SE: Wildcat Newcomers Start Strong
Getting thrown into action as a true freshman isn’t always easy, but luckily for middle blocker Macy Flowers and outside hitter Alyssa Schultejans, they have each other to lean on.
The freshman duo – Flowers from Chanute, Kansas, and Schultejans from Silver Lake, Kansas – has been quick to make an impact on the court for the K–State volleyball team, and, with each match, the two have continued to grow and improve.
“Having Alyssa there helps ease the nerves a little bit,” said Flowers. “We’re both in the same boat figuring things out. We played our first college matches together, so we were going through the same thing.”
Schultejans and Flowers have played in every K-State set over the last month, accounting for more than 30% of the team’s kills (Schultejans: 70; Flowers: 66).
“I like being on the court with Macy,” said Schultejans. “I like having success with her. It puts both of us at ease knowing that were in the same shoes. We’re moving forward together and that is really comforting.”
Despite missing the first month of the season due to injury, Flowers was quick to turn heads once she stepped on the court.
The Chanute High School product leads the Wildcats with 33 blocks since she made her K-State debut on October 3 while her 83.5 points are the third most. Last week, Flowers earned Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors following solid performances in wins over West Virginia (Oct. 28) and TCU (Oct. 31). Against the Mountaineers, Flowers matched a career-high in kills with 11 while swinging at a .476 clip. Against the Horned Frogs, she recorded 10 kills and five blocks.
“When I came in this summer, I was so lost,” Flowers explained. “The speed of the game was so much quicker. I’d say I still have some work to do on the court, but I think I’ve definitely improved since I got here.”
While Flowers was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week last week, this week it was Schultejans’ turn for the recognition.
Schultejans led all Big 12 freshmen in kills (3.33), points (3.67) and aces (0.33) per set for the week of November 2 and helped K-State to its fourth-straight victory, tallying 10 kills against Texas Tech this past Saturday.
It marks the first time in school history that two different Wildcats have earned the Big 12 Rookie of the Week award in the same season and is proof of just how much of an impact these two freshmen have made on the court for the Cats.
“I’ve been very pleased with how the two of them have adapted and adjusted to their different situations,” said K-State head coach Suzie Fritz. “I love the way they learn, it has a lot to do with how they approach every day. They’ve very coachable and they take feedback. You can get on them and keep their expectations high. They’re pretty tough, and they’re great learners. All of that is allowing them to do the things they’re doing as freshmen.”
Schultejans is pacing all Big 12 freshmen this season with 0.25 aces per set, while her 20 aces overall are the most by a Wildcat freshman since current teammate Katie Brand had 27 in 2013. She is third on the Wildcats’ roster in both kills (212) and points (245.5).
“I think I’m turning a corner,” explained Schultejans on her game. “I had a little bit of a rough stretch, but I’m turning the corner now. I put a lot of pressure on myself because the outside hitter position is a pretty dominant role, but as the season goes on, I’ve eased into it and that helps a lot.”
While the two are making an impact together at the collegiate level, it’s not the first time they’ve played volleyball for the same team.
Flowers and Schultejans played for the Topeka Elite club volleyball team during their junior year of high school and also attended volleyball camps together growing up.
“We played club, went to camps, did all sorts of things together,” said Schultejans. “Now that we’re here, it’s been a blast. She makes me so much more comfortable because we already have so much experience together. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Added Flowers, “We were playing club ball together about the time we were both deciding where we were going to play for college. So when we both committed to K-State, it was really exciting.”
Now, as the two head into the final stretch of their freshman season at K-State, they couldn’t be more thrilled to see how their futures unfold.
K-State (15-8, 7-4 Big 12) is in the middle of a four-match home stretch and, after back-to-back wins over TCU and Texas Tech, is set to take on Oklahoma (8-14, 2-8 Big 12) tonight in Ahearn Field House at 7 p.m.
The Wildcats have won six of their last seven matches and are 7-1 at home this season. Tonight’s game will be aired on FOX College Sports and can be heard throughout the area on News Radio KMAN (93.3 FM/1350 AM).
“We have a tremendous environment (in Ahearn Field House)” said Fritz. “Our students are engaged in the match. Our support staff, the band, the cheerleaders, the Classy Cats, it’s a pretty cool atmosphere to be able to play volleyball in, and I think our kids get hyped about it.”
For more information about tonight’s matchup, please click here.