By Chris Kutz, K-State Athletics Communications
Led by a double-double from Katie Brand and 13 kills and five blocks from Katie Reininger, the Purple team beat the White team 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-17, 15-13) on Saturday in K-State Volleyball’s Purple/White scrimmage in Ahearn Field House.
The pair of redshirt sophomore Katies paced the Purple side that out-hit and out-dug the White squad. Brand had match-highs in assists (39) and digs (19), with the digs helping Purple tally 62 digs compared to White’s 60.
The scrimmage was held a week into training camp, and the Wildcats have spent the last seven days tuning up its defense. In addition to Brand reaching double-figures in digs, sophomore Kersten Kober had 10 digs in four sets for Purple.
“Defensively is where we probably saw the biggest gains,” said head coach Suzie Fritz. “When we started practice on [August 9], our defense was in a bit of disarray. I’m very pleased with the progress that they have made. We feel like we are digging more balls, and we feel like we have tightened some of the bolts on what we are trying to do.”
For the White team, redshirt freshman Mattie Batchelder had a team-high 17 digs to go with her four assists. Senior Natali Jones had seven blocks to help White out-block Purple, 10.0-7.0.
Sophomore transfer Brooke Sassin led all Wildcats with 16 combined kills as she split her time between both teams. Nine of her 16 kills came in two sets for the White team. For the entire match, the former Mississippi State Bulldog had eight digs, one ace and the double-digit kills on a .272 hitting percentage.
In the first set, Purple expanded its lead to as much as seven points when Brand dumped in one of her three kills on the night to make it 23-16, but White crept back in with the help of two aces and a pair of tandem blocks by Jones and redshirt freshman Bailey Shurbet, with the last one bringing White within one, 24-23. An attack error, though, by freshman Bryna Vogel, who had 13 kills on the night, gave the first set to Purple.
The second set was tight until the very end before two kills by Sassin helped White pull away from a one-point lead and turn in a four-point win, 25-21.
Sassin switched over to the Purple team in the fourth set and helped lead it to a 25-17 win with four kills, which tied freshman Sami Flattum for the team lead in the third. Reininger also had three kills in the set, and Brand had 11 assists and eight digs.
K-State will return to practice before taking its act on the road for a scrimmage at Shawnee Heights High School in Topeka. The match will start at 6 pm.