Wildcats Survive West Virginia in Five Sets


GAME RECAP

2

3

NR
WEST VIRGINIA
MOUNTAINEERS
11-12 (2-7 Big 12)

RV
K-STATE
WILDCATS
16-5 (5-3 Big 12)

LEADERS:
Payton Caffrey: 14 kills, 14 digs
Mia Swanegan: 8 kills, 13 blocks
Erin Slinde: 27 assists, 10 blocks, 5 digs

LEADERS:
Brooke Sassin: 16 kills, .225%, 17 digs
Katie Brand: 48 assists, 13 digs, 5 kills
Bryna Vogel: 16 kills, .333%, 12 digs

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5
West Virginia 12 25 24 25 8
K-State 25 21 26 20 15

MANHATTAN, Kan. Katie Brand, Brooke Sassin and Bryna Vogel each recorded double-doubles to propel the Kansas State volleyball team to a hard-fought five-set victory (25-12, 21-25, 26-24, 20-25, 15-8) over West Virginia Saturday at Ahearn Field House.

K-State (16-5, 5-3 Big 12) played a near flawless first set, not committing a single attacking error and hitting .542 (13k-0e-24ta) while holding West Virginia (11-12, 2-7) to 12 points on a .036 (9k-8e-28ta) efficiency. In each of the next four sets, the Wildcats failed to hit above .235 as the sides alternated set wins before the Cats took the fifth and decisive set.

Sassin and Vogel led all players in the match with 16 kills apiece. Sassin finished with a team-best 17 digs while Vogel collected 12. Brand ended the night with 48 assists and 13 digs for her Big 12-leading 12th double-double of the season.

“It’s nice to have the balance at the pins like we do,” said Sassin. “It’s something we talk about a lot, being able to distribute evenly because it makes it a lot harder to defend, especially if we are both playing well.”

K-State faced set point at 24-23 in the third set with the match tied at one set apiece but responded by scoring the final three points to win the set, 26-24. Vogel tallied six kills in the set.

In the fourth set and tied at 15, West Virginia rattled off six straight points to open up a 21-15 lead on its way to forcing the match to a fifth and final set. The Mountaineers registered nine of their 16 blocks in the fourth set, forcing K-State to 12 attacking errors and a .038 hitting percentage in the frame.

K-State scored seven of the first 10 points as it led throughout the final set, closing out the match, 15-8. The Cats had six kills with just two errors on 17 attacks (.235) in the decisive game.

“I thought we struggled on offense a little bit,” said head coach Suzie Fritz after the match. “We knew going into it that their block could pose some challenges for us. We were uncharacteristically high error at points in the match.”

West Virginia out-blocked K-State 5.0-0.0 in the second set and 9.0-2.0 in the fourth set on its way to winning both. The Mountaineers finished the night with 16.0 team blocks while K-State ended with 8.0. WVU middle blocker Mia Swanegan, the Big 12’s leader in blocks per set, led all players with 13 block assists.

“We kept our error production relatively low when we were playing well,” Fritz added. “When we got into trouble, we were hurting ourselves as much as anything. To give them credit, I thought they served incredibly well and attacked very productively. We were struggling to get by the block and when we did we had some success. I thought they were far more productive in the middle of the match than we were.”

"­­A win is a win,” Sassin added. “They definitely came back and played a lot tougher and more aggressive after the first set.”

Sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Schultejans finished with 12 kills, her third straight match in double figures.

Sophomore middle blocker Macy Flowers and Vogel tied for the team lead with five blocks apiece.

The Wildcats held WVU freshman outside hitter Payton Caffrey to her lowest hitting percentage (-.020) of the season. Caffrey came into the match ranked No. 2 in the conference with 4.90 kills per set.

Kansas State begins the second half of its conference schedule on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at Iowa State. The match with the Cyclones is set for 6 p.m., and will be nationally broadcast on ESPNU. Fans can listen to the match on local radio on 1350 KMAN and at k-statesports.com.

NOTES

·         K-State is now 7-2 all-time against West Virginia and 4-1 at home.

·         The Wildcats are 2-1 in five-set matches this season (1-1, Big 12).

·         Bryna Vogel eclipsed 500 career kills in the match.

·         Katie Brand now has 63 career double-doubles, ranking second in K-State history (Kim Zschau, 69).

·         K-State has now hit better than .500 in a single set 10 times this season, something it only did one time in 2015.

·         Brand, Sassin and Vogel each recorded double-doubles in a five-set win over Georgia Tech earlier this season.

·         This marked the sixth time this season that Wildcat teammates have recorded a double-double in the same match.

·         Sassin and Vogel each earned their fourth double-doubles of the season.