Wildcats chase down Jackrabbits on volleyball court for eighth-straight win

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Sophomore defensive specialist/libero Sheridan Zarda hits the ball on Sept. 16, 2014 at Ahearn Field House. (Rodney Dimick | The Collegian)

While playing in the comfort of their own home, K-State looked the part as it swept South Dakota State in Ahern Field House.

In addition to the 2014 season-winning streak, the 3-0 win also extends a nonconference home winning streak to 17 matches and a nine-game winning streak that stretches back to last season.

“I thought we came out firing,” head coach Suzie Fritz said. “We had that, ‘Hey, we’re going to play as well as we can play, keep up with us’ kind of mentality.”

K-State came out firing in the opening set as it opened on a a 9-1 run. The squad benefited from 10 attack errors and a dreadful -.023 hitting percentage for the first set, taking the set 25-18.

Much was the same for the Wildcats in the second set as they had 20 team kills on .500 hitting compared to the Jackrabbits 11 kills on .345 hitting. They easily put away set two for another 25-18 win.

The Jackrabbits evened out the match while tying the third set at four early on, but a kill from Zumach spurred a 17-4 run that would eventually shut the door on South Dakota State.

“Regardless of what’s going on the other side of the net, we have to control the things we can control,” Fritz said. “In volleyball, there are a very small amount of things that you can control. It’s very much a rebound sport and there is a lot of spontaneity. So the better you can adjust to that spontaneity the better chance, I think, you have for getting the ball under control quicker. “

The win was extra sweet for K-State as it got a much-needed sweep. In the past four matches K-State has played in the past week, only one has been a sweep, which was against Southern Illinois.

“I think it’s a lot easier on our bodies,” senior outside hitter Chelsea Keating said. “Toward the end of preseason, we’re getting beat up a little bit. It’s nice to win it in three.”

The team was co-led in kills by sophomore outside hitter Brooke Sassin and Big 12 rookie of the week, freshman outside hitter Kylee Zumach. Both had 10 kills with Sassin hitting .381 and Zumach hitting .318.

“Brooke and Kylee are playing really well,” Keating said. “They have great vision and they are killing a lot of balls.”

Along with the games in the Saluki Invitational, Zumach and Sassin have combined for 105 kills.

Along with Sassin and Zumach, sophomore setter Katie Brand had her seventh double-double of the season leading the team with 31 assists and 10 digs.

The Wildcats head north for their final nonconference action of the season this weekend in the Michigan Invitational in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They will take on Eastern Michigan, Michigan and Youngstown State.

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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.