MANHATTAN, Kan. (K-State Athletics) – Kansas State held a block party at Allen Arena on Friday night to open the Lippy Invitational as the Wildcats tallied a season-high 14 stops to defeat UT Martin in straight sets (25-14, 25-12, 25-13).

The Wildcats (5-1) totaled a season-best 14 blocks, including six solo stops, to help the defense hold the Skyhawks to an efficiency of -.031 in the first meeting between the two programs.

Senior middle blocker Kadye Fernholz earned her 300th career block in the first set while Sydney Bolding generated a match-high seven stuffs to go with five kills and an ace.

K-State hit .323 on the night with 41 kills and nine errors over 99 swings with eight players earning a kill. Aliyah Carter led the offense for the fifth time this year with nine kills followed Aniya Clinton (7) and Shaylee Myers (6).

Junior setter Izzi Szulczewski guided the Wildcats with 24 assists with nine digs while defensively, Mackenzie Morris collected 18 digs.

UT Martin (2-6) was led by sophomore middle blocker Mia Saenz with five kills. A total of seven Skyhawks produced kills for the offense with Haeleigh Haislip dishing out 11 assists.

IN HIS WORDS
Head Coach Jason Mansfield
Overall statement…
We wanted to come into this match aggressive and have a chance to be physical against this team. We knew they were going to be very scrappy on defense and they were. I think we were tentative early and didn’t really attack the way we wanted to, but in the middle of the first set I thought we did a great job. Sydney and Mackenzie balanced us out defensively and allowed us to get on a roll offensively. I was really proud of us weathering the storm a little bit in the first set and being consistent for the rest of the match.

On final road trip before Big 12 play…
We want to be road warriors and be great on the road, so getting these wins are a big deal however we can do it. To be consistent the way we were tonight, I think is a big deal. I think we want to just play well and play consistent in kind of all conditions – on the road or at home, in front of a big crowd, no crowd, all of it.

On the Cats’ 14 blocks…
I think the biggest thing about their offense is they run a lot of different things and so when they pass well, they’re really hard to stop. So even when they did pass well, I thought we did a great job of seeing the right play and not getting distracted and doing a good job of getting over. They’re a good offense so for us to get 14 blocks is impressive. I think that’s says a lot about our discipline.

SET-BY-SET
Set One – K-State 25, UT Martin 14
K-State picked up a 5-2 run behind a pair of kills and ace from Sydney Bolding. A solo block from Olivia Saunders and service ace leveled the score at 9-all until Bolding and Myers teamed up for the block to take back the lead. With the help of back-to-back aces from Liz Gregorski, the Wildcats extended their lead out to five, 18-13.

The Wildcats tallied eight blocks in the first set including three from Bolding while the team totaled five service aces.

Set Two – K-State 25, UT Martin 12
A service error handed the Skyhawks the first point of the set but the Wildcats immediately responded with a 10-0 scoring run to quickly set the tone for the set. K-State led by as much as 16 in the second, 21-5.

Aniya Clinton and Bolding made three stops each in the set with the defense holding the Skyhawks to a -.094 attack percentage. Aliyah carter tallied four kills for the Wildcat offense that hit .393.

Set Three – K-State 25, UT Martin 13
The final set told the same story as the first and second frames as the Wildcats took hold of a quick 8-3 and never led up. K-State used a 7-2 closing run led by kills from Shaylee Myers and Brenna Schmidt to capture the sweep.

The Wildcats hit .485 in the third with four kills from Clinton while Myers, Schmidt, and Gregorski each tallied three.

INSIDE THE BOX

  • K-State moved to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in neutral contests
  • UT Matin extended its losing streak to four, moving to 2-6 overall
  • Wildcats hit .323 with 41 kills and nine errors on 99 swings
  • Aliyah Carter led the offense with nine kills and matched a career-high four aces
  • Aniya Carter and Kadye Fernholz each hit .500 on 10 or more attempts
  • Izzi Szulczewski dished out 24 assists
  • On defense, Mackenzie Morris picked up 18 digs while Sydney Bolding totaled seven blocks
  • K-State tallied a season-best 14.0 blocks – second-best performance in a three-set match in the Big 12
  • Mia Saenz registered a team-high five kills to lead the Skyhawks’ offense that was held to a -.031 attack percentage.

BEYOND THE BOX

  • Wildcats won the first meeting against the Skyhawks in straight sets (25-14, 25-12, 25-13)
  • Kadye Fernholz received her 300th career block
  • K-State is hitting .320 on the road this season with a perfect 5-0 record
  • Wildcats are 4-1 in three-set matches
  • K-State is 9-2 versus teams from the Ohio Valley Conference.

WHAT’S NEXT
K-State will go head-to-head with tournament host Lipscomb on Saturday, Sept. 9, to conclude the Lippy Invitational. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT. Saturday’s match will be streamed on ESPN+.

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