Volleyball ends K-State Invitational with three straight match wins

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Redshirt freshman outside hitter, Holly Bonde spikes the ball during the volleyball game against the University of Central Arkansas in Bramlage Coliseum on Sept. 8, 2019. The Wildcats beat the Sugar Bears 3 sets to 1. (Sabrina Cline | Collegian Media Group)

To start the season, Kansas State volleyball went 1-2 in North Carolina, but returned home to Manhattan to sweep the K-State Invitational.

On Thursday night, K-State started the invitation against the Clemson Tigers. The Wildcats were down two sets to start the match, but rallied back in the third.

In the first set, Clemson only allowed K-State to score 16 points. After losing the second set 25-21, K-State won the next two sets, forcing the fifth set and winning the match. Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Brynn Carlson led the Wildcats with 16 kills. Redshirt junior middle blocker Peyton Williams had 13 kills and hit .346 in the match. Sophomore opposite hitter Gloria Mutiri added 11 kills to the team’s stats.

Clemson held the advantage in kills in the first set, 14-8, against K-State. The Tigers went on a 12-4 run before closing the gap.

K-State’s defense held Clemson to a .095 hitting efficiency in the third set. Freshman outside hitter Anna Dixon led the Wildcats hitting .308 off the bench.

The Wildcats hit .400 on 20 swings in the fourth set to even the match and recorded four service aces to tie the match.

On Friday night, K-State went up against the Omaha Mavericks and was able to win in five sets for the second straight night.

The teams split the first four sets at two wins each, but K-State claimed the fifth set 15-10.

Anna Dixon and Mutiri collected 16 and 11 kills, respectively. Anna Dixon recorded a career-high in kills and Carlson had 17 on the night. Redshirt senior setter Sarah Dixon had a double-double with 50 assists and 12 digs.

The third set saw 11 consecutive points from K-State with three aces from freshman libero Loren Hinkle.

The fourth set allowed the Mavericks to force a fifth with a 9-2 run halfway through the set. K-State was limited to a .146 hitting efficiency in the fourth set.

Carlson led the Wildcats for the fourth time in five matches, and the Wildcats recorded a season-high seven service aces. K-State leads the all-time series with Omaha, 12-6.

In the final match of the K-State Invitational on Saturday, the Wildcats played against Central Arkansas. With 17 kills from Carlson and Williams, it only took four sets for K-State to defeat Central Arkansas.

The Bears won the first set 25-23, but the Wildcats won the next three. Carlson recorded double-digit kills for the sixth time in six matches so far this season. Mutiri had 11 kills on 30 swings, while also adding three digs and two blocks on the night.

K-State was able to produce a .300 hitting percentage and recorded 63 kills to 52 by Central Arkansas. Four of the 10 blocks from the Wildcats were from Anna Dixon and redshirt sophomore middle blocker Megan Vernon.

Freshman libero Dru Kuck had 28 digs in the match, marking her second straight 20-dig performance. For the invitational, Kuck recorded 71 digs.

This was the first meeting between K-State and Central Arkansas.

Next up for K-State volleyball (4-2) will be the Missouri State University Invitational starting Sept. 12. The first match is set against Missouri State (2-5) for Thursday at 6 p.m. on ESPN+.

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