Brand, Zumach Named to Big 12 Volleyball Preseason Team

MANHATTAN, Kan. – All-Americans Katie Brand and Kylee Zumach continued to add to their list of career accolades as the pair of Wildcats were named to the Big 12 Volleyball Preseason Team, the conference office announced.

Two of the eight returning letterwinners for K-State volleyball this upcoming season, Brand and Zumach earned their second and first career Big 12 Preseason Team honors, respectively. Zumach was one of five unanimous selections while both were of the nine All-Big 12 First Team honorees from last season. In total, 15 players earned the preseason team accolade.

This marks the first time since 2012 that K-State has multiple players named to the All-Big 12 Preseason Team. Three years ago, setter Caitlyn Donahue, middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger and outside hitter Lilla Porubek were tabbed as preseason picks.

Starting every set for K-State over the last two years, Brand picked up her third total conference preseason honor in her career, as she was also named 2013 Co-Preseason Freshman of the Year. In 2014, the redshirt junior was named to the preseason team before going on to finish second in the conference in assists per set for overall matches and earn her first career All-Big 12 First Team honor. The redshirt junior was tabbed to the 2013 All-Big 12 Freshman Team after being the only freshman in the conference to register 1,000+ assists and leading all Big 12 setters in kills, blocks and points.

In 2014, Brand piloted a K-State offense that saw a 50 point increase in its hitting percentage from the previous season, the largest year-to-year gain by a Big 12 team since the Wildcats raised their attack clip by 60 points from 2010 to 2011 (.158 to .218).

The only Big 12 Freshman of the Year in K-State history, Zumach is coming off an unprecedented season for a freshman hitter in program history. The outside hitter from Buffalo, Minnesota set the Wildcat freshman record with 412 kills, helping her finish fourth in the conference in kills per set (3.55) and fifth in points (3.87). She also had 226 kills in Big 12-only matches, the most by a freshman since Hannah Werth of Nebraska had 230 in 2009.

Zumach, who is one of three sophomores on this year’s All-Big 12 Preseason Team, is the first Wildcat sophomore to earn the preseason distinction since Pelger in 2011. In addition to the top freshman honor in the conference last year, she was named AVCA Midwest Region Freshman of the Year, Midwest All-Region Team, All-Big 12 First Team, All-Big 12 Freshman Team and Big 12 Rookie of the Week five times.

Kierra Holst, a senior outside hitter from Oklahoma, and Chiaka Ogbogu, a junior middle blocker from Texas, were tabbed as Big 12 Co-Preseason Players of the Year. Micaya White of Texas was named the Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year.

Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players.

K-State reports on August 9 and starts official practices on August 10, setting into motion the momentum for the season opener on August 28 against Florida A&M in the Hurricane Invitational. The eight returners will be joined by three redshirt freshmen and four incoming freshmen.

Season tickets for K-State’s entire 11-match home schedule are available now and start at less than $3 per match. To purchase season tickets, fans can visit www.k-statesports.com/tickets, call 1-800-221-CATS (2287) or stop by the K-State Athletics Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum.

2015 Big 12 Volleyball Preseason Team
Andie Malloy, Baylor – SR, OH*
Caitlin Nolan, Iowa State – SR, DS/L*
Ainise Havili, Kansas – SO, S
Kelsie Payne, Kansas – SO, RS
Tayler Soucie, Kansas – JR, MB
Katie Brand, K-State – RS JR, S
Kylee Zumach, K-State – SO, OH*
Julia Doyle, Oklahoma – SR, S
Kierra Holst, Oklahoma – SR, OH*
Madison Ward, Oklahoma – JR, OH
Ashley Smith, TCU – JR, OH
Molly McCage, Texas – SR, MB
Ebony Nwanebu, Texas – JR, OPP
Chiaka Ogbogu, Texas – JR, MB*
Lauren Douglass, Texas Tech – JR, MB/RS

Preseason Co-Players of the Year
Kierra Holst, Oklahoma
Chiaka Ogbogu, Texas

Preseason Freshman of the Year
Micaya White, Texas

*Unanimous selection