SE: K-State Soccer Makes Debut to Fans

For the players tired of only putting on practice gear and the fans eager to see the Kansas State women’s soccer team in action, Saturday’s Purple-White scrimmage provided both groups joy. 

The White team came out on top, 2-0, but the night was about much more than the final score. 

“This night was all about tradition,” freshman goalkeeper Andi Wenck said. “It was great to finally get out here and compete. I think it was great to really be in this new environment on this new field with all of the fan support. I couldn’t ask for a better way to start our inaugural season here.”

Hundreds of fans packed the K-State Soccer Complex for the program’s first public display, learning Wildcat-themed chants and cheering on the new team. 

“There were a lot more fans than I expected. It was really great,” said redshirt freshman Madison Wedekind. “I love our fans. They were all practicing their little cheers, so I’m really excited to see what the turnout’s going to be once we get even more people and once we start playing real games.”

The scrimmage, broken up into three 30-minute periods, included a number of firsts. 

Wedekind netted the first goal off an assist from Katie Cramer at the 40:08 mark of the match. Even in a scrimmage, Wedekind said it was hard to contain her excitement.  

“I couldn’t really believe that I got one of the first goals on the field for K-State in the first Purple-White scrimmage ever,” she said. “It’s exciting.” 

Morgan Hensley added to White’s lead in the 71st minute, blasting a shot from 20 yards out into the net to finish with an assist from Allie Luna. Wenck’s nine saves in goal highlighted her shutout, though she was quick to share the accomplishment. 

“It was absolutely great, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the great team I had,” she said. “It was a great night.” 

Head coach Mike Dibbini agreed on a number of fronts.  

“I thought it was a great experience. We’re still undefeated, so that’s good,” he said, with a laugh. The fan turnout, Dibbini added, was “great to see.”

On the field, Dibbini saw little separation in battles for playing time, making his job “more difficult,” but in a good way. 

“You could see the progression from one quarter to the end in terms of we came out a little bit frantic and a little bit jittery, and we tried to play a little bit too direct in the first quarter,” he said. “By the last quarter, you saw a lot more possession with a purpose, switching the point of attack a little bit more. We got work to do. However, I saw a lot of great things today.”

Where the Wildcats, who will host Washburn for a scrimmage on Tuesday, August 16, have grown the fastest is in their chemistry with each other. With more than 30 players on the roster, cohesion takes time and effort.

“It’s difficult starting a program from scratch because they don’t know each other’s names (at first),” Dibbini said. “We’ve been doing some team-building activities to help build that cohesion, which has helped a lot in the last three or four days.”

Wenck said the communication was a bright spot from Saturday’s scrimmage, as was the overall competitiveness brought to the field. 

“That’s one of our three core values is being able to compete as a Big 12 team, to be competitive, go after what we want, know our style of play and keep ourselves accountable to that,” she said, with K-State’s season opener set for August 19 at Saint Louis. “We were just trying to come out here, compete against ourselves and really show people that we’re here to make some noise.”

Men’s Basketball Displays New Team Before Trip to Italy, Switzerland 

It had been a while since Wesley Iwundu threw down a dunk and heard a crowd roar immediately afterwards. The senior felt the thrill of both in Saturday’s open scrimmage in Bramlage Coliseum, where he flushed a dunk to highlight his 17-point performance in the Wildcats’ final practice before their 10-day trip to Italy and Switzerland, which begins today.

“It felt good, playing in front of some of the fans,” Iwundu said. “It’s always special playing in front of them and showing them what the new team looks like.”

To the roughly 1,000 fans in attendance, K-State’s men displayed their progress from the 10 allotted practices this summer. The newcomers also got the chance to show their abilities, one of which is to protect the rim more effectively with redshirt freshmen Isaiah Maurice (6-foot-10) and Dante Williams (7-foot) in the mix. 

“The size is going to help a lot this year,” Iwundu said. “That helps us out a lot on defense. It’s just going to be good for us all around.” 

If the five-game experience in Europe goes as planned, it will also be good for the Wildcats, who won a share of the Big 12 Championship in 2012-13 after an offseason trip to Brazil. 

“That year they had a share of the Big 12 (Championship), so it was pretty big for them,” Iwundu said. “It will be a good experience for the new guys and for us as well. Putting our games up against different competition, it will be good for us.”

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