Suzie Fritz, head coach, redirects players between rounds. K-State Volleyball faced Iowa State on Saturday night beating out Iowa 3-1 sets at Bramlage Coliseum.

In this file photo, Kansas State head volleyball coach Suzie Fritz directs her team during a match against Iowa State at Bramlage Coliseum in September. K-State beat UMKC 3-1 in its final exhibition of the season Saturday.

Kansas State volleyball defeated UMKC 3-1 in an exhibition match Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum.

K-State had a slow start in the first set. Other than tying the score a few times, the Roos held the lead for the set and won the frame 25-19.

The Wildcats had a strong response and captured the next three sets to win its exhibition match 19-25, 25-13, 25-23, 30-28.

K-State head coach Suzie Fritz said it was the type of match she was expecting.

“That was the test we were hoping it would be from an exhibition perspective,” Fritz said. “To be able to play under the lights and kind of work out a little bit of first-match jitters where it actually counts is good. UMKC is a good veteran team. They are incredibly well coached. They run some things that are a little different than what we do. We had to adapt a little bit.”

That was evident after the first set.

“I think the reason we lost the first set is because we played poorly,” Fritz said. “We were not very good there at the beginning. We were really uncharacteristically high error in nearly every phase. I think sometimes if you are wrapped up and you are trying to go too fast, it kind of changes the rhythm of things. You got to be able to slow things down a little bit.”

K-State bounced back in Set 2, as it jumped out to an 8-1 lead and then a 25-13 set win.

“I liked the recovery,” Fritz said. “Any time you do not get what you want in the first (set) and you come back with a strong show of a higher level of execution (is a positive). I think a big difference from a technical perspective was we upgraded pretty significantly serving as the match went on. I think that was the big difference in Game 2.”

After losing Set 2 by a wide margin, the Roos kept the third set close, and it took a big shot in the end for the Wildcats to win the set, which helped the hosts maintain momentum.

“I think it is always super motivational for someone to get a really good hit or block,” senior Haley Warner said. “It kind of carries over into the next set. It gets everyone hyped up. When everyone does their job, great things happen.”

Set 4 was highly competitive, as the Roos repeatedly answered the Wildcats to knot the frame at 25-all. K-State eventually won the set, 30-28, to end the match.

Redshirt junior Kayley Hollywood said the ending will be beneficial for K-State.

“I think (the back-and-forth finish) was really good practice for our future matches,” Hollywood said. “I think UMKC is a really good team — they are very scrappy. We are definitely going to see a lot of that in conference play. It is great to have experience playing (close) with other people.”

After not having any exhibitions last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Fritz said the two Wildcats have had this month have been “truly invaluable” heading into the regular season.

“You get to test some lineups,” Fritz said. “You get to try some different personnel. You get to kind of see where you are at in rotation. You get to start checking off some boxes in what you are going to go work on next. It is invaluable experience. The preseason matters in terms of trying to position yourself for the NCAA tournament.”

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