MANHATTAN, Kan. – Following a tough loss on Senior Day to No. 19-ranked Baylor on Sunday, the West Virginia University volleyball team quickly rebounded to roll past Kansas State, 3-0, on Wednesday evening at the Ahearn Field House in Manhattan, Kansas. The Mountaineers (17-12, 5-10), swept the Wildcats (10-19, 3-13) in set scores of 25-22, 27-25 and 25-18 for their first Big 12 road win of the season.
The Mountaineers also earned their first Big 12 sweep of the season, sweeping the Wildcats for the first time in the all-time series. With tonight’s win, West Virginia has won 17 matches in a season for the first time since a 20-13 season in 2013. With 17 wins this season, third-year coach Reed Sunahara has earned his highest win total as the head coach of the Mountaineers.
“I thought it was a great road win for us tonight,” Sunahara said. “I thought our players executed well and followed the scouting report. Winning on the road in the Big 12 isn’t easy, so it was nice to walk away with a victory this evening. I’m looking forward to Saturday’s match vs. Kansas.”
Senior outside hitter Morgan Montgomery paved the way for WVU, netting a team-high 15 kills and hitting .519 on the evening. Sophomore outside hitter Payton Caffrey was not far behind her, totaling 13 kills on 30 attacks to hit .400 in the match. Fellow sophomore right side hitter Natania Levak ended the night with seven kills, while senior middle blocker Mia Swanegan added five.
Senior setter Emma Anderson dished out 38 assists, while Caffrey led the serve receive with 15 digs. The Chuluota, Florida, native also notched three service aces to go along with two assists and one block attack.
Swanegan led WVU’s blocking efforts with seven total blocks, followed by Montgomery with five.
West Virginia finished the match hitting .360 with 46 kills and seven team blocks. Kansas State, led by a combined 28 kills from Kylee Zumach and Alyssa Schultejans, hit .235 with 43 kills and 5.0 team blocks.
Montgomery and Caffrey teamed up to provide the bulk of the WVU offense in the first set, scoring seven of the 11 Mountaineer kills in the 25-22 win. Montgomery used a kill early on to put WVU ahead 3-0 before the Wildcats came back to tie the set at 6-6 following a Mountaineer attacking error. From there, both squads played to a total of nine ties. With the set tied at 13 apiece, the Wildcats notched three straight points for a 16-13 advantage. West Virginia did not back down, though, as Caffrey put one through the pins to bring the Mountaineers within one, down 19-18. Caffrey then added a service ace before K-State knotted the match at 21-all once again following a WVU service error. Montgomery caught fire toward the end, though, as the Mountaineers scored on a trio of Montgomery kills for the 25-22 win and a 1-0 lead in the match.
The Mountaineers again took an early lead in set two, scoring on five straight miscues by the Wildcats for the 9-4 advantage. Back-to-back kills from K-State halted the Mountaineer run, but West Virginia continued to roll, notching three straight kills to take a six-point lead at 12-6. Kansas State regrouped during a timeout, as both squads continued to exchange points down the stretch. The Wildcats eventually clawed their way back into the match, using back-to-back kills from Zumach to tie the match at 22-all. A kill from Swanegan brought the Mountaineers to set point, but the Wildcats scored on a Schultejans kill and a Reilly Killeen service ace to tie the set at 24-all, forcing West Virginia to take a timeout. Montgomery laid down a kill out of the stoppage, but Schultejans added one of her own to extend the set. The Mountaineers then scored on back-to-back kills from Montgomery and Caffrey, respectively, to take the set. The 27-25 win put WVU ahead 2-0 in the match.
West Virginia got into a rhythm early in the third set, scoring five of six points for a 12-7 lead. The Mountaineers kept rolling and used a kill from Caffrey and two Wildcats miscues to take a 20-13 advantage late in the set. However, the Wildcats kept it interesting with a late 4-0 scoring streak to cut their deficit to three, down 21-18. The squad then put four in a row on the scoreboard to claim the 25-18 win for the 3-0 sweep.
Looking ahead, the Mountaineers will cap their 2017 regular season slate with a match at No. 14 Kansas (22-6, 11-4) on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 2 p.m. ET. The Jayhawk Television Network, powered by Spectrum Sports, will televise Saturday’s match. The contest will be streamed live through WatchESPN and the ESPN app.
For more information on the Mountaineers, visit WVUsports.com and follow WVUVolleyball on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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