Q&A With Volleyball's Kylee Zumach

A native of Buffalo, Minnesota, Zumach is off to a solid start on the court in her first season with the Wildcats. So far this season, Zumach is third in the Big 12 in both kills (252) and points (278.5).
The freshman has already made K-State volleyball history by becoming the only Wildcat to earn four Big 12 player of the week awards in a single season along with becoming the only player to win three consecutive conference player of the week awards (Sept. 8 - Sept. 22). Her four weekly awards are already the second-most by a Wildcat for an entire career, trailing Kaitlynn Pelger (2010-13), who earned eight.
K-State Sports Extra sat down with Zumach for this month's Q&A. Here's what she had to say:
SE: First off, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your role with the K-State volleyball team?
KZ: On the court, I think I have a really serious presence, but off the court I'm really goofy and awkward. I'm a completely different person on and off the court, and my teammates say it's really funny to see that transition.
SE: You're the first volleyball player to earn four Big 12 Player of the Week awards in one season, the first to earn three of those in three consecutive weeks. How exciting is that for you, as a freshman, to come in and make such an impact?
KZ: It's really exciting. I wanted to come here and make an impact right away. That's what I told the coaches and my parents, that was my goal. It feels awesome to do that, but with that being said, I couldn't have done it without everyone on the whole team helping me. From the coaches, to the girls on the bench, to the girls I'm playing with, they all play a big role in that.
SE: When you step out on the court, are you just in kind of a vibe right now? 
KZ: Yeah, there's been a lot of ups and downs, coming in and learning the new system, but so far during the season, it's been all been really fun. I've been working hard and things are going great.
SE: Do you have any pregame superstitions that you've used this season to get you ready to play?
KZ: I always have to put on my left sock, right sock, left knee pad, right knee pad, left shoe, right shoe, and then we always listen to like the same 10 songs as a team before we play. We get really pumped up with that.
SE: It seems like everyone on this team has a really good connection. How much fun is this team having right now?
KZ: I'm honestly having so much fun. It's fun to win, but on top of that, it's been so much fun to just gel with everyone so well. We always have a great time on the court. You could walk in the gym, and we could be down five points but you wouldn't be able to tell because we're always positive, and we always have each other's back. It's always a great time.
SE: Now that you've played a few games in Ahearn Field House, can you describe that environment and what it's like to play in it?
KZ: Oh my gosh, it's awesome. The Purple Pit over there, they're so loud. Out of all the Big 12 schools that we've been to so far, our fan base is by far the best. Just looking up and seeing everyone, it's so awesome. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. I'm just so blessed that I have the opportunity to play somewhere like here.
SE: What's the best part of being a student-athlete at K-State?
KZ: Probably how well respected and known student-athletes are around campus and in the community. Little kids know who we are, grandparents know who we are. They all treat you so well and you form such good connections with everyone. It's going to be awesome to have that while I'm playing and after I'm done playing.
SE: How has having a family full of volleyball players helped you on the court?
KZ: Oh my gosh it's been so helpful! My parents actually met playing beach volleyball, so they're both really knowledgeable in the sport. My mom was my coach eighth grade year, 11th grade and 12th grade year, so it's helped so much. Even though she's not here, I get texts sometimes saying, 'make sure to do this, this is always open' - she's just so helpful. My younger sister actually plays volleyball too, so it's just a huge volleyball community at my house back home. It's been nothing but helpful.
SE: One thing that K-State is known for is its swing block, but which do you enjoy more: a solo block or killing the ball terminal straight to the floor?
KZ: I think as an outside hitter I get more excited when I get that big kill because that's just my position. To put the ball away big and be dynamic, but definitely getting a stuffed block is a close second. The whole team freaks out. It's the best seeing Jeff Grove stand up and get excited, so they're really close, but I'd have to say getting a big kill.
SE: Finally, what are your goals for the rest of this season?
KZ: I think the whole team is on the same page. We want to be a contender for a Big 12 Championship and we want to make it pretty far in the (NCAA) tournament this year. Every day, Coach Suzie (Fritz) says to come in and earn one point at a time. I think we're all just trying to earn a point at a time, but looking ahead, we all want to do great and I think we have the opportunity to do that.
 

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Kelly McHugh or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.