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K-State Rallies to Historic Upset Over No. 18 Baylor

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WACO, Texas – Three players finished with double digit kills for K-State as the Wildcats upset No. 18 Baylor in a five-set triumph Thursday at Ferrell Center, snapping a 10-match losing streak, 25-18, 25-14, 22-25, 21-25, 15-13.

Thursday’s victory marked the Wildcats first Top 25 win in the Mansfield era and first victory versus the Bears since 2018.

K-State (9-5, 3-2 Big 12) rallied behind 62 kills (.214) in Waco, led by Aliyah Carter who boasted a match-high 19.  The senior outside also tallied a match-high 20 digs on her way to her 20th career double-double.

Baylor (7-7, 1-3 Big 12), who is one of six programs from the league ranked in the AVCA/GameChanger Top 25 poll, had three players recording double figure kills including double-doubles by Averi Carlson (33 assists, 16 digs) and Kyndal Stowers (14 kills, 13 digs).

The Bears were limited to a .096 hitting efficiency (49 kills, 32 errors) – just the second time hitting under .100 this season – as the Wildcats defense out-blocked BU, 12.0-6.0 with 81 digs. K-State’s defense held the Bears to hit below .100 in three sets.

Shaylee Myers turned in a season-high 14 kills followed by Aniya Clinton with 10.

Loren Hinkle turned in her ninth career double-double with 23 assists and 12 digs while Szulczewski paced the 6-2 offense with 29 assists.

Three players recorded five or more blocks led by Sydney Bolding with seven. The Pickens, S.C. native is just four blocks away from reaching her 300th at K-State. Myers and Clinton followed Bolding with five blocks each.

Senior libero Mackenzie Morris earned 18 digs in the match to bring her career total to 1,498 – good for fifth all-time in K-State history.

FROM THE HEAD COACH
Head Coach Jason Mansfield
On overall game thoughts…
“The biggest challenge was going into a hostile environment, knowing that the other team was going to be really good, and they were. We had a productive week of practice and knew this weekend was going to be challenging, so I was really proud of the way that we played the first few sets. I think that was the most consistent volleyball we’ve played all season, especially to start the match, but we did it in two sets. So that was pretty incredible. While they’re a very strong team that makes impressive plays, I thought we stayed consistent and played well, even after they stepped up in the third and fourth sets. For us to win in five, similar to how we beat TCU a couple weeks ago, is awesome. To know that we can achieve this, especially on the road against a great team, makes us really proud of the girls.”

On first Top 25 victory as a head coach…
“It feels great. Baylor is an excellent program, consistently strong for the past decade, especially at home. Beating such a strong team on the road is always great, but it’s even better when we play really well.”

On Carter’s match-leading performance…
“She keeps battling. What impresses me most about Aliyah is her fearless approach. She doesn’t fixate on the last play, whether good or bad. Tonight was a testament to that. She played aggressively on offense and excelled in the back row. Playing at a high level is crucial for us to beat great teams, and her 19 kills and 20 digs tonight were pretty spectacular.”

On out-blocking an opponent for the ninth time…
“Credit to my associate head coach, Steve Astor. I believe he’s the best defensive coach in the country. He consistently prepares us for every match, and our defensive strategy slowed down a highly efficient offensive team. Holding them to a .096 hit percentage speaks volumes about our defense. Twelve blocks and 81 digs are impressive, but we need to replicate this performance tomorrow night. They’ll make adjustments for tomorrow, but defensively, we need to our hang our hat on who we are as a defensive team.”

SET-BY-SET
Set One – K-State 25, Baylor 18
The Wildcats led off the match with a 4-1 opening run until the Bears rallied to tie the set 5-all. K-State quickly took the lead back with a kill by Brenna Schmidt and never let up as the Cats used a 5-1 run to take hold of a six point lead, 18-12.

K-State’s defense held the Bears to a .028 hitting efficiency in the set with just seven kills against the Cats .432 with 17 including five by Myers.

Set Two – K-State 25, Baylor 14
Behind six straight serves from Gregorski, K-State jumped out to a 7-1 lead with the help of a pair of kills from Clinton and service aces by Gregorski.

The Cats hit a match-high .400 in the second clip with just two errors while the defense held the Bears to a zero hitting efficiency.

Set Three – Baylor 25, K-State 22
The Bears were able to collect their first lead of the night in the third set with help from Riley Simpson to claim the fourth set.. The redshirt sophomore posted five kills to the board for the Bears offense that hit a team-high .205 (14 kills, 6 errors), guided by 10 assists from Carlson.

Set Four – Baylor 25, K-State 21
Despite only hitting .044, K-State tied with BU in kills (12) in the fourth set that saw 12 tie scores and three lead changes. Carter and BU’s Kyndal Stowers led their teams with five kills each while the Bears’ Allie Sczech and Manuela Bibinbe each had three blocks.

Set Five – K-State 15, Baylor 13
After 10 tie scores, Carter laid down her 18th kill to give K-State a one-point lead to force a time out from Baylor. The Bears brought the score within one for another K-State time out, but Carter etched the final point to secure the upset.

INSIDE THE BOX

  • K-State topped No. 18 Baylor in five sets, 25-18, 25-14, 22-25, 21-25, 15-13
  • Thursday’s match had just five lead changes with 25 tie scores
  • Three players reached double figures kills
  • Carter turned in a match-high performance in kills (19) and digs (20)
  • Hinkle produced her second double-double of the season with assists and 12 digs
  • Myers had a season-high 14 kills followed by Clinton (10)
  • K-State hit .214 (62 kills, 26 errors)
  • Wildcats had five service aces led by Gregorski with two
  • Szulczewski paced the offense with 29 assists
  • K-State out-blocked the Bears 12.0-6.0, ninth time this season
  • Cats are 8-0 when out-blocking a team

BEYOND THE BOX

  • K-State snapped a 10-match losing streak against the Bears
  • First Top 25 victory in the Mansfield era
  • The Wildcats improved to 3-1 in league play, tied fifth in conference
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