K-State looks to repeat as champions in Varney’s invitational

Katie Reininger, junior middle blocker, and other members of the K-State volleyball team speak during the Week of Welcome pep rally at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Aug. 23, 2015. (File Photo by George Walker | The Collegian)

After a decent showing in Coral Gables, Florida at the Hurricane Invitational, K-State looks to continue their reign in their home away from home at the Varney’s Invitational this weekend.

K-State returned from Florida with a 2-1 record after getting wins over Florida A&M and Illinois State before falling to the University of Miami in five sets.

“We had some really good team chemistry,” outside hitter Bryna Vogel said. “The whole time, everyone was comfortable and flowed as one unit.”

Vogel had 13 kills and 23 digs against Illinois State and produced another double-double game with a 16 kill and 14 dig performance against Miami. Brooke Sassin came out of the Hurricane Invitational having double-digit kills in all three matches, leading the Wildcats with 47 and averaging 3.62 kills per set.

Junior setter Katie Brand had two double-double games in Florida, including a 56 assists and 24 digs performance against Illinois State.

Freshman outside hitter Alyssa Schultejans stepped up in the Wildcat’s time of need when Kylee Zumach went out with a knee injury against Illinois State and is questionable to play this weekend. Schultejans produced 10 kills against Illinois State and 11 kills against the University of Miami.

“Alyssa did great,” middle blocker Katie Reininger said. “She had some great big swings and some nice blocks. Having her fill those big shoes, she did a really good job.”

K-State heads into their home tournament with an undefeated record at Bramalage Colliseum with a record of 7-0. The Wildcats hold a .730 winning percentage at home under head coach Suzie Fritz.

“Our fans are great,” libero Kersten Kober said. “It brings a lot of energy to what we are doing. It is so much fun to play in front of that.”

The Wildcats open up the tournament with a match against Wisconsin-Green Bay on Friday, with first serve beginning at noon. K-State will then come back later that evening in a matchup with Cal, first serve beginning at 7:30 Friday night.

A matchup against the University of Nevada Las Vegas wraps up the tournament on Saturday with first serve beginning at 1:30. Free admission is being offered for Wildcat fans on Saturday at Bramlage Colliseum.

Wisconsin-Green Bay

The Phoenixes come into Manhattan looking for redemption after a 0-3 defeat against the Wildcats last season at Green Bay. After starting the 2015 season with two wins against Portland and Toledo, Wisconsin-Green Bay were pummeled by Bradley 0-3 in the final game of the Rocket Invitational in Toledo, Ohio.

Middle blocker Megan Powers leads the Phoenix with 31 kills off of 82 total attacks. Libero Jilian Bauer comes into the Varney’s Invitational with 61 digs and seven service aces while setter Emily Riese produced 108 assists in the first three games, averageing 9.82 assists per set.

Wisconsin-Green Bay has not shown spectacular efficiency at the start of the season. Their attacking percentage is only .133 and have produced 79 errors already, with their oppenents only having 56.

While the Phoenixes average 11.5 assists and 12.3 kills per set, Wisconsin-Green Bay will need to be more productive on both sides of the ball if they are going to get revenge on the Wildcats from last year’s sweep.


While the Pac 12 conference has produced some powerhouses in college volleyball, Cal is not one of them. The Golden Bears had a record of 10-20 in 2014, but are starting off their season at 2-1 with wins over Nevada and Eastern Washington in their home tournament.

The Golden Bears look to come out on top aftering being swept by Seattle University 0-3 in the final match of the Molten Classic.

Six foot five inch middle blocker Lara Vukasovic produced 25 kills and an attacking percentage of .444. Vukasovic also had 14 blocks in the Golden Bears three games last week.

Jenelle Jordan added in 23 kills with an attacking percentage of over .500. Jordan also helped the Golden Bears efficiency, only having one error in all three games of the Molten Classic.

Cal only has an attacking percentage of .155 so far in the season and will need to improve their offensive effiency if they are to come out victorious against K-State.

Nevada-Las Vegas

The Running Rebels come into the Little Apple undefeated, winning against Central Arkansas, Omaha and Seton Hall to claim the UNLV invitational title in Las Vegas.

UNLV may only have the size of 6-foot-2-inch blockers, but the Running Rebels are aggressive defensively, producing 14.5 blocks against Seton Hall.

Ashley Owens had nine of those blocks and added six kills with an attacking percentage of .333. Alexis Patterson added in 29 assists and eight digs against Omaha while producing an attacking percentage of .500

UNLV missed the NCAA tournament last season even though they had a resume that included 26 wins. Saturday’s match-up against the Wildcats will provide a potential NCAA tournament resume’ builder or both teams.