The West Virginia volleyball team battled it out on Thursday night against the Kansas State Wildcats in a 3-2 loss in the 2020 home opener.
In the first set, West Virginia (1-2) and Kansas State (2-1) started the match by trading scores throughout the early stages. However, KSU finished the set on a strong run to win, 25-21.
The second set saw a lot of good play between the Mountaineers and the Wildcats. After trading scores throughout the set, West Virginia finished off Kansas State to win the set 25-17.
The Mountaineers took the momentum from their second set win to take an early lead in the third set. Kansas State made a run towards the end of the set to force post-play, but eventually, the Mountaineers took the third set 27-25.
Head coach Reed Sunahara was impressed with the play of his team and thought the offensive performance was strong.
“I thought we came back, we did a nice job and executed well,” Sunahara said. “We were getting kills. For the second and the third set, we had more kills than they did.”
West Virginia started hot in the fourth set and jumped out to a lead. Kansas State recovered after the slow start to win 26-24, which forced a fifth set.
Sunahara saw the missed opportunity in his team allowing Kansas State to win and force a fifth set.
“The fourth set was crucial,” emphasized Sunahara. “We just couldn’t put them away.”
In the deciding set, the Wildcats and Mountaineers had yet another great set that ended up being close. Kansas State in the end was able to take the final set 15-13, and the match overall, 3-2.
As a team, West Virginia had 72 kills compared to Kansas State’s 62. Natali Petrova and Kristin Lux led the Mountaineers with 17 kills each. Lacey Zerwas distributed the ball to her teammates throughout the night and finished with 58 assists.
Senior Alexa Hasting led the Mountaineers with 16 digs in the five sets played.
“I told the team we have to get better tomorrow,” Sunahara said. “We have to be better students of the game and make adjustments. It’s not an easy game when you’re playing at a high level.”
West Virginia is back on the court tomorrow night against Kansas State starting at 6 p.m. Coverage will be on ESPN+.