Newcomers Making Presence Felt

MANHATTAN, Kan. They may be fresh faces on campus, but four Kansas State volleyball players have not let that keep them from making a quick impact in summer workouts. Three freshmen and a junior college transfer join the Wildcats this season and head coach Suzie Fritz said all four have adjusted and then some after their first week of training camp.


The newcomers bring a variety of experience and add more talent to a Wildcat team picked to finish third in the strong Big 12 Conference this year. The class includes: freshman Kathleen Ludwig, a left-handed outside hitter from Shawnee, Kan.; Melanie Delimont a freshman middle blocker from Wichita; Izabela Grot, a freshman outside hitter from Poland; and Soriana Pacheco a junior college transfer from Western Nebraska.


Pacheco comes to K-State from junior college power Western Nebraska where she helped lead the Cougars to the NJCCA National Championship last season and the championship match her freshman year. She is a two-time junior college All-American and was named Junior College Player of the Year last season. She is expected to compete for the starting setter position alongside redshirt freshman Abby Fay.


“Soriana has had tremendous success thus far in her career, both as the setter for the Venezuelan National Team and as the Junior College Player of the Year at Western Nebraska Community College,” Fritz said. “She has a great deal of experience that will serve her well in her efforts to challenge for the setting position. She has great setting instincts and a very high volleyball I.Q.”


Grot adds to the strong list of international players already on the Wildcat volleyball team and a lot of experience at a high level. Grot helped her club team in Poland reach the final tournament of the Junior Polish Championship three times. She also played for the Junior National Team from 2003-05.


“Izabela is very talented and hard working player. She is an efficient and terminal attacker that will work into the outside hitter rotation,” Fritz said. “She is skilled and proficient in all areas of the game, and is adaption quickly to our systems and style of play.”


The final two newcomers are both products of the state of Kansas to join a roster filled with student-athletes mainly from Kansas. Delimont has shown signs early in practice of becoming a strong Wildcat in the future after just a week and really turned the heads of the coaching staff. She brings two league MVP’s with her from Andover High School and a Class 4A state championship.


“Melanie has surpassed my expectations for her during the first week of practice,” Fritz said. “She is a fast learner and has quickly embraced the way that we want to play volleyball at K-State. She has a great deal of untapped potential and it will be exciting to see her development over the next few years.”


Ludwig also was a two-time league MVP in high school at Bishop Miege where she helped lead the team to a 5A State Championship. She received a number of accolades her senior season including the Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year and the prestigious Evelyn Gates Award. Fritz said Ludwig adds more than just talent and ability to the practices as well.



“Kathleen has had an excellent start to her career at K-State during our first week of practice,” Fritz said. “She has an extraordinary personality that has enhanced our practice environment from Day One. She has a fast arm and the ability to play very fast and comes to us with excellent club and high school volleyball experiences.”


Wildcat fans will be able to get their first peek at the newcomers this weekend at the annual Purple/White Match. The match will be a part of day full of volleyball activities at Ahearn Field House on Saturday beginning at 4:30 p.m. with Media Day. The annual Alumni Match will be played at 6 p.m. shortly followed by the Purple/White.