K-State started the season strong last weekend, heading to Las Vegas and taking all three match ups, defeating Portland, Cal State Fullerton, and UNLV. Each resulted in a 3-2 victory. The VolleyCats then picked up where they left off on Friday night, sweeping both Southeast Missouri State (SEMO) and Southern Illinois 3-0 to kick off the K-State Invitational.
K-State began the afternoon against SEMO, taking matches by 25-23, 25-17, and 25-15. The Wildcats were led by two seniors, as Dakota Kaufman and Kaitlynn Pelger each had double-digit kills. Kaufman had 11 for the VolleyCats, while Pelger turned in 10 to go along with 10 digs to record her 27th career double-double (including third on the season). K-State seemed to get better as the afternoon went on, saving its best for last with a big 10-point victory in the final game while committing just four errors.
In its fifth match of the year, K-State took on Southern Illinois to conclude the night and came home with an even more impressive victory, winning the match by scores of 25-13, 25-18, and 25-17. Kaufman was stellar again (as always) with 11 kills while Lilla Porubek was her primary partner in crime. Porubek also had 11 kills, and finished the match with a .500 hitting percentage. Katie Brand, the team’s preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year, turned in her best offensive performance of the year. The setter contributed nine kills, was errorless on her ten attempts, and helped keep play clean as the Volleycats had just six attacking errors.
K-State returns to action this afternoon against Siena to finish up its own invitational. With a 2-0 start to the event, the Wildcats appear to have an easy path towards winning the tournament. Siena was swept in both matches Friday night against Southern Illinois and SEMO, so absent a huge letdown the VolleyCats should be secure in what should be a tune-up bout. Following the invitational, K-State hosts Tulsa at home on Tuesday night. The team then leaves the confines of Ahearn Field House, traveling west for the Cal Tournament hosted by California next weekend. The weekend after that the team will compete in the Razorback Invitational hosted by Arkansas. Big 12 play starts September 27 against West Virginia.