Ad Astra Brands

Cats Rally to 900th Program Win in Five-Set Thriller

SHARE NOW

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KStateSports.com) – Fueled by 18 kills by Aliyah Carter and 17 more from Aniya Clinton, K-State rallied to defeat TCU in five sets to grab the first Big 12 victory in the Mansfield era and program’s 900th win Friday night, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-27, 15-13, at Morgan Family Arena.

After dropping the Big 12 opener Thursday, K-State (7-4, 1-1 Big 12) bounced back to level the season series with TCU (8-5, 1-1 Big 12).

“Last night’s match was just not us,” said first-year head coach Jason Mansfield.  “We made a lot of mistakes, but I’m truly proud of the team today for coming back, putting in the work, and believing that we can do better.”

“We had a solid game plan last night; however, we didn’t execute on our side of the net. I’m proud of our resilience, even though we let the first set slip away. In the fifth set, we were down 13-10, but we fought through it. I feel genuinely proud of them,” said Mansfield.

The ninth head coach of Wildcat Volleyball picked up his first conference victory as a head coach as he led K-State to the program’s 900th victory.

“It feels great. This is what we’ve needed this season – playing a quality opponent, battling, and finding a way to win. It feels like we’ve lifted a weight off our shoulders. We defeated a strong team, and it shows that we can play great without needing to be perfect. It’s all about competing in every play.”

K-State produced a higher efficiency in three of the five sets and held a .175-.152 edge in the category by the end of the night.

Carter tallied a season-best 18 kills against the Horned Frogs while Clinton’s 17 kills were a career-best output, as she had just five errors in hitting .300. The redshirt freshman added five blocks assists and four digs while Carter had nine.

Setters Izzi Szulczewski and Loren Hinkle turned in double-double performances for the 6-2 offense. Szulczewski dished out a match-high 32 assists with Hinkle adding 20 as the duo each tallied 12 digs.

“Izzi and Loren are both outstanding setters. They contribute significantly to our team, and we’re blessed to have two incredible athletes in the setting position. I thought both of them battled and ran a solid offense, putting our attackers in great positions tonight.”

Mackenzie Morris collected a match-high and season-best 30 digs as the senior libero recorded her second career match with 30 or more digs.

TCU out-blocked K-State 20.0-12.0 led by 10 from Sarah Sylvester who registered three solo and seven block assists. The Frogs 20 blocks is the most by any Big 12 member this season.

SET-BY-SET

Set One – TCU 25, K-State 23
The opening set saw 14 tie scores before K-State broke away with a five-point lead behind five straight serves from Liz Gregorski. Down 22-17, TCU put together a 8-1 closing run to come back to take the set.

The Wildcats hit .106 against the Frogs’ .162 in the first with Carter and Clinton combining for nine of the team’s 14 kills.

Set Two – K-State 25, TCU 22
K-State clawed its way back from a 7-2 deficit to even the score at 10-10 with the help of a 6-1 scoring run. The Wildcats trailed by as much as five until a kill by Shaylee Myers from Szulczewski ignited a  6-2 scoring run to tie the set 22-22.

An attack error put the Wildcats on top before Carter’s kill forced TCU to take the timeout at set-point. Clinton and Schmidt teamed up for the assisted block to secure the second set win, snapping a seven-set losing streak.

The Wildcats generate a .182 attack efficiency with five Wildcats producing kills for the 6-2 offense led by Myers with three.

Set Three – K-State 25, TCU 19
With the score tied at 5-all, K-State pieced together a 10-3 run to grasp a seven-point lead, 15-8, its largest of the night. TCU posted four straight points to bring the set withing three, 18-15, but back-to-back service aces by Gregorski handed the Wildcats the 2-1 match lead.

K-State tallied 15 kills with a .231 hit efficiency with four kills by Carter and Myers while Hinkle and Szulczewski each dished out six assists. The Cats limited TCU to eight kills while forcing six errors for a .061 hitting efficiency.

Set Four – TCU 27, K-State 25
Set 4 saw 12 tie scores as the Horned Frogs produced a match-high .263 attack percentage with 18 kills to the Wildcats 11 to force the fifth set. Audrey Nalls and Melanie Parra each added six kills with Parra hitting .333.

Set Five – K-State 15, TCU 13
TCU led 9-6 following a three-point run until the Wildcats fought their way to two-point deficit with the help of Clinton’s 17th kill. A service ace by Morris tied the decisive set 13-13 before back-to-back kills by Carter and Bolding ended the match.

INSIDE THE BOX

K-State won in five sets Friday night, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-27, 15-13

Cats hit .175 (62 kills, 29 errors) against the Frogs .152 (57 kills, 30 errors)

The Wildcats matched a season-high 11 service aces

Carter totaled a season-high 18 kills while Clinton added a career-best 17

TCU out-blocked the Wildcats, 20.0-12.0

Parra produced a match-high 22 kills

Szulczewski led the match with 32 assists

Schmidt had five a team-best six blocks for the Wildcats

BEYOND THE BOX

K-State picked up its 900th program win

The Wildcats move to 3-3 to start the home schedule, 7-4 overall

First Big 12 Conference victory under head coach Jason Mansfield

Wildcats lead the all-time series 14-10 against the Horned Frogs

The Cats are 1-1 in five set matches this season

WHAT’S NEXT

The Wildcats head to Morgantown, W.Va. for the first road conference match of the season as they face West Virginia (6-8, 0-2 Big 12), on Wednesday, Sept. 27. First serve is slated for 5 p.m. CT/6 p.m. ET at WVU Coliseum and will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

https://www.81speedway.com/