Wildcats Hold NCAA Regional Press Conference

Dec. 5, 2011

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State volleyball coach Suzie Fritz and selected players spoke with members of the media on Monday before leaving for the NCAA Regional Semifinals in Hawaii. The Wildcats take on No. 15 seed Pepperdine at 9 p.m. CST on Friday from the Sheriff Center in Honolulu.

Head Coach Suzie Fritz
Opening Statement …
“We felt really composed and confident our in abilities to continue to play. We have said for months that we wanted to play our best volleyball in November, so during those times when the ebbs and flows were a little bit more dramatic, we just kept going. I think we are really playing our best volleyball right now. We just, without question, are where we want to be in December.”

On her team’s win over Nebraska…
“To be honest, we have moved on pretty quick. It was huge. It was big-time. It was one of the most significant wins in our program’s history. It was certainly one of the biggest wins that I have ever been a part of. We have had the opportunity to beat Nebraska before but they are few and far between. Then to be able to do that in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament to advance is very special.”

On traveling to Hawaii…
“It is a little further to go but we have a lot of help. Our director of operations has been working non-stop since we won the match against Nebraska, so we are ready to go. It will take us a little longer to get there but we are leaving a day ahead of time so we will have some time to adjust to the time change. But it is just business as usual, for the most part. We are going to try and have a little fun because we will be in Honolulu and (the weather) is nicer there than it is here.”

On Pepperdine…
“We are just beginning our preparations for them. But I think they are very balanced. I think they are very good at the pins and generally when you get to this point, if you can have two or three pin-hitters of that caliber, then you can be in it and play with anybody and I think they have got that.”

On her thoughts after beating Nebraska…
“I am going to be honest; I thought we could play with them. I was excited that we won. But I think that the bus ride home was the extent of it. But I worried about what was next because that is my job and that is what we do. Our kids were excited about it but I cannot say that they feel like that is the end for us. We had a great practice today. They came in today as though they wanted to keep playing. I think they are proud of it, and they should be. They have earned that right. I get the sense that it is one of, what we hope, a few more here.”

On Kuulei Kabalis playing in her home state…
“It is awesome. There is a little bit of a background story where we’re trying to take her home in the preseason next year but that ended up not working out. So it is a blessing. She is so excited. I think she has about 900 people that are planning to attend that match to support her and to support us, so we will have our own little cheering section.”

On playing in the Sweet 16…
“I think they just need to do what got them here. I do not think that we have the time to all of the sudden reinvent the wheel. I think that we have progressively gotten better, which is a source of tremendous pride for me as their coach. I think we just need to do what we have done that got us to this point.”

Sophomore Kaitlynn Pelger
On the win over Nebraska…
“It was really great. Throughout the match, I knew that we had to stay confident and composed. That last point, where I went back to serve was kind of a blur. When Alex (Muff) went up and blocked that ball, I think (Kathleen) Ludwig and I jumped up in the background and got a little excited. Then after (Gina) Mancuso made that hitting error, it was the best feeling ever.”

On focusing on the task at hand…
“I think you can only talk about a win for so long. We came in today, got better and talked about Pepperdine a little bit. Our coaches are going to prepare us when we get to Hawaii. We are just excited that we are playing our best volleyball right now.”

On the support from the Wildcat Nation…
“When we got back into the locker room, we had a lot of tweets, Facebook messages and text messages. They were so excited. It is just so great to have the support from everyone.”

Junior Kuulei Kabalis
On returning to her home state…
“It is so exciting for me and my team. I am so excited to bring them back with me to my home rock and play in front of people that I know and my family. I never get this kind of opportunity, so it is huge.”

On beating Nebraska…
“It was huge. I think it really showed our dedication to volleyball and our hard work that we have given throughout the entire season. We believed that we could do it and we just beat them.”

On her thoughts after beating Nebraska …
“I was just ready to go back to Hawaii. I just tried to stay confident and composed, just knowing that when we got that last point, we were going to the Sweet 16.”

On thinking about playing in Hawaii…
“I actually did not think about that. I just focused on every opponent one at a time. But right after we beat Nebraska, my thoughts switched and I was just ready to go home.”

On her family’s ability to attend Friday’s match…
“It is a couple islands away from each other, so it is just a 45-minute plane ride. It is nothing too terrible.”