Cats Selected to NCAA Tournament Field

MANHATTAN, Kan. For the 11th time in 12 years, Kansas State has earned a berth to the NCAA Volleyball Championship tournament, as the ninth-seeded Wildcats will host the first and second round in Ahearn Field House Fri.-Sat., Nov. 30-Dec. 1. K-State will take on Tulsa in first-round action at 7:30 p.m. CT Friday night, following a match between Missouri State and Oregon set for 5:30 p.m.


“It feels great (to return to the tournament),” head coach Suzie Fritz said. “This is what we try to do every year. It was a difficult day for me pacing around, waiting for 7 o’clock to roll around.”


The Wildcats were chosen in the 64-team field to the Stanford region, which contains the tournament’s No. 1 seed in Stanford. Also in the region are prior opponents from the 2007 season in No. 8 UCLA and No. 16 Cal Poly.


This year marks the fourth year of Fritz’ career to host first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament in Manhattan and a first since 2003.


“To play the first two rounds at home is a very big deal,” Fritz said. “We get our fans there; we get the purple there. We need the purple to respond and them there in full force both nights, but first and foremost against Tulsa Friday night. I am happy to be playing at home. I feel it is a significant advantage to be able to play at home.”


K-State and Tulsa (27-8) will be matching up against each other for the 25th time in history, as the Wildcats hold a 22-2 advantage over the Golden Hurricane. This season marks the first-ever appearance for Tulsa in the tournament as the Hurricane earned an automatic bid by winning the Conference USA title.


Oregon, who finished the season with a 20-10 record, will travel to Manhattan to face Missouri State who boasts a 25-7 overall record after losing in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. K-State has only played Oregon once in school history, as the Cats defeated the Ducks 3-0 in 1996. The Bears of Missouri State own a 13-5 series record over KSU, but K-State has won the last three meetings.


Nebraska, Penn State and Texas finish out the top four seeds. Along with the Wildcats, Huskers and Longhorns, the Big 12 Conference’s top three finishers, the league provided three additional squads to the tournament. Oklahoma is bracketed with Texas in the Gainesville, Fla., regional, Missouri was picked in the University Park, Pa., region, and Iowa State and Nebraska were chosen for the Madison, Wis., regional.


All-session tickets will be available for admission to the first two rounds in Manhattan: adult $12, senior $10 and students/youth $6. Tickets may be purchased by calling (800) 221-CATS or visiting starting 9 a.m. Mon, Nov. 26th.