Wildcats Remain Perfect in Bramlage, Sweep UNLV




3-3 (0-0 MWC)

5-1 (0-0 Big 12)

Bree Hammel: 10 kills, 4 digs, 3 blocks
Alyssa Wing: 10 kills, 12 digs
Alexis Patterson: 32 assists, 15 digs, 2 blocks

Brooke Sassin: 19 kills, .372%, 3 digs, 1 ace
Bryna Vogel: 11 kills, .375%, 9 digs
Katie Brand: 43 assists, 16 digs, 6 kills, 2 blocks

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5
UNLV 20 17 22 -- --
K-State 25 25 25 -- --

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Katie Reininger, Brooke Sassin and Bryna Vogel all had at least 11 kills and hit well over .300 as the trio powered a K-State offense that notched its second-highest hitting percentage in a match this season and led the Wildcats to a 3-0 sweep (25-20, 25-17, 25-22) of UNLV on Saturday in Bramlage Coliseum.

The Wildcats (5-1), who out-hit their opponents .310 to .171 in a perfect 3-0 run during the Varney’s Invitational, were relentless in the first and second sets against the Rebels (3-3). K-State hit .432 in the first, committing just one attack error, and .405 in the second.

The only set in which the Wildcats did not hit above .300 was in the third, but they had a match-high 20 kills, including seven by Sassin. As a team, K-State finished with 55 kills in the match, its most in a three-set contest since September 10, 2011 vs. South Dakota State (57).

The victory also moved K-State’s all-time record in Bramlage Coliseum to 10-0, with a 30-1 mark in sets. The Wildcats’ 6-0 ledger in Bramlage over the last two seasons is part of their larger 20-match home winning streak against non-conference opponents.

In their last 53 overall non-conference matches during the regular season, K-State is 50-3.

Sassin notched a match-high 19 kills as she continued her run this season of double-digit kills in each of the six contests so far. She hit .372 on her 43 attempts while also adding an ace, three digs and four assists. 

Reininger and Vogel both had 11 kills, with Vogel powering in a .375 clip and Reininger .333. Vogel notched five kills in the second, using a .714 hitting percentage to record the quintet.

Varney’s Invitational MVP Katie Brand played a significant role in the K-State attack, tallying 43 assists to go with her 16 digs for her fourth double-double of the campaign. The redshirt junior setter’s 43 helpers were the most by a Wildcat in a three-set match since 2011 (Caitlyn Donahue, 46 vs. Wichita State in the NCAA Tournament). 

For Brand, the MVP honor and all-tournament selection were the third and fourth, respectively, of her career. Sassin, meanwhile, picked up her third career all-tournament accolade.

K-State only trailed once throughout the first and second sets, and that was after the first point of the afternoon was tallied by UNLV. In the first, K-State was tied with the Rebels at 8-8, but it scored seven of the next 10 points, a stretch that featured three kills and an ace by Sassin, to seize a 15-11 lead at the media timeout. K-State never let UNLV come any closer than three points before Vogel hammered in a pair of kills for the Wildcats’ final two points of the set.

The second set only featured one tie, at 1-1, and saw K-State pull ahead as far as 19-12 before UNLV called a timeout. While Vogel was errorless on her seven attempts, Sassin had seven kills on 13 attacks and Reininger was 4-for-6 in kill attempt. Brand controlled the second contact throughout, assisting on 17 of the 18 K-State kills. The only kill she did not assist on was one of her own as she had a season-high six in the match.

The third set had 10 ties and seven lead changes, but three kills by Sassin and one by Brand fueled a 4-0 burst for the Wildcats to allow them to pull away and make it 17-13. UNLV later closed the gap to 21-20; however, kills by Vogel, Reininger (two) and Brand helped end the set and match.

K-State returns to the road next weekend when it travels to Murfreesboro, Tennessee for the Middle Tennessee Invitational. The Wildcats open the weekend with a 4:30 p.m. match on September 11 vs. VCU.

During the tournament, Brand surpassed the 2,500 career assist mark, needing just 241 sets to reach the milestone. The Grand Island, Nebraska native is the second-fastest player in school history to reach the threshold (fastest: Disney Bronnenberg, 159 sets).

K-State has hit .280 or higher in five of its six matches this season. Last year, in 31 matches, the Wildcats had an attack percentage of .280 or higher 10 times.

Kersten Kober had 15 digs on Saturday as the junior libero finished with 42 over the weekend (4.20 digs/set). She has 13 or more digs in all six matches this year and is averaging 4.17 per set.

The Wildcats have played in Bramlage Coliseum in four different seasons, going 3-0 in 2003, 2014 and 2015. In 2005, K-State swept Iowa State.

Varney’s Invitational MVP
Katie Brand, K-State

Varney’s Invitational All-Tournament Team
Katie Brand, K-State (RS JR, S)
Brooke Sassin, K-State (JR, OH)
Jillian Bauer, Green Bay (SR, L)
Emily Riese, Green Bay (SR, S)
Lillian Schonewise, Cal (SR, MB)
Bree Hammel, UNLV (RS JR, MB)