State (20-9, 9-7 Big 12) reaches the 20-win plateau for the 11th time in Fritz’s 16 years at the helm of the program.

The Wildcats held Texas Tech (10-21, 0-16) to a season-low .084 hitting percentage (30 kills-21 errors-107 total attempts) as the Red Raiders never hit above .120 in any of the three sets. K-State out-blocked TTU, 11.0-6.0.

“Our block is where it started,” said Brand. “Our middles, both Elle [Sandbothe] and [Katie] Reininger, did a great job of using their inside hand to close off the angles.

“Defense was something we focused on coming in,” Brand added.

K-State jumped out to an early 7-2 lead in the opening set and never looked back, leading throughout. Five Wildcats picked up multiple kills in the frame and as a team hit .393 (15k-4e-28ta). Three separate runs of at least four straight points scored by the Cats aided the 25-16 set victory.

Late in the second set and tied at 20, K-State closed the set on a 5-1 run to take a 2-0 match lead. Again, five Cats had multiple kills while the defense held Texas Tech to a .027 (10k-9e-37ta) attacking efficiency. Brand, Reininger along with junior Bryna Vogel each tallied a pair of blocks in the set.

K-State trailed only once in the final set as Brand, Reininger and Sassin recorded the final six kills to close out the Wildcats’ second sweep of the Red Raiders this season. Sassin had six of her match-high 12 kills in the game.

“At this point of the season, it’s just about trying to win and advance,” Fritz added. “Now, it’s genuinely about winning. With a group like that, it’s their show now, I am just turning it over to them and along for the ride.”

At 9-7 in conference play, K-State finishes the regular season in a tie for fourth place in the Big 12 for the second straight season. It is the ninth top-four finish for the Cats under coach Fritz.

K-State seeks its third straight selection into the NCAA Tournament and will await its fate as the NCAA Selection show airs on ESPNU at 8 p.m. CT Sunday night. The Wildcats have qualified for the postseason 11 times under coach Fritz.

NOTES

·         K-State leads the all-time series with Texas Tech, 36-10, dating back to 1982, and have won the last six meetings in the series.

·         K-State is now 20-1 at home against the Red Raiders and coach Fritz is now 28-4 vs. TTU.

·         TTU’s .084 team hitting percentage is a low for a K-State opponent this season.

·         K-State finishes in a tie for fourth in the Big 12 standings for the second straight season.

·         It is the first time the Cats have finished in the conference’s top four in back-to-back season since 2007-08.

·         Fritz is now 63-0 when her team holds its opponent under a .100 hitting percentage.

·         The senior class has a record of 31-9 (.775) at Ahearn Field House.