Volleyball hits stride with eighth-straight win

K-State volleyball players celebrate during match against Ohio on Sept. 9, 2021. The Wildcats beat the Bobcats 3-0. (Archive photo by Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State volleyball faced Omaha on Sept. 18, a day after taking down Weber State. While the game against Omaha was non-conference, it proved important nonetheless.

K-State had a season-high 15 blocks in the match, leading the Wildcats to a four-set victory against the Mavericks in the Omaha Challenge at Baxter Arena. The scores of these matches would end up finishing 25-11, 25-21, 22-25 and 25-19.

Redshirt junior Kayley Hollywood was responsible for 10 of these 15 blocks, helping the Wildcats (9-2) hold the Mavericks (3-7) to a .087 hitting average. Sophomore outside hitter Aliyah Carter had her sixth double-double of the year with a 15-kill, 13-dig game. K-State closes its non-conference schedule with an eight-game win streak.

Three team members received special honors after the tournament, with Carter voted MVP and junior setter Teana Adams-Kaonohi and sophomore defensive specialist Mackenzie Morris joining her on the all-tournament team.

“I thought that was Kayley Hollywood’s best match in terms of her play at the net,” head coach Suzie Fritz said to K-State Sports. “There are productive touches (at the net) and then there are stuffs, and she did both and did a really good job at controlling the net. One of our priorities was to be on task in defending [the] left-side attack. I thought that was a bright spot in combination with our serving being pretty disruptive this weekend.”

Hollywood is the first Wildcat to achieve double-digit blocks. As a team, K-State has had seven matches with ten or more blocks, with senior opposite Haley Warner and Adams-Kaonohi chipping in 11 blocks between the two.

Junior defensive specialist Loren Hinkle has managed an ace in six straight matches, five of these with multiple aces. This efficiency followed the team into the first set with a .406 attacking efficiency, while Omaha had a negative percentage in this category.

K-State won the second set with a match low of .081 percentage. This temporarily tipped the momentum in Omaha’s direction, carrying them to a victory in the third set. However, the Wildcats ultimately won the fourth set with a .324 efficiency, sealing the match victory.

K-State opens Big 12 play at home against the 12th-ranked Baylor Bears. The two-game series starts at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25, and 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26.

Broadcast coverage will be provided by the Big 12 Network on ESPN+, ESPNU and radio coverage from News Radio KMAN.