Kansas State volleyball goes 2-1 in Loyola-Chicago’s Rambler Challenge

K-State volleyball team members get into their defensive formation to prepare for the serve from Baylor. The Cats played the Baylor Bears on September 26, 2021 at Bramlage Colliseum. (Archive photo by Madison Riebel | Collegian Media Group)

This past weekend, K-State volleyball took a trip to the windy city of Chicago to take on the Rambler Challenge, hosted by Loyola-Chicago.

To start the weekend, the Wildcats took on Rutgers in a quick three-set match where the Wildcats showed just how dominant they can be.

In set one, both teams came out making plays early. With the Wildcats down 0-3 early in the set, they quickly overcame their sluggish start and held their ground against the Scarlet Knights with no team getting ahead by more than three. Throughout the set, the Wildcats finally found their footing and took the lead to eventually win the set 28-26.

Coming off the close first-set victory, the Wildcats took an early 14-10 lead and held onto the lead for the entire set. Once again, neither team was able to completely break away from the other, and the Wildcats went on a run to take the set for themselves 25-19. With six being the largest lead of the set, both teams held another close set.

The third set fared similarly to the others with both teams going back and forth with five total lead changes. Although the Wildcats led the Scarlet Knights most of the set, Rutgers didn’t back down. They fought back and took the lead near the end of the set, all before the Wildcats ultimately won 25-22.

During the match, some new faces placed themselves as the stat leaders. In kills, Aliyah Carter led the Wildcats with 13, while Shaylee Myers and Kadye Fernholz supported with 10 and seven, respectively. Only two players recorded assists for the Wildcats: Loren Hinkle (35) and Mackenzie Morris (3).

The second match of the weekend came against the Loyola-Chicago Wolves, handing the Wildcats their second loss of the season.

The Wildcats showed promise during the first set with both teams neck and neck throughout. Falling behind 24-19, one point away from losing the set, K-State held their ground, proceeding to score seven straight points and take a 1-0 lead.

The Wolves came out firing on all cylinders after losing the first set, taking an early 5-0 lead before the Wildcats scored their first point of the set. The Wolves then scored four straight points before the Wildcats could catch a break and score again, on a kill by Haley Warner. The Wolves continued to outscore the Wildcats, ending in the Wolves taking the set 25-9. 

With the match tied 1-1, the third set provided a big opportunity for each team, both keeping the set close until the end. At 23-23, the Wolves willed themselves on a three-point run, the run needed for them to take the set.

Heading into set down 2-1, the Wildcats couldn’t find the offensive production they needed. The Wildcats fell behind quickly and trailed the entire set. The Wolves took the set 25-15, and therefore the match. The loss marked the Wildcats’ second of the season.

In the match, K-State was led in kills by Sydney Bolding with 11, Aliyah Carter with nine and Elena Baka with seven. Assist-wise, Loren Hinkle led the Wildcats with 22, Ava Legrand with seven and Mackenzie Morris with three.

The last match of the weekend came against St. Thomas where the Wildcats bounced back and controlled the match.

In the first set, the Wildcats flew around on the floor, showcasing their style of play this season. The Wildcats scored six straight in the set to take a 20-8 lead and finish the set 25-12.

K-State was equally as dominant in the second set as they were in the first. They went on an 11-3 run to close out the set, with the final score of the set 25-15.

Once again, the Wildcats continued to flash their potential the entire match. After a very solid first two sets, the Wildcats were able to put the Tommies away, beating them 25-16 in the third set and taking the match 3-0.

During the match, the Wildcats were led by Elena Baka and Shaylee Myers in kills, each with 11, followed by Kadye Fernholz with six. In assists, Ava Legrand led the team with 31, followed by Mackenzie Morris with three and Molly Ramsey with one.

K-State faced UMKC on Wednesday, Sept. 14 in Kansas City, Missouri, and swept the Roos 3-0. The Wildcats travel to Houston on Friday, Sept. 16 to wrap up their non-conference schedule in the Rice Adidas Invitational against the Rice Owls (8-1) and the 17-ranked Creighton Bluejays (7-2).