The K-State Volleyball team defeated the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes on Tuesday night to stay unbeaten on the season. The Wildcats, now 7-0, started off shaky, losing the first set 25-14. K-State bounced back however, rattling off wins of 25-23, 25-22, and 25-16 to defeat Tulsa 3-1. The opening set was the first the Wildcats had dropped in over a week after sweeping all three of their opponents in last weekend’s Wildcat Invitational.
Tulsa came to Manhattan with a record of 6-1. The Golden Hurricanes were very scrappy on the back line, forcing the Wildcats to take two, sometimes three swings before putting away a kill. Tulsa complimented this superb defense with solid hitting. Sophomore outside hitter Valerie El Houssine, who finished with a double double, posted 15 kills and 16 digs. She led the Golden Hurricanes in both statistical categories.
Although Tulsa battled from start to finish, they were simply outmatched after K-State got rolling. The Wildcats stayed consistent with their offensive approach, beating defenses with balance and experience. K-State had five players with over 6 kills, posted a team kill percentage of .206. Redshirt freshman setter Katie Brand posted another double double, recording 38 assists and 13 digs. She also had 3 kills. Defensively, the Wildcats recorded 64 team digs, with five players posting 8 or more digs.
Head coach Suize Fritz said her biggest concern moving forward is her team’s slow start and high amount of errors during the beginning of the match.
“We played sloppy,” Fritz said. “We are typically a very error-free team.”
Even with the uncharacteristic play, Fritz said she was still happy with the win.
“It is always better to win ugly than lose,” Fritz said.
Going forward, senior outside hitter Courtney Traxson said she felt the biggest areas for improvement were on offense.
“We need to kill more balls,” Traxson said, after a night in which she posted 7 kills. “We need to get started a little earlier. We have a pretty good passing percentage right now. We need to see the block better. We just need to be more terminal.”
Redshirt junior middle blocker Natali Jones, who sparked the Wildcats in the middle of the second set with a personal 3-0 run, pointed to momentum as a key piece to the Wildcats’ success.
“It is definitely a momentum game. I felt like we definitely had the momentum at that point, and we just kept going with it,” Jones said.
The Wildcats will look to keep the winning streak going as they travel west. After four consecutive matches at home, K-State will head to California to participate in the Cal Tournament this weekend. The Wildcats will face off against Santa Clara, Cal Poly, and Cal. Look for a full tournament preview in Friday’s edition of the Collegian.