After cruising through the home portion of their non-conference schedule, K-State slipped up in its home Big 12 opener against Baylor. However, head coach Suzie Fritz and company have righted the ship with a brand new winning streak.
K-State (16-2, 3-1) picked up its first home conference win by defeating Iowa State (8-6, 1-3) in four sets (25-23, 25-12, 23-25, 25-14). It marked the third-straight win against the Cyclones in Manhattan.
K-State and Iowa State battled through set one with the teams hitting, .457 and .406, respectively. The Wildcats registered six blocks in the opening set, which served as a key difference maker.
Sophomore middle blocker Katie Reininger registered eight kills in set one alone to lead K-State in scoring.
“It just was a great game,” Reininger said. “I think our team was in rhythm and we’re working together and working hard. It was easy to get kills when your team is behind you.”
Set two was much less of an even match for Iowa State.
The Cyclones hit .000 percent from the floor and had only eight kills to go along with eight errors. Senior middle blocker Natali Jones led the way in set two with two aces in one service.
Set three displayed a more mistake-prone Wildcat team as they finished with more errors in that set than the previous two combined.
K-State found itself having to dig out of small holes throughout the third set but Iowa State’s improved hitting and blocking numbers made it difficult.
Iowa State found itself with a disappointing -.062 percentage in set four, which crippled its offense down the stretch.
Keating led K-State with a team-high five kills in the final set and finished it all off with a ace to clinch the final set and the match.
“Don’t miss it,” Keating said of her thoughts on that final serve. “And I thought I did, to be honest until it dropped. So I was relieved on that one.”
Keating ended the match with 10 kills on .400 hitting with two aces.
“(Keating) does such a good job,” Reininger said. “You can’t beat an ace at the end of a game on the end line. She had some great swings and it’s awesome to see a redshirt senior coming in and making those plays.”
Keating was one of four Wildcats to have double-digit kills, including freshman outside hitter Kylee Zumach with 10, sophomore outside hitter Brooke Sassin with 13 and Reininger with 14.
Reininger’s night was also highlighted by an impressive .522 percentage.
“It wasn’t just about power,” Fritz said of Reininger’s performance. “It was about finesse. There was a combination of both, she’d hit them hard and then she’d move it around. She was kind of keeping them guessing a little bit.”
Sophomore setter Katie Brand also registered her 12th straight double-double with 42 kills and 13 digs.
Sophomore libero Kersten Kober also had a strong defense performance with 12 digs on the night.
The Wildcats have a week off to relish their victory over the Cyclones before heading to Fort Worth, Texas to face TCU. The approach moving forward is simple for Fritz and her coaching staff.
“Rest,” Fritz said. “We’re going to get them down a little bit and try to get them healthy.”