Volleyball Suffers 3-1 Loss Against Kansas State to Start UCF Challenge
By: Ryan Bridges | @RyanBridges517
ORLANDO, Fla.- Syracuse fell to Kansas State today in the first game of the UCF Challenge.
Kansas State was undefeated walking into this match after hosting the K-State Invitational last weekend. The Wildcats blazed through the competition on their home floor, losing only one set in three matches.
Despite knowing how good the Wildcats really were, this wasn’t something Syracuse hadn’t seen before. The Orange faced off against undefeated Charlotte last week.
Kansas State established its presence early, jumping out to a 13-7 lead. The Wildcats held their advantage throughout the first set, but the Orange’s Polina Shemanova and Viktoriia Lohkmanchuk would not let them run away with it. The two outside hitters had a combined 12 kills to keep Syracuse within striking distance. Despite their efforts, Kansas State did go on to win the first set 25-23.
The Wildcats would remain dominant in their second set victory, but early on a milestone was reached. Outside Hitter Polina Shemanova registered her 1,500th career kill as a part of the Orange, becoming just the fifth player in SU Volleyball history to hit that mark.
After losing the second set by seven points, Syracuse needed to respond to the Kansas State onslaught. The Orange did just that, taking a 5-1 lead coming out of the set break. However, the Wildcats managed to keep the score close, not letting SU get too far away. With the score tied at 22, Syracuse won the next three points to take the set.
The Orange’s comeback would be stopped dead in its tracks after that. Kansas State started the fourth set off with a 12-4 advantage and kept SU at a safe distance en route to a 25-21 set victory.
In spite of the loss, SU players had career-highs all-over-the-box scores. Viktoriia Lohkmanchuk had 22 kills. Setter Riley Hoffman dished out 22 assists, and Middle Blocker Raina Hughes registered four blocks as well.
The ‘Cuse has two more games in Orlando before their home opener, the first coming on Friday at 7 p.m. against UCF.