Kansas State volleyball showed hopes of defeating Big 12 newcomer Cincinnati in their first faceoff but lost because of many errors.
The Wildcats had a shaky start to start the first set. The Bearcats scored five points before a block by middle blocker Sydney Bolding broke the streak. The Wildcats trailed for most of the set, but two strong kills from outside hitter Aliyah Carter kept the Wildcats afloat, along with plays from outside hitter Shaylee Myers and libero Mackenzie Morris.
A kill from Bolding tied the game 11-11. From then on, the Wildcats held a tight rein on the Bearcats, but eventually, Cincinnati broke away with a consequence of Wildcat errors. A service error from outside hitter Liz Gregorski gave the Bearcats a win in the first set with a score of 25-21. Head coach Jason Mansfield said the team has had a trend to start matches.
“It’s difficult when you are going down 0-1 a lot — which we’ve done this last month — but I’m proud of how we battled,” Mansfield said.
The second set favored the Wildcats as the team picked up speed very early with big kills from Bolding and Carter. The Wildcats played a strategic second set, attacking the gaps in the Bearcats’ defense. A wide open kill from middle blocker Kadye Fernholz highlighted the set, directly followed by a kill from setter Izzi Szulczewski to bring the score to 23-15 Wildcats. Another kill from Szulczewski concluded the set 25-18.
The third set featured back-and-forth play in the beginning including highlight-worthy plays from Fernholz and Carter. However, towards the middle of the set, the Bearcats pulled away from the Wildcats with a five-point streak. Despite a run-breaking block from middle blocker Brenna Schmidt, K-State failed to come back from its nine point deficit. A kill error from the Wildcats gave the Bearcats the set with a score of 25-16.
The Wildcats’ game was on the line heading into the fourth set. Szulczewski had a tough hustle play at the start of the set with a dig that tied the set 1-1. The Wildcats still experienced many point droughts throughout this set. Schmidt broke one of them with a block that set the score at 7-3 Bearcats. Back-to-back to back kills from Myers, outside hitter Aniya Clinton and Gregorski broke another Bearcat lead, shifting the score to 21-17 Bearcats. Unfortunately for K-State, a service error from Carter ended the match, leaving Cincinnati victorious with a score of 25-19.
The match places K-State at an 8-5 record. The Wildcats hit the road to play in Waco, Texas, against Baylor University at 7 p.m. Thursday.