Sassin Leads Wildcats to Key Win Over TCU


GAME RECAP

1

3

NR
TCU
HORNED FROGS
10-5 (3-2 Big 12)

RV
K-STATE
WILDCATS
13-4 (2-2 Big 12)

LEADERS:
Ashley Smith: 11 kills, 12 digs
Regan McGuire: 11 kills, .500%
Natalie Gower: 10 kills, 4 blocks

LEADERS:
Brooke Sassin: 21 kills, .386%, 9 digs
Katie Brand: 56 assists, 11 digs, 9 kills, 4 blocks
Bryna Vogel: 14 kills, 20 digs, 2 blocks

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5
TCU 31 25 18 15 --
K-State 33 21 25 25 --

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Trailing by a point and the match tied at a set apiece, senior outside hitter Brooke Sassin sparked an 8-0 run late in the set that proved to be the turning point in the Kansas State volleyball team’s four-set (33-31, 21-25, 25-18, 25-15) victory over TCU Saturday at Ahearn Field House.

K-State (14-4, 3-2 Big 12) trailed TCU (10-6, 3-3), 17-16, when Sassin rattled off five kills in six points as part of that 8-0 Wildcat run. The Cats closed out the pivotal frame by scoring 11 of the final 13 points in a set that saw 13 tie scores and five lead changes. Sassin picked up seven kills on seven attempts in the game and finished with a season-high 21. K-State hit .607 (20k-3e-28ta) as a team in the third set, its second-highest single-set output of the season.

“The turning point for us was late in the third,” said head coach Suzie Fritz. “I thought the defense really helped spark that run. Our back-row defense was tremendous digging balls and it helped us finally end a side-out battle and get on a little bit of a scoring run. I thought that really changed the momentum of the match.”

The Wildcats rode the momentum they built, as they never trailed in a 25-15 fourth-set victory to close out the match. K-State finished with a .301 hitting percentage, its second straight match over .300 and sixth time overall this season.

K-State equaled its longest first set in program history, taking a 33-31 decision and fighting off two set points from the Horned Frogs. Junior opposite Bryna Vogel and Sassin each led the Cats with six kills in the opening frame.

“There was tremendous volleyball being played,” said Fritz of the deuce set. “It was big for us. I felt, in that moment, that whoever was able to win that [set] was going to have tremendous momentum the rest of the match.”

Vogel recorded her third double-double of the season, finishing with 14 kills and a team-high 20 digs and a career-high seven assists. Senior setter Katie Brand was one kill shy of her second career triple-double (9 kills, 56 assists, 11 digs). The Grand Island, Nebraska, native’s 10 double-doubles this season lead the Big 12.

Senior libero Kersten Kober (16) and sophomore defensive specialist Devan Fairfield (10) also reached double-digit digs in the match.

Senior middle blocker Katie Reininger finished with 11 kills while hitting .304 (4e-23ta), the sixth time in the last eight matches eclipsing the .300 mark.

K-State will head to Lawrence, Kansas, Wednesday to take on in-state rival No. 6 Kansas. The Sunflower Showdown will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU with first serve slated for 6 p.m. Fans can also listen to the Wildcats on local radio at 1350 KMAN.

NOTES

·         K-State now leads the all-time series with TCU, 7-2, and is 5-0 all-time at home.

·         Brand recorded her 61st career double-double, ranking second on K-State’s all-time list (69, Kim Zschau). It was Brand’s 25th career match over 50 assists.

·         Sassin was one kill shy of equaling her career high of 22. Her 21 kills set a new conference career-high. It was her third 20-kill match of her career and first this season

·         Vogel registered her 14th career double-double.

·         K-State set a new four-match season high with 71 kills and 69 assists.

·         Kober reached double-figure digs for the 15th time this season and 70th time in her career.

·         Fairfield eclipsed 10 digs for the fourth time this season and seventh time in her career.