MANHATTAN, Kan. – For the third consecutive match, the Kansas State volleyball team swept their opponent with Saturday’s victory being a 3-0 (25-11, 25-20, 25-15) decision over Siena in Ahearn Field House. The win gave the Wildcats the K-State Invitational title, which is the second straight season that Kansas State has won the home tournament. K-State improves to 6-0 on the season.
“I think the team feels good about the course they are on,” said head coach Suzie Fritz. “It’s about more than wins, though. It is about improvement and playing well [before Big 12 play].“
Redshirt freshman setter Katie Brand was named tournament MVP while seniors Dakota Kaufman and Kaitlynn Pelger were selected to the all-tournament team. The MVP award is Brand’s first tournament honor of her career.
“I would say that a huge part of my success at my first home tournament was everyone who was playing behind me,” said Brand. “I had huge support from my coaches and especially my teammates, and the crowd was amazing. They provide a lot of energy, and I think we were just so pumped to play here that we really put it together.”
Brand and her 27 assists, three service aces and two kills helped charge the K-State offense. Pelger and Traxson led the team with eight kills each, and Kaufman, after turning in a pair of 11-kill performances on Friday, had five kills over two sets played. Lilla Porubek had seven kills.
“One of our goals this weekend was to play the best that we can and if we got them in three, then so be it,” said Kaufman. “We just wanted to play very consistent throughout the tournament.”
The first set win for K-State was the most convincing of the young season as the Wildcats finished with a 14-point advantage. Kansas State limited the Saints to a -.108 hitting percentage in the first set as Siena made 12 attacking errors. The Wildcats had three team blocks, with Taylor Johnson being a part of all three.
K-State trailed 11-7 in the second set, but a kill by Porubek ignited a 9-1 K-State run. Traxson had two kills over the course of the run while Gina Madonia provided a service ace over her seven straight serves. Porubek had four kills in the second set.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 7-0 lead to start the final set as Brand had two service aces during the run. Siena called a timeout to contain the damage, but led by Traxson and Kaufman’s four kills in the third set, K-State closed out the match without allowing the Saints to close the gap any closer than three points.
Kansas State will complete its stretch of four straight home matches when it takes on Tulsa on Tuesday, September 10 at 6 pm in Ahearn Field House.
K-State Invitational All-Tournament Team
Dakota Kaufman (Kansas State)
Kaitlynn Pelger (Kansas State)
Colleen Yarber (SEMO)
Emily Coon (SEMO)
Jessica Whitehead (Southern Illinois)
Rachel Stoklosa (Siena)
MVP: Katie Brand (Kansas State)