CORAL GABLES, Fla. – For the second time on Saturday, K-State came back to force a match to five sets, but in the evening tilt against tournament host Miami, the Wildcats allowed five straight points to end the fifth set and suffered a 3-2 loss (25-21, 22-25, 25-20, 20-25, 15-10) at the James L. Knight Sports Complex to end the Hurricane Invitational.
The defeat for K-State (2-1) snapped its 12-match winning streak in true road non-conference matches, a stretch that dated back to 2011. Saturday also marked the Wildcats’ first five-set loss in any non-conference match since September 12, 2010 (at No. 16 Kentucky).
K-State out-killed Miami (3-0), 71-65, in the match as four Wildcats reached double-figures in kills, led by juniors Brooke Sassin and Katie Reininger with 17 apiece. Reininger, who also had a team-best six blocks, used her .556 hitting percentage to match her career-high in kills while Sassin recorded her second straight double-double as she also had 10 digs.
Sophomore Bryna Vogel notched a double-double as well, her second of the day, as the outside hitter had a career-high 16 kills and 14 digs.
Freshman Alyssa Schultejans had a career-high 11 kills on her 33 attempts. The outside hitter had 10 over three sets earlier in the day against Illinois State.
Redshirt junior Katie Brand added her 33rd career double-double with 53 assists and 10 digs. The setter guided the K-State offense to a .280 hitting percentage, including a .412 clip in the second and .361 in the fourth – both Wildcat wins.
The K-State defense was able to slow down the Miami offense after a .379 clip in the first, but in the match-deciding fifth, the Hurricanes turned in a .421 hitting percentage while the Wildcats hit .190.
K-State led as late as 7-6 in the fifth and managed to tie it at 10-10 on a Miami attack error, but the Hurricanes used a 5-0 burst to close out the match. Kelsie Groot, who had a match-high 19 kills, turned in three over the run while one of the Hurricanes’ 12.5 blocks ended the contest for match point.
The Wildcats were able to even the match after dropping the first and third sets with an overwhelming offense. In the second, despite 10 ties and five lead changes, K-State had 19 kills to Miami’s 10 to knot it up at 1-1. With the score tied at 19-19, a tandem of Sassin and Vogel allowed the Wildcats to pull away and score six of the final nine points. Sassin had three of her six kills in the set over the final six K-State points while Vogel chipped in two of her four second set kills.
After dropping a third set in which it trailed as much as eight points but closed it to four at 22-18, K-State came out in the fourth and separated itself from Miami when it was 10-9 Hurricanes. A Makenzie Holcomb kill triggered an 8-1 burst for the Wildcats, forcing Miami to burn both of its timeouts in an attempt to stop the Wildcat momentum. Three consecutive kills by Sassin, who had five total in the fourth, opened up a 17-11 lead for K-State – an advantage that was only narrowed to as close as three at 19-16.
Despite the loss, K-State managed to come out of its opening weekend with a winning record for the fourth consecutive season.
K-State now returns home for the Varney’s Invitational in Bramlage Coliseum September 4-5. The Wildcats open up their home slate with a noon match against Green Bay on September 4 before hosting Cal at 7:30 p.m. later that evening.
Saturday’s matchup was the first ever meeting between K-State and Miami.
Kersten Kober had a match-high 16 digs against Miami, giving her 54 in the weekend’s three matches (4.15 digs/set).
Over the entire tournament, Sassin led all Wildcats with 47 kills while hitting .290 and recording 32 digs. Vogel, meanwhile, had 36 kills and 41 digs.
As a team, K-State hit .284 over the three matches while holding opponents to a .217 clip. Katie Reininger paced the team with a .435 hitting percentage (35 kills, 5 errors, 69 attempts).