K-State sweeps Varney’s Invitational, keeps undefeated record in Bramlage

(Photo by Jed Barker | The Collegian) Senior defensive specialist Gina Madonia (2) and sophomore setter Katibe Brand (6) celebrate after the K-State Wildcats scored a point against the Iowa State Cyclones at Ahearn Field House on November 30, 2013.

In recent years, K-State hasn’t played many volleyball matches in Bramlage Coliseum. Yet the women have capitalized and won every set they’ve played on the two-tone floor, highlighted with their seven wins and zero losses.

Behind a career-high 14 kills from junior Katie Reininger, the Wildcats swept previously undefeated Central Florida (25-18, 25-23, 26-24) on their way to a Varney’s Invitational championship and a 3-0 start to their home competition.

K-State will continue its brief homestand against Missouri State tonight at 5 p.m. at Ahearn Fieldhouse.

Reininger had seven kills by herself in an intense third set, where K-State went back and forth until taking the set 26-24.

“It’s awesome that they got me into such great rhythm,” Reininger said. “We had nice passing and great setting and I couldn’t have gotten those great plays if we wouldn’t have gotten such good rhythm like that as a team.”

It was the Wildcats’ third-straight sweep and their fifth this season. Even though K-State won in straight sets, the Knights gave the Wildcats everything they had.

With 28 total ties and 18 lead changes throughout the match, UCF didn’t fall easily.

“I think these are the kind of matches we want to be in right now,” head coach Suzie Fritz said. “The ones that sort of test your ability to stay focused over time, they test your team under pressure. So I think it’s really good for us particularly if you can be on the right end of it.”

Freshman outside hitter Kylee Zumach was named tournament MVP for her trio of games that featured double-digit kills.

She finished off the tournament with 11 kills against UCF.

When told of her selection as most valuable player, Zumach couldn’t contain her excitement as her face lit up with surprise and unabashed glee.

“It feels really cool, honestly,” Zumach said. “(It’s a) big surprise, obviously.”

Even in her euphoria, she was instantly able to come down to congratulate her teammates.

“It’s kind of cliché, but I couldn’t have gotten there without my team,” said Zumach, a Buffalo, Minnesota native. “We had great defense all tournament. Katie (Brand) was putting up great sets all tournament.”

The momentum that the team has generated since the start of the season has the team feeling good.

“It feels awesome,” Zumach said. “Our chemistry is all there, we’re playing awesome. It’s just going great. We keep rolling.”

The Wildcats stifled a strong UCF offense that was hitting .340 on the season to just .143 percent. They held sophomore outside hitter Jale Hervey to only eight kills where before she was averaging almost double that per match.

While the season is still very young, Fritz said she is pleased so far with what her team has shown her.

“For it being early September and having a relatively young roster, I think things are starting to come together nicely,” Fritz said. “We feel like, for the majority of the time, we are where we probably should be for early in the year.”

Tim Everson was born in Wichita, KS in 1994. Before fifth grade he moved up to Manhattan for one year before settling in Riley, KS where he graduated from Riley County High School in 2012. Tim has worked for the Collegian since spring of 2014 and took over as Sports Editor during the summer of 2015. Tim loves sports, music, movies and good food when he can get it.