Wildcats Slowed by Iowa State Defense




9-7 (1-3 Big 12)

10-5 (3-1 Big 12)

Katie Reininger: 10 kills, .250%, 1 block
Brooke Sassin: 7 kills, 14 digs, 4 blocks
Katie Brand: 29 assists, 15 digs, 1 ace

Jess Schaben: 9 kills, .212%, 5 digs
Alexis Conaway: 7 kills, 6 blocks, 5 digs
Caitlin Nolan:  28 digs, 1 ace

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

AMES, Iowa – K-State was held to a sub-.100 attack percentage for the first time this season, due in part to 77 Iowa State digs, as the Wildcats lost in straight sets, 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-20), on Wednesday at Hilton Coliseum.

The loss for K-State (9-7, 1-3 Big 12) was its sixth over its last seven matches and eighth straight at Iowa State (10-5, 3-1 Big 12).

The Wildcats, who entered the night hitting .260 on the season, were forced to take 142 swings and had just 38 kills against 24 attack errors (.099 hitting percentage). In the second and third, K-State hit .060 and .022, respectively. Ten attack errors in the final set hurt the Wildcats as they led at the 17-13 mark.

K-State’s defense was able to limit Iowa State as well as the Cyclones hit .179 hitting percentage with the help of K-State’s 69 digs and six blocks. The Cyclones had just 13 attack errors in each of the second and third sets.

Four Wildcats had double-digit digs, led by 15 from redshirt junior Katie Brand. Outside hitters Brooke Sassin and Bryna Vogel totaled 14 and 13, respectively, while Kersten Kober reached double-digits in digs for the 15th time this season with 10.

Redshirt junior Katie Reininger was the lone Wildcat to reach double-digit kills in K-State’s first straight-set loss of the year. The middle blocker had 10 for her third consecutive match of 10 or more kills 

Freshman Macy Flowers and Sassin each had seven kills to tie for the second-highest total on the team.

K-State spent much of the first set trailing and by as much as five at the 20-15 mark, but one of Reininger’s three kills in the set sparked a 7-2 run for the Wildcats. Over the burst, Kober dropped in an ace and Flowers slammed in two of her five first-set kills, but the set-tying point came at the hand of Alyssa Schultejans, who got the touch by Iowa State down the line to even it with a kill. However, three straight points by Iowa State, two off kills and the final one on a Wildcat attack error, gave the Cyclones the early lead in the match.

The second set featured 12 ties by the 13-13 mark, with neither side leading by more than two points, but Iowa State went on a 4-0 run that forced the Wildcats to burn their first timeout. K-State eventually pulled within two after an Iowa State attack error made it 18-16; however, the Wildcats were never able to close the gap any closer. The Cyclones pulled away by as much as six points on two occasions, with the last being at set point, 24-18. A kill by Reininger was followed up by the third K-State block of the set to fight off the first two set points, but Ciara Capezio’s kill sealed the second.

The difference early was five Iowa State aces in the first two sets, nearly matching K-State’s season-high return error total for an entire match (at Miami, 7, on August 29). The Wildcats, who finished with six return errors, had been aced five times combined over the previous three matches.

Down 4-3 early in the third, K-State scored four straight points to help it go on a 6-2 run and force Iowa State to burn both of its timeouts. Over the spurt, four different Wildcats had a kill, with the last by Reininger giving the Wildcats their largest lead of the match at the time, 10-5. Iowa State quickly closed the gap by scoring five straight points, helped by four K-State attack errors (three unforced).

With the score knotted up at 11-all, K-State scored six of the next eight points to open up a 17-13 advantage. Back-to-back kills by Reininger sparked the run while a pair of kills from Sassin opened up the four-point lead. 

Iowa State then took the lead for the first time since the 4-3 mark when a 6-2 run was capped by a K-State blocking error that made it 19-18 Cyclones. The Wildcats regained the lead at 20-19 on an Iowa State attack error, but the Cyclones scored six consecutive points to close out the match.

After back-to-back road matches, K-State returns home to face West Virginia on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats are 4-0 in Manhattan this season, winning its last match at home on September 26 vs. Baylor (3-0).

Wednesday was the first time K-State hit below .100 since December 5, 2014 against Utah in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. That match was also the last time the Wildcats were swept.

The Wildcats are 14-24 all-time at Iowa State and 39-48 in the overall series. Twelve of the last 14 matches in the series have been decided in three sets.

Katie Brand, with her 29 assists and 15 digs, recorded her Big 12-best 11th double-double of the season.