Notes: K-State Opens Season with Early Tests at Wahine Invitational
K-State Opens Season at Wahine Invitational
AT A GLANCE
-The Kansas State volleyball team gets the 2016 season underway with the Rainbow Wahine Invitational, hosted by the University of Hawai’i in Honolulu, Hawai’i, Aug. 26-28.
-The Wildcats open the season against Arizona on Aug. 26. The Cats will then face No. 6 Hawai’i on Aug. 27 and finish their trip to the Aloha State with No. 4 Wisconsin on Aug. 28.
-All four teams in the Wahine Invitational qualified for the NCAA Tournament a season ago.
-K-State is 0-3 all-time against Arizona with their last meeting coming in 2014.
-Hawai’i owns a 5-0 all-time mark against K-State, with the last matchup occurring the in 2010, also the last time the Wildcats participated in the Wahine Invitational.
-The series between K-State and Wisconsin is split 2-2, with the Badgers taking last season’s meeting 3-1 (Sept. 18).
-K-State returns 11 letterwinners from 2015, including its entire starting lineup that finished fourth in the Big 12 and clinched a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.
-In addition to the 11 letterwinners, the Wildcats also welcome back outside hitter Kylee Zumach, who played in just seven sets before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
-Zumach was the 2014 Big 12 Freshman of the Year as well as a unanimous selection to the 2014 All-Big 12 First and Freshman Teams.
-This marks the second straight season, and seventh time overall, that the Wildcats return their top three in kills as well as the starting setter and libero.
-K-State returns 98 percent of its kills from 2015 and 99 percent of its digs.
BIG 12 FINISH
-The fourth-place finish in the Big 12 standings was the second time K-State slotted in that spot over the last five seasons (Last: 2011).
-Under head coach Suzie Fritz, K-State has placed fourth or higher in the Big 12 eight times.
-K-State ended the conference campaign with nine wins for the second year in a row and third time over the last five years.
-K-State garnered several honors throughout the season, including one AVCA All-America Honorable Mention, one All-Midwest Region, five All-Big 12, four Big 12 players of the week, two Academic All-District, seven Academic All-Big 12, and seven in-season tournament accolades.
-Katie Brand led the way for all Wildcats with nine awards, including All-America Honorable Mention, All-Midwest Region First Team, All-Big 12 First Team, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week, Academic All-District First Team, Academic All-Big 12 First Team, Varney’s Invitational MVP, Varney’s Invitational All-Tournament, and Creighton Classic All-Tournament.
-For a complete list of season honors, see page three.
-K-State held its overall opponents to a .212 hitting percentage, helped by a Big 12-leading 17.56 digs/set.
-The Wildcats led the conference in digs/set for both overall matches and Big 12-only contests (18.18).
-It was the first time since 2002 that K-State paced the Big 12 in digs in either overall or conference-only matches.
-In 2002, the Wildcats averaged 18.01 digs in overall and 18.50 in Big 12-only.
-K-State was the first team to average more than 18.0 digs/set in Big 12 matches since 2011 (Iowa State, 18.21).
-For the first time in program history, K-State featured four different players with 300+ digs.
-The quartet of Wildcats included Kersten Kober (500), Katie Brand (332), Bryna Vogel (329), and Brooke Sassin (324).
-Kersten Kober’s career-high 500 digs were the most by a Wildcat since 2010.
-Kober’s 500 digs are seventh-most ever by a Wildcat in a single-season.
-She is just the fourth Wildcat with 500+ digs in a single campaign.
-Kersten Kober, who finished fourth last season in the Big 12 with 4.67 digs/set in overall matches, also averaged 5.16 digs in Big 12-only contests.
-Kober’s 5.16 digs/set average was the highest by a Wildcat in conference-only matches since 2002.
-She finished third in the Big 12 in digs/set for conference matches.
A FIRST SINCE 2000
-For overall matches, K-State was the only team to have multiple players in the Big 12’s top-10 for digs/set (Kober, 4th; Brand, 9th; Vogel, 10th).
-It is the first time 2000 that a team had three players in the Big 12’s top-10 for digs/set in overall matches (Texas A&M and Texas Tech).
-Junior Brooke Sassin became the first K-State outside hitter to join the Double-300 Club in the rally-scoring era (since 2001) as she had a career-high 378 kills and 324 digs.
-The last Wildcat outside hitter to have 300+ kills and digs was Dawn Cady (622 kills, 434 digs) in 1999.
-Sassin is the second Wildcat overall to scratch her name into the Double-300 Club during the rally-scoring era, joining middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger (2011).
-Sassin is the eighth Wildcat overall in the program’s Double-300 Club.
-Katie Brand became the first Wildcat since Kaitlynn Pelger (2010-11) to post back-to-back Triple-Triple seasons.
-Brand finished the year with 1,188 assists, 320 digs and 133 kills.
-Last year, Brand had 1,274 assists, 314 digs, 112 kills and 104 blocks.
-She is just the third K-State setter to have consecutive Triple-Triple campaigns (Last: Stacey Spiegelberg, 2005-07).
-Katie Brand finished the regular season as the only player in Division I with averages of 11.0 assists, 3.0 digs, 1.2 kills, 0.75 blocks, and 0.10 aces.
-Brand also averaged 1.77 points, the second-highest clip among the nation’s top-30 in assists/set.
-Brand finished third in the Big 12 and 26th in Division I in assists/set (11.10).
-Katie Brand enters the season sixth in K-State history with 3,518 career assists.
-Kersten Kober, meanwhile, finished the last year eighth in program history with 1,126 career digs.
-Katie Reininger, who earned her first career all-conference honor last season, finished second on K-State in kills (271) and hitting percentage (.282).
-Reininger hit .300+ in 15 matches, with K-State going 14-1 in such contests.
-Reininger also led the team in blocks (106).
-Head coach Suzie Fritz ended her 15th year at the helm of K-State volleyball with her fifth straight winning season and 12th overall.
-K-State’s winningest and longest-tenured coach has led the Wildcats to a top-four finish in the Big 12 eight times.
-Fritz ended 2015 five wins from 300 as she is 295-168 in her overall career (158-122 in the Big 12).
-K-State was the only team to have two players on the All-Big 12 Freshman Team: Alyssa Schultejans and Macy Flowers.
-Schultejans finished the regular season third among Big 12 freshmen in kills (255).
-Schultejans’ 255 kills are also the 12th-most by a K-State freshman.
-Flowers finished the conference season fourth in blocks/set (1.27).
-Flowers’ 1.27 blocks/set were the most by a Big 12 freshman since K-State’s Megan Kroeker averaged 1.30 in 2005.