Volleyball Focuses on Improvement First
For the 12-3 Wildcats (0-2 Big 12), at this point in the season, it's not just about winning matches; it's about finding consistency, improvement and focus. With those elements, head coach Suzie Fritz says, the winning will follow.
"We're a different team than we were when we started the season," Fritz said on Wednesday night after K-State fell, 3-0, to Kansas. "We've got different personnel and some people are having to take on more responsibility than they have in the preseason. We're adjusting to that and we're trying to do it as quickly as we possibly can."
Starting its 2013 season strong - including an upset win over then No. 23 California -K-State began Big 12 play having suffered one loss, a defeat to Santa Clara in the Hilton Garden Inn Invitational at Cal on Sept. 12.
So today, after back-to-back Big 12 losses, first at West Virginia on Sept. 27 followed by Wednesday night's loss to Kansas, the Wildcats have regrouped in preparation for tomorrow's match against TCU.
"There's no hanging your heads. You get back and get to work," junior Taylor Johnson said. "Now it's a clean slate. We're going to take it one game at a time and so it's get better and then take on TCU."
TCU (12-5, 1-2 Big 12) travels to Manhattan tomorrow after defeating West Virginia 3-1 in Fort Worth, Texas, on Wednesday evening. The Horned Frogs two Big 12 losses so far this season were to No. 4 Texas and Kansas.
"Now that we only have two matches a week it's nice that we can have that practice time, really work out those kinks and figure out new rotations that we have," senior Kaitlynn Pelger said. "We can really work on the passing and setter relationships and setter and hitter relationships. That's really going to be important."
Despite the loss, Pelger said her team's match against Kansas was a significant step up from its match at West Virginia.
"We went in to West Virginia and we felt really prepared coming off of a great preseason," Pelger explained, "but we went in there and just didn't play like we were supposed to. We didn't play well at all. Right after that game we talked about how we need to get in practice and get better and that was the most important thing.
"Although we did lose (to Kansas), we came in and we played 100 percent better than we did last Friday against West Virginia, so we were happy about that. It's disappointing to lose, but we're excited to get back in and see another exciting match on Saturday against TCU."
K-State took Kansas into extra points in two of its three sets on Wednesday falling 31-29, 26-24 and 25-19. The first two matches were filled with intensity and excitement and, as head coach Suzie Fritz said, they "could have gone either way had we maybe caught a break one way or the other."
With TCU on its mind now, K-State volleyball has put the close loss to Kansas behind it.
"We play over 30 matches a year, you don't get to hang on to them very long," Fritz said about the quick turnaround heading into TCU tomorrow. "You're always looking ahead, you're always looking at what's next. I still think that our focus is on how good can we get and how fast can we get there."
And according to Fritz, her team is more than ready to get back to collecting W's.
"I think they're hungry. I think they're a little ticked off, and I think that's good," Fritz said. "I think they know what they're capable of, and I think they feel like they're close. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when, and we've bought in to that philosophy. It's not a matter of if we can get there it's a matter of how long it's going to take us."
Tomorrow's match against the Horned Frogs is at 7 p.m. in Ahearn Field House and will be aired on Fox College Sports Central by K-StateHD.TV, or you can listen to the match live on KMAN 1350.