I always have something to say, but I was left in wordless awe as I read through the box score for Kansas State’s 49-14 victory over Nicholls. Not only did the Wildcats run absolutely roughshod over their opponents (361 yards, 5 TD, 6.2 yds/carry), but quarterback Skylar Thompson (16/22, 212 yards, 1 TD) finished the day with a QBR of 98.9. His newfound confidence, his utter self-belief, was on full display.
Four different running backs—James Gilbert, Harry Trotter, Tyler Burns, and Jordon Brown—scored touchdowns in this game, with each getting significant yardage and Gilbert topping the magic 100-yard mark as well. Thompson distributed the ball to several receivers with Dalton Schoen catching the lone scoring pass. (He could have had two but for a strange reversal in the first half).
Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, Kansas State punted exactly zero times in this game, and committed only two penalties.
This was a tremendous first game, but with all the hype and hoI have no words to describe how I feel about this game. The Chris Klieman era could not have gotten off to a better start. Whatever our expectations of this game, whatever uncertainty hung over this team, this game helped dispel it. We may never look this dominant, but if nothing else, we were given a glimpse of something new, something to look forward to, something to build on. For Week 1, that was more than enough.
At the Wolfpack Invitational in Raleigh, the VolleyCats played in a doubleheader and ended up splitting matches.
In the first match, Kansas State defeated Austin Peay 3-1 (25-17, 18-25, 25-10, 25-23), behind Gloria Mutiri’s match-high 14 kills to victory. Brynn Carlson and Peyton Williams had 13 and 12 kills respectively, while Sarah Dixon notched a double-double a match-high 14 digs to go with her 41 assists for the match.
The VolleyCats hoped to ride that momentum into a second victory, but it was not meant to be, as Kansas State dropped a tight five-setter to Maryland (25-20, 23-25, 21-25, 25.15, 9-15). After winning the first set, the team quickly found itself in a 2-1 hole, but bounced back with a strong fourth set where the Wildcats went wire-to-wire. In the decider, Maryland scored the first eight points and never looked back.
Carlson led the team with 16 kills, while Mutiri had 14. Dixon managed a third double-double for the weekend, this time with 13 digs and 37 assists. For their efforts, Carlson and Mutiri were both named to the all-tournament team.