Notes: Wildcats Open 2015 Campaign with Hurricane Invitational
Notes: Wildcats Open 2015 Campaign with Hurricane Invitational
AT A GLANCE
- The K-State volleyball team gets its 2015 campaign underway with the Hurricane Invitational, hosted by the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, from August 28-29.
- The Wildcats’ season opener is against Florida A&M on August 28 while the trip to the Sunshine State wraps up on August 29 with contests against Illinois State (10:30 a.m.) and Miami (7:30 p.m.).
- In addition to K-State, Illinois State and Miami were NCAA Tournament participants a season ago.
- The Wildcats have never played at Miami and last played in the state of Florida in 2005 for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament (Gainesville).
- K-State returns eight letterwinners and 11 total players from last year’s squad, which notched 22 wins and reached the NCAA Tournament.
- Among the eight letterwinning returners, the Wildcats welcome back their top-three kill producers (Kylee Zumach, Brooke Sassin, and Katie Reininger) as well as their starting setter (Katie Brand) and libero (Kersten Kober).
- This marks the second time in the last 20 years (other: 2012) that the Wildcats return their top three in kills as well as the starting setter and libero.
- The 2012 team got out to a 12-0 start on the season and reached the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
- Prior to the 2012, K-State had not returned its top three in kills as well as its starting setter since 1995.
- For the second time in the last five seasons, K-State’s roster will not feature any seniors as the Wildcats are made up of seven freshmen, four sophomores and four juniors.
- The last time K-State did not have any seniors was 2011, as that team had five juniors, seven sophomores and three freshmen.
- The 2011 Wildcats dropped their first two matches of the season (at Georgia Tech and vs. Louisville) before finishing out the regular season winning 20 of their last 28 matches, finishing fourth in the Big 12, and advancing to the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in school history.
- Since 1977 (the program’s first season was 1974), K-State has not featured a senior on its roster four times: 2015, 2011, and 1984 (19-14, 2-8 Big Eight) and 1977 (49-18-1).
- The only player on this year’s roster that was with K-State prior to 2013 is Katie Brand, who redshirted as a freshman in 2012 and has served as the starting setter in every match over the last two years.
- This year marks the sixth time in program history that the Wildcats return their top-three in kills from the previous season (Last: 2012).
- The last three instances where K-State returned its top-three in kills (1998, 2008 and 2012) resulted in the Wildcats making the NCAA Tournament, going a combined 64-25 (.719).
- Also in those three seasons, the K-State offense hit .232 or higher for the entire campaign.
- This year’s returning kill leaders, Kylee Zumach (412), Brooke Sassin (312) and Katie Reininger (269), combined for 63% of last season’s 1,568 K-State kills.
- Overall, the Wildcats have 72% of their kill production returning from 2014.
- Last season, K-State’s hitting efficiency improved 50 points from the previous season as the Wildcats hit .241 (1568k-585e-4075ta).
- In 2013, K-State hit .191 (1334-605-3824ta).
- The year-to-year improvement was the largest by any Big 12 team since K-State increased its efficiency 60 points from 2010 (.158) to 2011 (.218).
- The Wildcats have hit .241 or higher twice in the last three seasons (.242 in 2012).
- Helping the K-State offense improve in terms of hitting efficiency last year was having the return of setter Katie Brand, who enters 2015 as a redshirt junior and has played in every K-State set the last two seasons.
- Brand, who was named All-Big 12 First Team in 2014 and All-Big 12 Freshman Team in 2013, has played in 221 consecutive sets over 60 matches.
- Last year, she improved her assists/set total to 10.98 (from 10.06 in 2013) as she finished second among Big 12 setters in that category.
- Also, Brand’s 1,274 assists a season ago were the sixth-most in a campaign in K-State history during the rally-scoring era.
- Brand’s 2,330 career assists are currently the eighth-most in program history, trailing Chi Dau’s 2,332 for seventh on the all-time list.
PRESEASON ALL-BIG 12
- Katie Brand and Kylee Zumach were named to the 2015 Big 12 Volleyball Preseason Team, becoming the first set of K-State teammates to earn the preseason accolades since 2012.
- Both Brand and Zumach were of the nine players selected to both the 2014 All-Big 12 First Team and this year’s preseason team.
- Zumach was one of five unanimous selections.
- This year is the first time since 2004 that K-State returns multiple All-Big 12 First Team selections (Gabby Guerre, Vali Hejjas).
- For the first time since 2003, and only the second time in school history, a pair of Wildcats earned AVCA All-America honors in the same season as both Katie Brand and Kylee Zumach were recognized as honorable mentions in 2014.
- Zumach was the first K-State freshman to earn an All-America selection while Brand was the second sophomore.
- This year marks the first time in program history that K-State returns multiple All-Americans.
ON THE ROAD
- A season after not winning a Big 12 road match (0-8) and going 4-8 total in true road matches, K-State bounced back in 2014 with an 8-3 record in true road contests.
- The eight road wins were the most for the Wildcats since 2008 (8-4).
- The .727 road winning pct. was K-State’s second-best under Suzie Fritz, trailing the high-water mark of .769 (10-3) in 2003.
- The Wildcats won their first seven true road matches of the season, which matched their longest road winning streak in school history (2003).
- In both road and neutral matches, K-State was a combined 13-5, its second-best record in program history.
- The best road/neutral record is 14-5 (2003).
15 AND COUNTING
- Head coach Suzie Fritz enters her 15th season at the helm of K-State volleyball.
- Fritz, the program’s winningest and longest-tenured coach, holds a career record of 278-156 (.641).
- In non-conference play during the regular season, the two-time Big 12 Coach of the Year has a career record of 120-31 (.795), including 38-2 since 2012.
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
- For the second straight year, K-State was voted fifth in the Big 12 Coaches Preseason Poll.
- The Wildcats (41) trailed No. 4 KU (43) by two points and No. 3 Oklahoma (49) by eight points.
- Between Iowa State (2nd, 55 points) and K-State, the separation of 12 points is the narrowest margin in the poll’s history for second through fifth while the eight-point separation of third-fifth is the tightest since 2007.
- K-State finished the 2014 season fifth in the Big 12 standings, falling a win shy of placing in a tie with KU, Iowa State and Oklahoma for second.
- Only one team picked outside the top-two in the preseason poll went on to win the Big 12 title (K-State, 2003 - picked third).
- K-State leads, 1-0 … The first and only meeting took place in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament … The Wildcats beat the Rattlers, 3-1 (27-30, 30-14, 30-27, 30-28), on Dec. 1, 2005.
- K-State trails, 3-1
- K-State won the last meeting, which took place on August 29, 1997 in Honolulu, Hawaii, by a score of 3-1 (15-10, 15-10, 15-17, 15-11)
- All three of the Redbirds’ wins in the series occurred before 1980
- The first meeting took place on December 8, 1977
- All four meetings in the series have taken place at a neutral site.
- First meeting between the two schools.