Volleyball escapes Loyola Chicago in five-set match

Middle blocker Kayley Hollywood taps the ball over the net during the March 14, 2021 volleyball game against Saint Louis University. (Archive photo by Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State pulled out a 3-2 set win Friday night in a nail-biter against Loyola Chicago during the K-State Invitational at Bramlage Coliseum.

Loyola player Sara Murczek had an ace to put the Wildcats 2-2 early on, but the first set remained very close after that. K-State managed to pull ahead around the 16-point mark, with Holly Bonde tallying 3 kills to help the team keep the lead.

“I like the way Holly Bonde is playing a lot. I’m excited about her improvement and her maturity and her swing production,” head coach Suzie Fritz said to K-State Athletics.

The second set seemed to go the same way as K-State pulled ahead around the 17-point mark. Kills by Bonde, Haley Warner, Kadye Fernholz and Aliyah Carter kept the momentum going, scoring for the Wildcats to secure the second set.

Loyola won the third set 25-21 despite a close match-up lasting until the end of the set.

“There’s a difference between trying to win and trying not to lose,” Fritz said. “I felt like we went out in the fifth and tried to win. That part of it felt really good and I was proud of them for that.”

In the fifth set, K-State got scrappy and pulled ahead early around the four-point mark. Loyola could not recover, falling to the Wildcats 15-8. Kills by Warner, Carter, Fernholz and Bonde once again helped secure the lead.

According to Fernholz, these early five-set games are important for morale as the season continues.

“I think it is important that we finish a five-setter because as we get into our conference play, those teams are really tough, and there are a lot of five-set matches. We need to know how to finish when we need to,” Fernholz said to K-State Athletics.

K-State’s win marks the second win of three games in the K-State Invitational. The Wildcats finished the tournament with a win over Fresno State, going 3-0 in the invitational. Their next match is set for Sept. 14 with a trip to Missouri.