MORGANTOWN, WV (Gold and Blue Nation) – Despite four Mountaineers ending the match in double figures, the West Virginia University volleyball team dropped a 3-2 contest in its home opener against Kansas State on Thursday evening, at the WVU Coliseum, in Morgantown. The Mountaineers (1-2) fell to the Wildcats (2-1) in set scores of 25-21, 17-25, 25-27, 26-24 and 15-13.
“It’s disappointing to lose, and Kansas State played well,” sixth-year coach Reed Sunahara said. “One of their big hitters isn’t here this weekend, but No. 10 came in and did a hell of a job. We couldn’t stop her. We also had 32 hitting errors. It’s tough. It’s tough to win when you have 32 hitting errors and you only hit .215.
“We have to get better tomorrow. We have to be better students of the game. We have to study what they are doing and adjust. It’s like a job. It’s not an easy game, especially when you’re playing at a high level. They must put the work in. They have to study and be good learners. They have to be willing to make adjustments and take risks.”
Four Mountaineers posted double-digit kills on the evening, as West Virginia recorded a season-high 72 kills to hit .215 in the five-set loss. Junior outside hitter Kristin Lux had herself a career day, registering 17 kills on 42 attacks for a .214 hitting efficiency. Classmate Natali Petrova added a personal-best 17 kills to go along with 13 digs for her first career double-double. She also had a trio of block assists on the evening. Senior middle blocker Briana Lynch notched a season-high 16 kills with just two errors on 32 attacks for a team-high .438 hitting percentage, followed by sophomore middle blocker Emmy Ogogor with 10 swings.
Junior setter Lacey Zerwas dished out a season-high 58 assists to go along with eight digs, three block assists and two kills.
Senior defensive specialist Alexa Hasting led WVU’s floor defense with 16 digs. Freshman outside hitter/defensive specialist Skye Stokes tallied 12 digs on the evening, her third straight match in double digits, while senior defensive specialist Lindsay Proctor dug a season-high 11 balls.
Senior middle blocker Audrey Adams led the team’s blocking efforts with a season-high five block assists, followed by Lynch with four.
The Mountaineers posted 67 digs and nine team blocks in the loss. The Wildcats hit .238 in the win and had 62 kills, 66 digs and 15 team blocks. Jayden Nembhard led K-State’s offense with 24 kills, while Mackenzie Morris had a team-high 18 digs.
Kansas State rolled to a 25-17 win in set one, but West Virginia bounced back in sets two and three to take a 2-1 lead in the match. However, the Wildcats rallied in the fourth to force a fifth frame.
After playing to 10 ties and five lead changes throughout the course of the set, K-State used a kill from Nembhard for the 11-10 edge. The Mountaineers came within one late in the frame, down 13-12, but Kansas State’s Aliyah Carter put down a kill on the next serve to bring the Wildcats to set point. Lux placed one through the pins to keep the Mountaineers’ hopes alive, but K-State answered with a kill of its own to end the set in its favor at 15-13, walking away with the 3-2 match victory.
The Mountaineers return to the court on Friday for another match against the Wildcats. First serve is set for 6 p.m. ET inside the WVU Coliseum. The contest will be carried live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+, with Jason White and Alex Wiederspiel on the call. For more information, or to sign up for the digital platform, visit WVUsports.com/Big12Now.