Volleyball team hopes to carry tournament momentum back to Ahearn

Junior outside hitter Kylee Zumach prepares to hit the ball during the volleyball game against Arkansas in Ahearn Field House on Aug. 31, 2017. (File photo by Nathan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State volleyball team will host University of Missouri-Kansas City tonight at 6 p.m. in Ahearn Fieldhouse after finishing second in the Georgia Tech Invitational.

Coming off a rough 0-3 outing hosting the K-State Invitational, the Wildcats very much needed to show up during their trip to Atlanta. They did just that, after going 2-1 through the two days of the Georgia Tech Invitational.

In their first match on Thursday, K-State squared up against the North Florida Ospreys and took the match after four sets. The following day brought a battle with Xavier University, and in the first of two matches that day the Wildcats swept the Musketeers to face Georgia Tech in the finals.

The Georgia Tech match was one of the toughest K-State has played in all year; as in consecutive seasons the two teams played to five sets. Last year K-State won in Ahearn Fieldhouse, but home court advantage ran true again and they fell to the Yellow Jackets in O’Keefe Gymnasium.

Despite recovering from a five-point deficit and defending match point twice, the Wildcats dropped the fifth and final set 14-16.

Many K-State players achieved season and career highs against the Yellow Jackets. Elle Sandbothe posted a career-high 11 kills, and led the team in blocks. Alyssa Schultejans registered a season-high 19 kills, one away from tying her career-high. Schultejans was also named to the all-tournament team, as was Bryna Vogel.

While coach Suzie Fritz and her Cats would have liked to come away with a first-place finish, they can likely find some solace in the record-setting performances and solid outing compared to the previous tournament.

After being away from Manhattan for 11 days, K-State returns home to face the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos on Tuesday. Both squads stand at 4-5 on the season. UMKC is also coming off a 2-1 outing in a weekend tournament. They hosted the Kangaroo Klassic, where they lost to South Dakota in five sets, swept Rutgers and closed out the tournament with a four-set victory against Northern Iowa.

In 2017, the road games thus far have had the Kangaroos going 0-2. Fortunately for them, the Wildcats have been winless at home going 0-3. Since 2010 these two have met twice, once in 2010 and again in 2016. Both times the Wildcats came out on top.

UMKC has gotten three of their four wins on sets lasting only three matches, so the Wildcats will want to stretch this match past three sets.

A weakness for K-State on the other hand comes in the form of serving errors. They’ve racked up 80 serving errors, against 59 for their opponents.

The Wildcats will take on the Kangaroos live at 6 p.m. in Ahearn Fieldhouse on Tuesday.