Wildcats open conference play with win over Cyclones

Senior outside hitter Brooke Sassin hits the ball during the K-State volleyball match against Iowa State in Ahearn Field House on Sept. 21, 2016. (Nathan Jones | The Collegian)

After losing the first set, the No. 23 Kansas State volleyball team rallied to win the next three and win the Big 12 opener against Iowa State in four sets inside Ahearn Field House on Wednesday night.

The Wildcats are now winners of their last ten matches and are 12-2 on the season and 1-0 in conference play.

“I thought we played spontaneously and that we fought for points,” head coach Suzie Fritz said after the match. “We played kind of scrappy and that we didn’t play real clean, but once we got settled in, our passing got a lot better.”

The first set was very even as K-State only held a four-point lead twice in the game before the Cyclones ran away with the final four points to take the set 25-21.

The Wildcats responded and took an 8-4 lead in the second set. K-State really dominated the second and third sets, winning both of them 25-17.

K-State held a 13-7 lead in the fourth set and didn’t look back, winning the set 25-15 to take the match.

“The bottom line is we found a way to win, but it wasn’t easy,” Fritz said.

The Wildcats had five service aces in the match, four of those came from senior outside hitter Brooke Sassin, which is a new career high for her.

Senior middle blocker Katie Reininger sparked the offense in the second and third set as she had 14 kills and seven blocks in the winning effort.

“She was really good for us tonight,” Fritz said. “The rhythm between her and Katie Brand has really improved through the last few weeks, and I thought she was smart. She saw what was in front of her and managed a very big front left block as well.”

K-State finished with 55 kills and held the Iowa State hitters to an attack percentage of .134 on the night.

Junior opposite hitter Bryna Vogel continued to stay red hot as she had 13 kills. Sassin finished with 10.

Senior setter Katie Brand was solid with 42 assists. She leads the Big 12 in assists as of Monday.

The Wildcats will now have a few days off before facing Baylor in Waco, Texas, on Sunday at 2 p.m. This will be the Big 12 opener for the Bears.