SE: Fritz Likes Commitment of Volleyball Team

Kaitlynn Pelger was one of three Wildcat to earn Preseason All-Big 12 honors

Aug. 12, 2012

To have K-State Sports Extra delivered to your inbox each morning, click here.

By Mark Janssen

The date December 2, 2011, is not to be forgotten by the K-State volleyball team.

After all, the Wildcats' historic five-set win (25-22, 22-25, 31-29, 22-25, 15-11) over No. 2 Nebraska in Lincoln and in the NCAA Tournament is in the conversation of being Kansas State's single-greatest moment of the 2011-12 year.

However, K-State volleyball coach Suzie Fritz says, "That's a thing of the past."

But she quickly adds, "Success does breed confidence. Having success makes you believe you can have more of it, but that particular moment doesn't exist anymore. Whether good or bad, you can't hang on to any one moment too long."

Kansas State's 2012 volleyball team reported to camp on Tuesday and opened practices on Wednesday with the entire starting lineup returning from last year's 22-11 team, which included NCAA Tournament wins over Wichita State and Nebraska before being eliminated by Pepperdine in the Sweet 16.

"This is a bunch of kids who have had success and want to add to that success we enjoyed last year," said Fritz, who begins her 12th season guiding the Wildcats. "This year there's another level of confidence that we didn't have going into last season."

Coming off summer workouts, Fritz said, "As coaches, we can't be a part of those, but all indications are that they were very consistently committed to improving. Every indication is that their internal expectations are pretty high for the type of season they want to have. Now, it's just a matter of focusing on the process of how to get there."

Backtracking even further, Fritz called the organized workouts of last spring as being "... as committed as we've ever had."

K-State will open the season with its own tournament that will include Oakland, Oregon State and UC Irvine on August 24-25.

BIG 12 RECOGNIZES WILDCATS: Kansas State had three honorees make the preseason All-Big 12 list selected by the coaches. Junior middle blocker and Volleyball Magazine All-American Kaitlynn Pelger was a unanimous selection by the league's coaches after earning All-Big 12 First Team last season. Senior setter Caitlyn Donahue and junior outside hitter Lilla Porubek join Pelger on the Preseason All-Big 12 Team.

K-State was joined by Texas and Iowa State as the only teams to each have three players selected to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team.

K-STATE NO. 3: The Wildcats were picked to finish behind favorite Texas and second-place Iowa State in the Preseason Big 12 Poll. Texas was predicted to finish first for the fifth time in conference history and received eight first-place votes for a total of 64 points. Iowa State received one first-place vote to give the Cyclones a total of 54 points. K-State was only one point behind the Cyclones.

Rounding out the standings were Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas, TCU, Texas Tech and West Virginia.

ONE GONE, TWO NEW: The lone 2011 roster member no longer on the team is Ashley Kelican, a backup setter, who graduated in three years and is now continuing her education in K-State's vet school, but without volleyball.

The new additions to the team are freshmen setter Katie Brand from Grand Island, Neb., and senior walk-on Ali Boehler, a defensive specialist who played at Southeastern Missouri State for one year as a libero.

2012 ROSTER: K-State's 16-member roster includes five seniors, six juniors, four sophomores and one freshman. It also includes 10 Kansans and three native Nebraskans, plus another - Kuulei Kabalis - who transferred from Western Nebraska and is K-State's first player from Hawai'i.

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 either Mark Janssen or Kansas State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.