SE: Get to Know the Newcomers: Zsofia Gyimes

August 25, 2015
By Kelly McHugh-Stewart

Before showing up for K-State volleyball’s fall camp two weeks ago, freshman Zsofia Gyimes of Budapest, Hungary, had never been to the Little Apple. 

The 6-foot-3 middle blocker had never stepped foot in the state of Kansas. As a matter of fact, she had never been to the United States. 

“I always wanted to come to the U.S. because it offers a great opportunity to study and do sports together,” explained Gyimes after finishing a practice in Ahearn Field House yesterday morning. “I met an old K-State volleyball player at home, Lilla Porubek (2010-13), and she told me all about K-State and how much she loved it. So I decided to contact (K-State head coach) Suzie Fritz.”

Gyimes (pronounced GHEE-mesh) contacted Fritz and began learning everything she could about Kansas State. She continued talking with Porubek, also from Budapest, as well as met with former K-State volleyball great Vali Hejjas (2003-04) of Kecskemet, Hungary, to hear about her time as a Wildcat. 

Through stories from the former volleyball student-athletes to the information provided by Fritz, it didn’t take Gyimes long to realize K-State was a special place. She was told about the family atmosphere and friendly people, and, much to her delight, the college town has yet to disappoint. 

“I’d never been to the U.S. before, and it’s very different,” said Gyimes with a smile, “but I think the biggest difference so far has been the people. The people are very nice. They’ve been very helpful. I heard that Manhattan is like a family, and it’s all been true. It’s crazy. I like that a lot.”

Gyimes comes to K-State after a stellar high school career in Hungary, capped with earning 2014 Hungarian Junior Female Player of the Year honors. She competed for her country in the 2014 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship and led her team in both points (3.2) and kills (2.6) per set, but that wasn’t her only time competing with the Hungarian National Team. In 2013 she competed in the CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship and led all attackers in hitting efficiency throughout the tournament. 

A player with a plethora of international experience, she was named the MVP at the Bear Wool Valley International Junior Tournament in Biella, Italy, in both 2012 and 2014.

“She’s adapting to a new culture, a new style and things are happening so fast for her right now, but she’s doing great given all those things,” said Fritz about her newest player. “She’s got a great attitude about everything. She understands it’s going to be a huge transition for her, but she’s loving being here and, just like all freshmen, everything is great to her right now. She’s doing wonderfully.” 

For most freshmen, going from the high school to collegiate level is quite a leap, but for Gyimes, the gap is even wider. Not only is she taking a step up in competition, but there are a few key differences between the European and the American volleyball game.  

“It’s much faster here,” said Gyimes when comparing volleyball in Hungary to how it’s played at K-State. “That’s the biggest difference, but there are a few rules that are different, too. At home, the liberos couldn’t serve and here they can, so that is weird at first, but I’m getting used to it. But, overall, it’s the same game, so that makes it a bit easier.”

Nonetheless, she is taking everything in day-by-day, learning, adapting and growing more and more. Planning on majoring in business, Gyimes, like all K-State students, started classes yesterday morning. Much of her choice to attend K-State was to obtain a quality education. So, while she is elated to be on the court, she is just as excited to begin her studies in the classroom as well. 

“For my freshman year, my goals are to get used to everything and have a good GPA this first semester,” she said. “Then in volleyball, I want to help the team to get better and I want to get better myself. That is why I came here.” 

Everything is new; everything is thrilling experience to Gyimes. She is soaking in a new culture, a new team, a new school and a new lifestyle all at once – and she’s loving every minute of it.

“My excitement level right now is about a 10 out of 10,” she laughed when asked about starting classes and the season. “I’m very excited about the school and about the games. I’m excited about everything. I cannot wait to get the season started and really see what it’s like. I can’t wait to see all the fans and everyone. I’ve never seen (Ahearn Field House) that way, so it will be exciting.” 

K-State kicks off its 2015 campaign with a trip to Coral Gables, Florida, for the Hurricane Invitational this Friday and Saturday. The Wildcats will face Florida A&M in their season opener on Friday at 5 p.m. (ET). On Saturday, K-State faces Illinois State in the morning (10 a.m. ET) before taking on tournament host Miami at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN3.
   
Season tickets for K-State’s entire 11-match home schedule are available now and start at less than $3 per match. To purchase season tickets, fans can click here, call 1-800-221-CATS (2287) or stop by the K-State Athletics Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum.
  
Single-match tickets are also available. For more information and a list of the season’s exciting promotions, click here.
  
For information about the Varney’s Invitational, held in Bramlage Coliseum from Sept. 4-5, please click here.