Volleyball sweeps Divison-II’s Wayne State on Sunday

Kansas State freshman Aliyah Carter celebrates a point during the Wildcats' volleyball match on March 20, 2021. K-State defeated Wayne State on Sunday in its home finale. (Marshall Sunner | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State volleyball team (13-7) swept Divison II team Wayne State on Sunday, 25-23, 25-23, 25-19.

The Wildcats utilized its defensive effort in the match, something head coach Suzie Fritz said she was pleased with.

“I liked our defensive effort. One of our goals going into it was feeling like we knew they were going to attack the high edges of the block,” Fritz said. “That turned out to be pretty accurate in addition to mixing in some off-speed stuff. I thought from that perspective just defensively we did a nice job of being on task.”

It was the first meeting between the two schools and the first time K-State played a division two opponent since 1992.

“That’s a good Wayne State team,” Fritz said. “We tried to caution against any complacency coming into this one.”

The first set was back and forth until the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run to go up 18-11. Wayne State responded by pulling the set to 24-23. After a Fritz timeout, freshman Aliyah Carter continued her impressive freshman campaign by finishing off the set with a kill to take the first set 25-23.

“[Carter] has always been a super reliable hitter,” senior setter Shelby Martin said. “Whenever we are out there in a pinch, she is definitely one of the ones that I rely heavily on because she is so consistent and she can always put the ball down regardless of who we are playing and she’ll always play hard regardless of what’s going on on the other side of the net.”

Set two was a lot like the first set where it was a back and forth battle — this time until the midpoint of the set where the Wildcats went on a 4-1 run to create some separation. Again, much like the first set, Wayne State fought back and cut into the lead making it 22-21, but K-State sparked another run after a Fritz timeout. K-State won the set 25-23 after a kill by junior Brynn Carlson and an attack error by Wayne State.

Martin said Wayne State wasn’t a poor team.

“I think we could have played to our level a lot more but they are a great team,” she said.

The Wildcats came from behind in the third set after Wayne State got out to a 13-9 lead. After a 6-1 run, largely sparked by Carter, K-State led 15-14 causing a timeout by Wayne State. Wayne State again proved resilience as they fought to make it 20-19, but then K-State promptly ended the game on a 5-0 run to take the set 25-19 and winning the match in a sweeping fashion.

“I did not think that offensively we were in as good a rhythm as we need to be or as we had hoped for,” Fritz said. “We need to generate more kill production.”

Carter led the Wildcats with 22 kills and freshman libero Mackenzie Morris led the team with 22 digs.

The Wildcats play at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Baylor.