Wildcats Sweep Redhawks on Friday afternoon


K-State opened up the Wildcat Invitational with a win against Southeast Missouri State Friday afternoon. The Wildcats (4-0), swept the Redhawks, 25-23, 25-17, and 25-15. Redshirt freshman setter Katie Brand recorded 40 assists, mixing up her sets and ensuring the Wildcats employed a balanced attack. Dakota Kaufman was one of the beneficiaries of Brand’s great play. Kaufman posted six first set kills to go along with two digs. Southeast Missouri State clawed back after being down seven in the opening set, but the Wildcats seemed to kick it into a higher gear to finish off the game.

The Redhawks jumped out to an early 5-2 lead in set 2, which forced head coach Suzie Fritz to call a timeout. When play resumed, the Wildcats seemed to have gotten the message. K-State went on a 3-0 run to tie the game, and never looked back. Junior middle blocker Taylor Johnson was very efficient in the second set, recording 3 kills and 2 blocks. In addition, the persistent, powerful Wildcat attack seemed to have the Redhawks on their heels and rattled. Southeast Missouri State had 19 errors on the afternoon, with 8 of them coming from Andrea Baylin.

The Wildcats continued their great play after halftime, jumping out to an early 10-2 lead in set 3. A couple small rallies from Southeast Missouri State kept it interesting, but the Redhawks were simply overmatched from the get-go. Outside hitter Chelsea Keating was incredible in the final game, coming off the bench midway through the set to record five kills and two blocks. She finished with a kill percentage of .417.

K-State had two players post double-doubles in the match. Brand recorded 10 digs to go along with her 40 assists, and senior middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger finished with 10 kills and 10 digs. The Wildcats finished the match with seven players recording four or more kills. Emily Coon and Colleen Yarber led the Redhawks with 8 kills apiece, with Yarber adding on 9 digs.

The Wildcats return to Ahearn Field House tonight for the nightcap of their double header. K-State will face off against the Southern Illinois Salukis at 7:30. Southern Illinois swept Siena earlier this afternoon, moving them to 2-3 on the season.