MANHATTAN, Kan. The No. 25 Kansas State volleyball team came back three times on Friday night to defeat Wichita State in the Varney’s Kansas State Invitational, 3-0 (30-21, 30-28, 32-30).
The Wildcats were able to make their strong comeback efforts due in part to a season-high nine service aces and a .264 hitting percentage. Leading the charge in aces was sophomore Jenny Jantsch with a career-high tying four. The Kansas City, Mo., native has 10 services in five matches this season.
K-State (4-1) was led by strong play from its middle blockers, as sophomore Megan Kroeker and redshirt freshman Tiffany Johnson combined for 24 kills and six blocks. Kroeker tied for match-high honors with a personal season-high 14 kills on a .355 hitting percentage. Johnson added 10 kills with a team-high .474 hitting percentage.
Wichita State (4-1) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead on the Wildcats to open game one, forcing K-State head coach Suzie Fritz to burn a timeout. Kansas State battled back using an 8-4 run to take its first lead of the frame at 12-11 on a Jenny Jantsch kill.
The Wildcats closed out the Shockers in game one with a 11-3 run after Wichita State closed to within one at 19-18. During the run, redshirt freshman Ginta Gabruseva carded four straight points on three kills and a service ace to aid the Wildcats to a 30-21 win. K-State put together a game one hitting percentage of .366 with 20 kills.
The Shockers held the early and late advantage in game two, but could not hold off a late charge by the K-State offense. The Wildcats trailed 25-22, but battled back with an 8-3 run capped by a Werner kill and an attack error by the Shockers to enter intermission on the back of a 30-28 win.
In the final game, Wichita State held the early advantage by as many as three at 15-12. K-State again powered back into the match with a 6-3 run to force a Shocker timeout. The teams traded points until Wichita State took a 28-26 lead forcing a Kansas State timeout. The Wildcats used a 5-2 run following the timeout to close out the victory with a Werner service ace, 32-30.
The Shockers were led by Sara Lungren with 14 kills and Lindsey Eckenrode with 11. The Shockers carded more digs than the Wildcats, 57-48, led by Melissa Granville with a match-high 20.
Kansas State will conclude play in the Varney’s Kansas State Invitational on Saturday at 1 p.m. K-State faces Montana State in Ahearn Field House.