Media Day Quotes - August 21, 2015

Suzie Fritz, Head Coach
On Kylee Zumach entering her sophomore season…
“We don’t want her to do it by herself. We will be better if we don’t put her in that position. So, she just needs to do what she does. She needs to keep getting better – that needs to be her priorities right now. Not to carry any kind of load, but just keep trying to improve as a player. There’s still a lot of things she can do. Her demands are increasing; we’re asking her to do more now, both in terms of her position and her productivity. Playing six rotations, adding back row things – passing and defense and serving – to her game. Her expectations are growing.”

On what Zumach handling the additional responsibilities…
“If it’s up to Kylee, she’ll do more. She wants to do as much as she possibly can. Sometimes you have to pull that back in and say No, I just need you to focus on these one or two things right now. She absolutely wants more. I think that’s what makes her good.”

On Katie Brand…
“She’s a much better player now than she was a year ago. I think it’s more about consistency for her. Katie has always shown some glimpses of exceptional, but now you see her playing at a more consistent level – that greatness that she has in her. You see that coming out more consistently.”

On if Brand is the team leader being that she’s the most-experienced on the team…
“Yes, in her way. I think we need to be a team that can do that by committee. I’ve never been a big fan of putting leadership on one or two people. I’m a big fan of everybody being accountable for leadership. Leading in whatever way works for you. Some of them are really quiet – they lead by example. That’s a [Bryna] Vogel. In some ways, that’s a [Kersten] Kober. They don’t say a lot, but their actions speak very, very loudly. You need some of those. And then a Katie Brand, who is pretty demanding, exceptionally competitive. That’s a Zumach, and Brand – you can kind of put them in the same category. Then you have a [Brooke] Sassin, who just gives you the same thing every day in terms of productivity, consistency perspective. And a Reininger, who keeps the positivity and the energy level. The love at which she approaches life, it’s contagious. So you have some of those. I can name every single player and tell you the value they provide for our team. They all provide, equally, different things to the team to make them what they are.”

On incoming freshman out of Hungary, Zsofia Gyimes…
“Zsofia is drowning. She’s been here a week, and she’s adapting to a new culture, a new style and things are happening so fast for her right now. She’s just trying to keep her head above water, but she’s awesome. We met [last Thursday] with her, and she’s got an awesome approach. She understands that’s how it’s going to be for a little while. She’s approaching it beautifully.”

On incoming freshman Macy Flowers…
“Macy was with us through the summer and started to turn the corner based on the leadership’s council feedback in the last three weeks of the summer, in terms of finding a new level, getting more comfortable. She is exceeding expectations at this point.”

On Brooke Sassin’s improvement…
“[Brooke] had a great summer. And I heard from her teammates, and I’m basing a lot of this information on their feedback, that she, from a leadership capacity, from a vocal capacity, from a confidence and comfort-level capacity, has made a pretty significant jump. It’s pretty distinct in terms of where she was at a year ago and where she is now. Right now, she’s our best outside hitter in practice. She’s playing very, very well.”

On the addition of new assistant coach, Trent Sorensen, who replaced Jeff Hulsmeyer…
“We miss [Jeff] Hulsmeyer because we love him (Hulsmeyer accepted the associate head coach position at Florida State in February). He was great. He did a ton to make us better. He was integrated into our family. We’re proud of him and excited for him and the opportunity he has. Trent is different, and different in ways that I think are good for our team as well. There’s a looseness to him. He’s a little bit younger. His energy level is a different than some of us who are getting further up there (laughs). The players really like him, first and foremost. He knows a lot about volleyball. His coaching philosophy is very much aligned in regards to what his past experiences are and how he fits into how we want to do things. It’s been quite a smooth transition.”

On being picked fifth in the Big 12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll…
“I don’t care about where we start. I care a great deal about where we finish. I don’t know how it plays to our advantage. We’re going to try to beat them all. I don’t put a lot of stock in preseason things.”

On what she likes about this year’s team…
“What I like about them is they have matured. If you would have asked me if I would have liked them a year ago, I would have told you I wasn’t sure yet. I would have reserved judgement. But they have matured a great deal. Now, I like the way they work, more importantly. But they’re fun, they’re fun-loving, but more importantly, they like each other.”

On her expectations for this team…
“I have high expectations all the time. I think we have to consistently exceed [expectations]. I don’t care about what other people think where we’re going to be. I care a lot about getting them as far as they can get and in some ways, exceeding their expectations. That’s the challenge - where they think they are. It’s not about what I think most of the time. It’s about getting them beyond where they think they can be.”

On what the team needs to do to start off well at the Hurricane Invitational…
“I think we need to be a good transition team, a little bit more of a productive transition team. We need good balance. I don’t think we are a team that gets to rely on a Reininger, a Zumach. I think we’re going to need to get everybody involved. I want to be offensively productive. Stabilize our serve-receive.”


Katie Brand, Redshirt Junior, Setter
On how this team is coming together…
“In the spring, we talked a lot about our team chemistry and building that. We did a lot of team-building throughout the summer as well. In our two-a-days already, we’ve seen it come together.”

On how her teammates look to her…
“I’m the oldest one on the team, and I don’t think it’s so much for that as it is I’m the setter. When you have the second contact going through you all of the time, there’s a lot of feedback that has to be happening. Passers and hitters, so that pretty much covers everyone. Even on the court and off the court, I’ve felt I’ve stepped up my leadership.”

On having most of the key roles set based on the number of returners…
“We’re really excited to see what this team can do this year. We were pretty young last year, even though we lost four seniors that were huge parts of our team. We feel like we have been able to fill those roles [from last year’s departures], and those people that were really young last year have really stepped up this year.”

On what she needs to do to be an even better player than she has in the past…
“I talked about how I needed to step up my leadership in just these past three years, but I still need to take another jump and to be, really, the rock on the team. We talk with Suzie about being the Zen. Having someone out there to kind of control the chaos because there are so many emotions. It’s a roller coaster out there, and I think I’ve been a part of that roller coaster the past three years. I want to be the one who controls it a little bit more now.”

On surpassing last year’s statistical totals…
“I think volleyball is the ultimate team sport, and when we talk about trying to reach personal goals, it’s not something you can rely on yourself as much as you have to come together as a team to make those goals and reach them.”

On the Hurricane Invitational…
“When you first go play another opponent, it really exposes your weaknesses. We’ve been beating each other up so much in practice that we know everyone’s tendencies. We want to see how well we can figure another team out and how quickly we can put a defense against them and not just ourselves every day.”


Kylee Zumach, Sophomore, Outside Hitter
On entering her second season with last year’s award-laden season…
“It makes me more motivated to do well this year. People know my name. It puts more of a load on my shoulders, and I love a good challenge.”

On improving her game…
“I think my game has improved a lot this last year. I’ve matured a lot. I’ve had to step into a leadership role. My serve/receive has gotten a lot better – I’ve been working on that. I’ve gotten a lot smarter and more court savvy with another year under my belt.”

On if last season’s awards create pressure for this season…
“I like the pressure. I think I perform better when I’m under pressure, if I’m going to be honest. I think we have a completely different team this year. It’s going to feel different. A lot more people are going to be under pressure this year. We have a lot of new young girls that are going to be really good.”

On working alongside fellow outside hitter, Brooke Sassin…
“She’s such a great leader. We’re two completely different people. We’re both outside hitters, but we have such a different game. She’s been stepping up a lot, and I kind of look up to her. It’s been really fun playing with her and I can learn from her.”

On what K-State will look like in 2015…
“We’re just a super-athletic team. We don’t have those big people like other schools. We’re really springy, we work hard, and we’re really scrappy.”