Five Wildcats Selected to Participate in National Team Open Tryout

MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State volleyball’s Katie Brand, Macy Flowers, Kersten Kober, Brooke Sassin and Bryna Vogel will participate in the annual U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryout February 19-21 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The quintet of Wildcats are among 231 athletes from 88 colleges competing for spots on the U.S. Women’s National Team and the U.S. Collegiate National Team program.

Selected athletes for the U.S. Women’s National Team may begin their training in Anaheim, California, as early as the spring of 2016, or when an athlete’s scholastic or professional club season has concluded.

The U.S. Collegiate National Team program has three competition options:
Tour of China (12 athletes): June 18-July 1
Tour of Europe (12 athletes): July 5-16
USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships (projected 36 athletes): June 21-30 in Indianapolis

Selections for the U.S. Collegiate National Teams will be made by the end of March.

Brand, who has been selected for the U.S. Collegiate National Team program in each of the last two years, will take part in her third open tryout. In 2014, she trained in conjunction with the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships in Minneapolis, Minnesota while last year she was with the same program in New Orleans.

A two-time All-America Honorable Mention by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), Brand is a rising senior setter for the Wildcats. In her first three years, she has already etched her name in the K-State record books as she is currently sixth in career assists (3,518), third in double-doubles (51) and 104 digs shy of becoming the third Wildcat setter ever to have 1,000 in that department.

In addition to being a two-time All-America honorable mention, Brand has twice been named AVCA All-Midwest Region First Team and All-Big 12 First Team as well as Academic All-District First Team in 2015 and Academic All-Big 12 First Team three times.

Another Academic All-District First Team selection from a year ago, Kober will participate in her second open tryout. The rising senior is eighth in K-State history with 1,126 career digs, 500 of which came this past season to make her just the fourth different Wildcat to reach that milestone in a campaign. The libero registered 5.16 digs per set in Big 12 matches in 2015, which also made her the first Wildcat to average 5.0 or more in conference play since 2007.

A fellow senior, Sassin will take part in her first open tryout with the national team. The senior outside hitter had a career year in 2015, compiling 378 kills, 324 digs, 48 blocks and 16 aces in 107 sets. The All-Big 12 Second Team honoree became the first K-State outside hitter with 300 kills and digs in a single season since 1999. She also had 16 double-doubles, another first for a Wildcat outside in the 21st century.

Vogel, out of Clearwater, Kansas, and Macy Flowers, a product of Chanute, Kansas, round out the three first-time Wildcat participants. Vogel had a breakout sophomore campaign last year, turning in 263 kills, 329 digs, 52 blocks and 17 aces from the right side. She finished the season third on the team in kills, digs and points (307). Flowers had her K-State career debut delayed due to injury, but the 6-foot-3 middle blocker went on to earn All-Big 12 Freshman Team honors after tallying 93 kills and 64 blocks in 53 sets. Her 1.27 blocks per set was the highest clip by any Big 12 freshman in conference play since K-State’s Megan Kroeker in 2005 (1.30).

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his staff will direct the entire tryout process, which can be streamed at www.teamusa.org/usa-volleyball. The tryout will involve four sessions with three waves per session. Friday’s first session goes from 2-8 p.m. MT, while Saturday’s sessions are at 8 a.m. (focus on serve/receive and individual work) and 2 p.m. (middle-centered and out-of-system focus). The tryout concludes on Sunday at 8 a.m. with tournament style play, along with 16-18 athletes selected by the staff to participate in a “USA” training session.

For a complete list of participants in this year's open tryout as well as more information, please click here.