Carter, Cats Handle Syracuse to Start UCF Challenge

Set Scores
Team 1 2 3 4 F
Syracuse 23 18 25 21 (1)
Kansas St. 25 25 22 25 (3)

ORLANDO, Fla. (Kansas State Athletics) – Aliyah Carter led K-State with 20 kills and four aces, pushing the Wildcats to a four-set victory over Syracuse, 25-23, 25-18, 22-25, 25-21, on the first day of the UCF Challenge at The Venue Thursday.

Carter hit .366 in producing her 12th career 20-kill performance, as she now sits alone in second place in K-State history for 20-kill matches during the rally-scoring era. Additionally, the 20 kills pushed her over the 800-kill mark with 801.

The Wildcats (4-0) served up 11 aces in pushing their winning streak to four matches. Carter’s four aces equaled her career high while Sydney Bolding added three and Elena Baka chipped in a pair.

Baka joined Carter in double-figure kills with 17 at a .297 pace, adding six digs and four blocks. Loren Hinkle handed out 44 assists along with eight digs and Mackenzie Morris led all players with 17 digs.

Victoriia Lokhmanchuk (22) and Polina Shemanova (17) accounted for 39 of Syracuse’s (2-2) 57 kills. Lokhmanchuk hit .383 and finished with three blocks and three digs.

HOW IT HAPPENED
Set One

K-State tallied the first four points of the match, including back-to-back aces by Baka, as it never trailed in set one. The Cats’ extended their lead to 13-7 following a 6-1 run that featured kills from both Baka and Carter.

The Orange used a four-point run of their own to even the score at 21. Three kills from Baka helped propel the Wildcats to a 4-2 closing run. Baka and Carter each put down five kills in the set, helping the Cats hit .344.

Set Two
An early four-point scoring run behind the serve of Bolding helped K-State claim a 5-3 lead. A stretch of six straight points on the Molly Ramsey’s serve saw the Cats’ lead swell to 11-4.

Syracuse was forced into 10 attacking errors while it gathered only nine kills for a -.028 hitting percentage. The Wildcat defense totaled four blocks, with two block assists from both Bolding and Kadye Fernholz.

Set Three
Syracuse jumped out to a 5-1 lead only to see K-State respond by scoring 10 of the next 15 points to claim a 11-10 edge. From there, the teams traded points in a frame that saw 11 tie scores and four lead changes. The last lead-change came when the Orange earned the set win behind three consecutive points.

Carter led K-State with six kills while Baka added five in the third. Lokhmanchuk led SU with six. Syracuse hit .318 to the Cats’ .256.

Set Four
Aces from Bolding, Carter and Morris kickstarted K-State’s set-opening 12-4 run. From there, the Wildcats led the rest of the way and racked up five aces in pushing their winning streak to four matches.

Carter tacked on four more kills while Baka added three. Lokhmanchuk produced seven kills on 13 swings the Syracuse.

FROM THE HEAD COACH
Head coach Suzie Fritz

On the match overall…
“It was a little bit of a left-side battle. They have two very capable left-side hitters that we knew, from a defensive perspective, could be challenging. I thought we did a decent job against them, for the most part. If you look at distribution for them, that’s about 60 percent of their swings going (to them). We knew that was going to be an important factor in the match, so I think we did a decent job there. Obviously, we could’ve done a little bit better job containing (Victoriia Lokhmanchuk), but in contrast to that, I thought our lefts were very good. So it did become a bit of a left-side battle.”

On her team’s left-side hitters…
“Aliyah was doing tremendous things for us – five kills a game – which is a tremendous performance for her. She and Elena are carrying a significant load for us right now. They’re playing six rotations, we are asking them to do a lot, asking them to touch it a lot. When it came right down to it, I thought they did a tremendous job on the left. I thought (setter) Loren Hinkle was really good locating left side, as well. I think the difference was were just a little bit better there.”

On K-State’s serving effort…
“We were 95 percent in and very low error and pretty disruptive. We won the serving and receiving battle and we knew they were going to be a big, physical team and needed to be able to do some things with our serving. I thought we were pretty strategic and efficient with it.”

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • K-State hit .262 as a team (52 kills, 18 errors, 130 attacks).
  • Syracuse turned in a .224 hitting percentage (57 kills, 24 errors, 147 swings).
  • Carter finished with a team-high 20 kills while hitting .366, adding seven digs.
  • Carter produced her first 20-kill match of the season and the 12th of her career.
  • Her 12 career 20-kill outings are second-most in K-State history during the rally-scoring era.
  • Carter added four aces, which equaled her career high.
  • K-State recorded 11 aces against just five service errors.
  • Bolding set a career high with three service aces.
  • Baka hit .297 in posting 17 kills.
  • Hinkle dished out a career-high 44 assists and added eight digs.
  • Bolding led the Cats with five blocks while Baka and Bolding each added four.
  • Morris paced all players with 17 digs, as she has four straight matches with double-figure digs to begin the season.
  • Lokhmanchuk led Syracuse with 22 kills at a .383 clip.
  • Hoffman logged a double-double with 22 assists and 14 digs.

NOTES

  • K-State leads the all-time series with Syracuse 3-1, as this was the first meeting between the sides since 2017.
  • K-State starts the season 4-0 for the first time since 2013 (started 7-0).
  • The Wildcats are 19-10 against teams from the ACC, including a 2-0 mark this season.
  • Carter surpassed 800 career kills, now sitting at 801.
  • The Cats’ 11 aces tied for fourth-most in a four-set match in the rally-scoring era and most since 2013.

UP NEXT
K-State continues the UCF Challenge Friday against North Florida, with first serve set for 3:30 p.m. CT. The match can be seen on FloVolleyball and fans can listen to Rob Voelker on the call online at K-StateSports.com/watch.

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