Volleyball leaves opening weekend showdown undefeated

In the air, then-freshman outside hitter Shaylee Myers spikes the ball over the net in the match against Iowa State in the match on Oct. 2, 2022. (Archive photo by Macey Franko | Collegian Media Group)

The Wildcats early road showdown in Portland, Oregon, left the team with an undefeated 3-0 record. After taking down Portland State 3-1, Kansas State defeated San Diego State and then Cal State Fullerton each 3-0.

The Aztecs and Wildcats faced off on Aug. 26, with each team coming off of a victory. K-State kept momentum from Friday night’s match, taking the first two sets quickly with scores of 25-14 and 25-13. 

Down 2-0, San Diego State turned its game around in the third set. The match featured 14 tied scores as well as a 7-3 run by the Aztecs to tie the set at 23-all. The set stood tied at 25-all when middle hitter Sydney Bolding took over. Bolding scored her fifth kill of the match and then recorded a block assist with outside hitter Shaylee Myers to end the set and match. 

“Just so much more like what we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks, especially on the offensive side,” head coach Jason Mansfield said after the game. “You know, just individuals attacking the way we want to, Izzi running a great offense, and we’re a pretty tough offensive stop. We control the ball and attack with that aggression and range. So I think that was the thing that stood out the most compared to last night, is that we were really struggling at times offensively, but really proud of our offense today.”

Outside hitters Aliyah Carter (14) and Aniya Clinton (10) each recorded double digit kills in the match. Setter Izzi Szulczewski recorded 38 more assists on top of her 41 on Friday as libero Mackenzie Morris recorded a match-high 14 digs. 

Sunday’s first set ran on a very similar theme as Saturday’s. K-State quickly took the first set 25-7. With Carter serving, the Wildcats took a 7-0 lead that featured a Carter ace and two team kills. The set featured Szulczewski assisting outside hitter Liz Gregorski on three of her match-high 12 kills to go up 1-0.

Cal State Fullerton gained some momentum in the second set. Despite going up by five twice, the Titans were unable to take the set. With four kills from Bolding and Clinton each as well as three from Myers, the Wildcats took the lead near the back of the set that was ended with another Szulczewski/Gregorski connection.

The Wildcats again found itself down early in the set and again took the lead back. A 7-0 run sprung the lead, starting and ending with the Szulczewski/Gregorski connection. K-State eventually won the set as match-high assister Szulczewski (24) scored an unassisted kill to win the set 25-13.

K-State’s early season showdown allowed for many different Wildcats to contribute in different matches. Now the team awaits its home opener at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 1 against Omaha in the debut of Morgan Family Arena.