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K-State to host Lipscomb Friday to open NCAA tournament

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The Wildcats will host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008

Never forget. Honor the fight. Greg Woods

K-State is headed back to the NCAA tournament — for the third straight time.

The Wildcats will host Lipscomb Friday at 7:30 p.m., after snagging the No. 14 national seed during the tournament selection show Sunday evening.

The match will be at Bramlage Coliseum due to NCAA regulations, which require host schools to have a certain amount of locker rooms and amenities, such as air conditioning.

The match will be available on WatchESPN.

Ohio State and Missouri State were the other two schools assigned to Manhattan for the tournament.

Here’s K-State’s section of the bracket:

And the full bracket (K-State is at the top right):

A look at Lipscomb

The Bisons finished the regular season with an Atlantic Sun tournament title and a 22-7 record. They enter Friday having won 12 straight matches.

Lipscomb won the Atlantic Sun tournament by sweeping USC and ousting Florida Gulf Coast in four sets, so they won the tournament fairly handily.

Several Bison stand out: Carlyle Nusbaum, Atlantic Sun Player of the Year and unanimous first-team all-conference selection; as well as Taylor Racich and Brittany Thomas, both second-team all-conference selections.

Nusbaum averages nearly five kills per set, while Racich and Lauren Anderson both average about 2.5 kills a set.

As a team, the Bison average a .263 hitting percentage per match.

The matchup

Having won 12 consecutive matches, the Bison are the hot hand entering Friday. But K-State counters with a lineup that includes seniors Brooke Sassin, Katie Reninger, Katie Brand and Kersten Kober, all staples in the Wildcats’ rotation.

K-State prefers a balanced offensive attack, as five different Wildcats average two-plus kills per set. Reninger and sophomore Alyssa Schultejans both card about 2.5 kills per set, while Sassin and sophomores Kylee Zumach and junior Bryna Vogel all average about three kills per set.

Senior Katie Brand may be the most versatile of the group. The senior averages 11 assists and a kill per set, all while hitting .299.

The first serve between K-State and Lipscomb is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bramlage Coliseum, available on WatchESPN.