Wildcat volleyball sweeps K-State Invitational to start season

The Wildcats celebrate a point in their 3-1 win against NC State on Aug. 26, 2022 at Bramlage Coliseum. (Cooper Deters | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State volleyball hosted its annual K-State Invitational with three other teams: Sam Houston, North Carolina State and Florida A&M.

Kicking off K-State’s first match of the season, the Wildcats competed against Sam Houston State where they came out swinging with 10 of the set’s first 12 points. The early run lifted K-State to a 25-14 victory in the first set against the Texas school.

The second set was more competitive, with Sam Houston starting with a 6-1 run before K-State head coach Suzie Fritz called her first timeout. After the break, the Wildcats fought back to take their first lead of the set after a kill by senior Elena Baka. 

K-State and the Bearkats were neck and neck until a block by juniors Kadye Fernholz and Aliyah Carter gave the Wildcats the second-set win.

Then, K-State won the final set 25-14 to win its first match of the 2022 campaign. Aliyah Carter led the team with 13 points, followed by Baka with 12 while senior Loren Hinke tallied 31 assists.

In the Wildcats’ second match of the day, they faced an ACC opponent, the NC State Wolfpack, in a heated matchup.

The first set started off slow for the Wildcats with NC State jumping out to an early lead, leading 8-5 before the Wildcats regained the lead later in the set by six points, leading 17-11.  

The Wolfpack retaliated with an 11-point run and led the Wildcats 22-21. The teams continued  trading leads until the Wolfpack triumphed victoriously 27-25 to complete the first set.

Following the first set, it was all K-State. They took the second set 25-14 after a good showing from both Baka and senior Sydney Bolding, scoring 13 of the team’s 25 points.

In set three, K-State stuck to their hot streak and made this set one of their best defensively, totaling 16 digs and four blocks. Three players had aces in this set: Haley Warner with two and Loren Hinkle and Mackenzie Morris with one each. K-State dominated the set and won 25-17, taking the match lead up to 2-1

In the last set of the match, the Wildcats continued their control over the match, totaling 15 digs, three blocks, two aces and 15 kills. K-State scored 20 of its 25 points in the third set of offensive attacks. They took the set 25-18, and therefore the match 3-1.

The third matchup for the Wildcats was against the Florida A&M Rattlers, where they won three consecutive sets in convincing fashion.

In the first set, the Wildcats tallied 12 kills on 11 assists while serving four aces. Middle blockers Fernholz and Bolding led the team in points with three each, winning K-State the set 25-14.

In the second set, the Rattlers had their worst game yet, losing 25-13 after a powerful set from freshman Shaylee Myers. Myers led the Wildcats in points, with six kills and an ace for seven total points. 

The third and final set was the closest set of the match with another powerful match from Myers. Myers took complete control of the match with 11 kills, an ace and two digs. The Wildcats willed their way to another win, sweeping the match 3-0 with a 25-16 third set score.

K-State heads into the UCF Challenge in Orlando this week after starting the season 3-0 where they will face Syracuse (2-1), North Florida (1-2) and Central Florida (0-0), the host.