Four Named to Leadership Council

MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State volleyball has named Katie Brand, Kersten Kober, Katie Reininger and Kylee Zumach as members of the 2015 leadership council, head coach Suzie Fritz announced.

The leadership council, the program’s version of its captains, is selected by the team and based on a peer evaluation of where the individuals stand in regards to the program’s five core values of commitment, character, communication, confidence and competitiveness.

“Each one of this year’s leadership council members has a different role or responsibility to the team and K-State volleyball program,” said Fritz. “Katie Brand is our influencer; Katie Reininger is the relationship-builder; Kersten Kober is our executor; and Kylee Zumach, in my opinion, will have her role more defined as she goes but has proven to be a strong position of influence, competitiveness and ability to connect to the team.”

This year marks the second straight season juniors Brand, Kober and Reininger will serve on the council. For sophomore Zumach, this will be her first time serving as one of the designated team leaders.

In addition to being team leaders on the court, the leadership council meets bi-weekly to discuss general leadership topics, specific goals or challenges, and decision-making as it relates to the team. Also, the leadership council provides input to the coaching staff on issues and decisions that affect the Wildcats.

“We adopted the idea of implementing a leadership council several years ago because we felt a need to help mentor and prepare our student-athletes not only for their leadership roles on the team, but also help prepare them for leadership opportunities when they graduate and leave K-State,” added Fritz.

Brand, noted by Fritz as an influencer based on her position on the court and presence off, has started every set for K-State over the last two seasons as the Wildcat setter. The Grand Island, Nebraska native is coming off a stellar 2014 campaign in which she was named All-Big 12 First Team, AVCA Midwest All-Region and AVCA All-America Honorable Mention after she tallied 1,274 assists, 314 digs, 112 kills and 104 blocks. She became the first player in school history to record 1,000+ assists, 300+ digs, 100+ kills and 100+ blocks in a single season while she enters 2015 ranked eighth in program history in career assists (2,330).

A native of Southlake, Texas, Kober, who Fritz says is “extremely high-achieving and focused in how she operates,” was K-State’s libero for 29 of the 31 matches in 2014, registering a Wildcat-best 413 digs to go with her 20 aces, the second-highest total on the team. Kober, who has played in all but four matches in her K-State career, has been named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team (2014) and Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll four times as she has maintained a 4.0 GPA.

Reininger, who “possesses tremendous positivity and the ability to connect to the team” according to Fritz, starred in her first season as a letterwinner with the Wildcats. Last year, the middle blocker was tabbed as an AVCA Midwest All-Region Honorable Mention after totaling 269 kills and 130 blocks in 112 sets. The Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree was the first Wildcat with 250 kills and 125 blocks in a single campaign since 2009.

The Wildcats’ first ever Big 12 Freshman of the Year and AVCA Midwest Region Freshman of the Year, Zumach was unanimously chosen as the conference’s top freshman after she set a K-State first-year player record for kills in a season with a team-best 412. Her award-laden freshman campaign also included AVCA All-America Honorable Mention and Midwest All-Region nods, All-Big 12 First Team and All-Big 12 Freshman Team selections, two tournament MVPs and five Big 12 Rookie of the Week accolades. The Buffalo, Minnesota native, who had 10 or more kills in 25 overall matches, had 226 kills in conference-only contests, which were the most by any Big 12 freshman since 2009.

The Wildcats, who return eight letterwinners from last year’s NCAA Tournament squad, will open official practices in early August in preparation of their season opener against Florida A&M on August 28 as part of the Hurricane Invitational in Coral Gables, Florida. K-State’s home opener is set for September 4 against Green Bay, kicking off the Varney’s Invitational that features Cal and UNLV in addition to the Wildcats and Phoenix.

Season tickets for K-State’s 11-match home schedule are on sale now and start as low as less than $3 per match. Fans can purchase season tickets by clicking here, calling 1-800-221-CATS (4487), or stopping by the K-State Athletics Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum.