K-State volleyball powers through Ann Arbor

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K-State volleyball made it 11-straight wins after completing a trifecta of wins in the Michigan Invitational Tournament last Friday and Saturday.

In the Wildcats first trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan, they matched up against Eastern Michigan, host Michigan and Youngstown State.

The matinee of the Friday double-header against Eastern Michigan was back and forth throughout the entire match. It was stretched to five sets with the Eagles taking sets one and four.

Set five proved to be thrilling, as K-State took a 19-17 win on the back of a 14-kill performance by freshman outside hitter Kylee Zumach.

Zumach had 25 total kills in the match, her new career high and reason for leading to her being named the MVP of the Michigan Invitational. It’s Zumach’s second tournament MVP title in her young collegiate career.

Other Wildcats contributed career-high performances against Eastern Michigan. Sophomore middle blocker Katie Reininger had a career-high 15 kills and sophomore libero Kersten Kober had a career-high 31 digs. The total was the most for any Wildcat since Lauren Mathewson’s 41 digs against Texas A&M; in 2009.

Sophomore setter Katie Brand had a career-high 62 assists to go along with 12 digs, which allowed for her sixth straight double-double and eighth total on the year.

Sophomore outside hitter Brooke Sassin had 17 kills, which was one short of her career best, and 11 digs for her first career double-double.

Later that evening, K-State took on the host Wolverines and its defense reigned supreme in its four-set victory (19-25, 25-17, 25-13, 25-10).

Head coach Suzie Fritz’s team tallied 23.5 blocks, which was the most in school history for a four-set match.

Brand broke through as the first K-State player since Caitlyn Donahue in 2011 to register a triple-double. She had 42 assists, 10 digs to go along with a career high 11 blocks.

“After set one, we were able to get our serving going, which kept (Michigan’s) quick hitters from being as involved in the match and allowed us to be better defensively,” Fritz said following the evening match. “We did a tremendous job getting our hands on a lot of balls, both at the net and in the back row as well. (The coaching staff is) very proud of the team and how hard they played today.”

K-State finished off its stint in Ann Arbor with a four-set win (18-25, 27-25, 25-17, 25-17) against Youngstown State.

Senior outside hitter Chelsea Keating contributed one of her best efforts in the fifth-year-senior’s career putting up career-highs in both kills and blocks (13 kills and eight blocks.) She added 13 digs to her performance, which gave her second double-double of her career.

K-State has the week off to rest and regroup before opening Big 12 play against Baylor at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Ahearn Field House.

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