• Loading KStateSports Tweets...
    1 second ago

Time to Volley

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Welcome to the big-time, you Wildcat volleyball ladies.
 
Stick those prep letter jackets and all-state certificates in safe keeping and never forget those special memories, but beginning Friday, there's a new dose of reality awaiting you.
 
"They're well prepared athletically, but they've never been in this situation before," said K-State volleyball coach Suzie Fritz of her young roster that includes nine freshmen and 10 newcomers. "You try to put them in game-like situations in practice and you try to create pressure, but there's really no way to replicate the real thing. It's just a case of going out and getting some live experience."
 
The real thing for the 2010 Kansas State volleyball team begins this weekend in the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational. The Cats play tonight at 10 p.m. (CT) against UCLA, followed by matches on Sunday at midnight against national-power Hawaii and Sunday at 8 p.m. against San Diego.
 
"This is how we need to be tested going into Big 12 play," said Fritz. "Our league is very tough, so you need to prepare for that grind by playing tough competition early. If you don't, you'll just be playing catch-up the entire season.
 
"We need to see where we are," continued Fritz. "We want our weaknesses exposed so we can have time to make adjustments before the conference begins."
 
Heading into the week, Fritz still had several either-or starting positions.
 
The definite starters include Caitlyn Donahue (5-9, So.) at setter, while Lauren Mathewson (5-6, Sr.) will be the libero and JuliAnne Chisholm (5-11, Sr.) will be one of the outside hitters.
 
At middle blocker, Fritz said that she would select two of the following three: Kaitlynn Pelger (6-2, Fr.), Alex Muff (6-1, So.) and Kacia Turner (6-0, RFr.).
 
"All are really good athletes. Kacia redshirted last year, so she has more experience," said Fritz. "Pelger is really good off one foot like Kelsey (Chipman, last year) was, and Muff played some last year, so she has some experience and with an enormous up-side."
 
Opposite Chisholm as a hitter will be one of these three Wildcats: Courtney Cook (6-2, Fr.), Courtney Traxson (6-1, Fr.) and Dakota Kaufman (6-1, Fr.).
 
"All are long, tall athletes, who play pretty high above the net," said Fritz. "Cook is more of a ball-control player with the ability to dig and pass, while Dakota and Traxson are long players who have the ability to hit and block at a high level."
 
PORUBEK GOING HOME: Budapest, Hungary, native Lilla Porubek will not make the trip to Hawaii.
 
Saying that Porubek's schedule was known from the beginning, Fritz said that her freshman outside-hitter will instead return to her home to play for the Hungarian Junior National Team in a worldwide event.
 
With a 17-person roster featuring 10 freshmen, Fritz said that there will be redshirts, but absolute decisions have not been made.
 
TAKING THE SUITS, BUT...: While staying on the beaches of Honolulu, Fritz said there won't be much sand time.
 
"I told them to bring their (swimming) suits and that they could run into the ocean and turn around and come back out," said Fritz. "But this isn't a pleasure trip."
 
COMING HOME: After this weekend in the Hula State, the Wildcats open their home season on September 1, against South Dakota with a 7 p.m. match.
 
On September 3-4, K-State hosts the Varney Invitational that will include matches against Loyola Marymount and Oral Roberts on Friday and Georgia Tech on Saturday.