HOUSTON (Kansas State Athletics) – In its first matchup with a top-25 team, K-State was unable to produce the upset, as No. 17 Creighton came away with a four-set victory at the Rice Adidas Invitational Saturday at Tudor Fieldhouse, 16-25, 22-25, 25-13, 19-25.
K-State (9-4) was led by 16 kills from Shaylee Myers at a .326 hitting efficiency while Elena Baka (13 kills, 16 digs) and Loren Hinkle (37 assists, 10 digs) turned in double-doubles for the second straight day.
Mackenzie Morris logged her second consecutive 20-dig performance, turning in 22 to lead all players. Molly Ramsey set a career high with 11 digs and Myers was responsible for three of K-State’s four service aces.
The Wildcats finished with 10 blocks, with a team-leading five coming from Kadye Fernholz. Sydney Bolding and Myers each finished with four block assists. Fernholz led the Cats in hitting efficiency with a .438 mark in totaling eight kills on 16 swings (one error).
Creighton (8-2) got 17 kills from Keely Davis at a .351 pace. Norah Sis recorded a 13-kill, 12-dig double-double and libero Allison Whitten carded 21 digs.
The Bluejays hit .225 to the Cats’ .192 and held a 55-48 edge in total kills. K-State hit below .200 in three of four sets while Creighton hit above .290 twice.
FROM THE HEAD COACH
Head coach Suzie Fritz
On a challenging final non-conference weekend…
“The end of a productive and difficult preseason, I think is what we’re feeling. This was the challenge we were ready for this weekend. The teams of the caliber of Rice and Creighton and, frankly, I think we are in it and capable of playing with and beating those kind of teams because we are one of those kinds of teams. Defensively, I thought we were pretty tenacious today. We extended rallies, we were pretty good out of system. I thought we did some really good things playing a rested Creighton team.”
On what stood out in today’s match…
“Mack Morris really stood out to me, in terms of the shots that she took. Shaylee Myers is really doing some tremendous things from an offensive perspective. Honestly, this weekend was one of Loren Hinkle’s best weekends in terms of set location and getting hitters in a pretty good rhythm. She’s gotten a lot better as she’s went along.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Set One – Creighton 25, K-State 16
Creighton raced out to a 7-2 lead to begin the match, including four unanswered points to prompt a K-State timeout. The Wildcats produced just one kill over their first 10 swings while the Bluejays put down five kills on 11 attacks in that span.
K-State put together a 6-0 run to trim Creighton’s lead to just two at 13-11, as the stretch featured four straight kills. Myers was responsible for two of those kills with Baka and Fernholz each adding one.
The Bluejays responded with five consecutive points to expand its lead to 19-12 and later finished with a 25-15 set victory.
Myers led the Cats’ offense with four kills while hitting .364. Baka and Fernholz each put down a pair of kills while Baka also added six digs.
Davis and Kiana Schmitt both contributed five kills to lead Creighton’s offense to 17 kills at a .342 clip. Schmitt needed just six swings to produce her kill total, hitting .833.
Set Two – Creighton 25, K-State 22
Creighton closed the second set by scoring eight of the final 10 points, including a set-ending four-point, to erase K-State’s 20-17 late lead. Davis tallied back-to-back kills before Ava Martin completed the comeback with her only kill of the set.
The Wildcats built a lead as large as five at 18-13 before a 4-1 stretch cut the lead to just two, 19-17.
Davis picked up five more kills while Creighton got three more from Sis and Kendra Wait.
Six of Baka’s 13 kills came in the second set while she also picked up five digs. Morris tallied seven digs and Bolding and Myers teams up for two blocks.
Set Three – K-State 25, Creighton 13
Five straight points early in set three handed the Wildcats an 11-5 cushion. The run was highlighted by three kills by Myers along with a block and a kill by Bolding. K-State opened a lead as large as 13 (21-8) after three straight kills by Haley Warner, Baka and Fernholz.
K-State’s offense hummed at a .444 clip – its best of any set – in putting down 13 kills. Myers produced six kills on 10 attacks without an error.
Conversely, Creighton hit just .061 for its lowest output of the day, due to four blocks and 16 digs by the Cats. Morris led the way with six digs and Bolding, Fernholz and Myers all tallied two blocks.
Set Four – Creighton 25, K-State 19
The Wildcats never led in the final frame in which they hit. 122 to Creighton’s .297. A 5-1 spurt by the Bluejays turned a 5-5 score into a 10-6 advantage.
Davis needed only nine attacks in recording seven kills while not committing an error (.778). Sis picked up three kills for CU.
Bolding, Fernholz and Myers each turned in a team-high three kills in the fourth.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- K-State hit .192 as a team (48 kills, 18 errors, 156 attacks).
- Creighton finished with a .226 hitting percentage (55 kills, 20 errors, 155 swings).
- Baka (13 kills, 16 digs) and Hinkle (37 assists, 10 digs) each logged double-doubles for the second straight match.
- Baka produced her team-high fifth double-double while it marked Hinkle’s third.
- Morris carded a match-high 22 digs for her second straight 20-dig outing.
- Fernholz’s .438 hitting percentage led K-State (8 kills, 1 error, 16 swings).
- The Wildcats registered 10 blocks, their sixth double-figure outing over their last seven matches.
- Fernholz recorded five blocks while Bolding and Myers each finished with four.
- Myers was responsible for three of the Cats’ four service aces.
- Davis led all players with 17 kills while hitting .351.
- Sis finished with a 13-kill, 12-dig double-double.
- Whitten turned in 21 digs while Wait had 19.
- K-State leads the all-time series with Creighton 8-5.
- This was the first meeting between the teams since March 20, 2021, when the Wildcats defeated the then-24th-ranked Bluejays.
- The match marked the Cats’ first contest against a ranked opponent.
- Fritz is 5-2 in her career against Creighton and 6-3 against current members of the BIG EAST.
- Morris collected her 15th career match with 20 or more dig (fourth in program history during the rally-scoring era)
- The Cats are 2-2 in four-set matches this season.
- K-State has lost consecutive games for the first time this season.
K-State opens its Big 12 schedule against KU Saturday, as the first installment of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown is set for a 4 p.m. start at Bramlage Coliseum. The match will be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and the ESPN app while Rob Voelker will be on the call online at K-StateSports.com/watch and the K-State Sports app.