Zumach Makes Wildcat History

"I was shocked!" she exclaimed about finding out that she, for the third consecutive week, was awarded Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors.
Zumach's three consecutive league honors marks a feat never achieved in the Wildcat volleyball program - until last week, that is.
"It was crazy," she continued. "I had no idea I was the first person to do that, and then I saw the story later on K-State's website. I called my mom right away. It was really cool. Obviously I couldn't have gotten here without everyone on my whole team, but I was just shocked."
A key component to the Wildcats' success so far this season, Zumach's most recent player of the week honor came after earning Michigan Invitational MVP accolades. Last week, Zumach recorded double-digit kills in each of K-State's four matches totaling 61 kills over 16 sets. Against Eastern Michigan on Sept. 19, she dominated with 25 kills - the most by any player in the Big 12 this season and the most by a Wildcat since 2011.
Heading into Big 12 play this weekend, Zumach is ranked fourth in the conference in both kills (3.60/set) and points (3.98/set).
"I'm clicking with everyone on the court," explained Zumach on her success thus far this season. "Passing, sets from (redshirt sophomore setter) Katie Brand, blocking with our other middles - everything is just meshing so well right now. That's really helping."
Described by teammates as a hard worker, perhaps no one at K-State right now knows Zumach quite like redshirt sophomore middle blocker Katie Reininger. Zumach and Reininger are roommates as well as teammates, and Reininger had nothing but good things to say about her hard-working, talented friend. 
"She's been working so hard," said Reininger. "She has such a confidence about her, and she brings that to the court. I think it's awesome that, as a freshman, she's taken this big role onto her shoulders. Her stats are great, how she goes into a game is great, and she got some really intense points for us against Eastern Michigan. 
"She is working hard to make connections with every player on the team. She's really outgoing, bubbly and funny. We all connect with her in some way or another. It's awesome to see a freshman step up into that role."
K-State head coach Suzie Fritz has also obviously enjoyed Zumach's production on the court; however, it has come as no surprise to the Wildcat coach.
"I'm just happy she's playing well because it's good for our team," said Fritz. "After having Kylee all last spring, it became very clear that she was going to be an important part of what we were doing offensively."
Zumach, a native of Buffalo, Minnesota, graduated early from Buffalo High School and came to K-State just before the start of the spring 2014 semester. While having that extra experience has helped her adjust to being a collegiate student-athlete - and it would seem that she is fully adjusted by her recent success - she said there are still times when adjusting to a new lifestyle is difficult.
"It's pretty hard on my body; there's always more work to do, always homework to do," she said, "but since I came in during the spring, that's helped me so much. That helped my transition."
Serious about both volleyball and school work, through it all, Zumach said she looks to her teammates for support if she starts to feel overwhelmed.
"I really lean on my teammates," she continued. "They're just really good people to look up to. Some people are majoring in engineering, some want to be dentists, I just look at them and think, 'If they can do this, I can do this, too.' Our volleyball team has always been strong academically, and I want to live up to that. I want to help."
K-State volleyball kicks off its Big 12 season this weekend with a matchup against the Baylor Bears (9-5, 0-0 Big 12) at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Ahearn Field House. 
"I have goose bumps right now just thinking about it," said Zumach on the environment of Ahearn Field House. "I'm so excited and ready for Baylor. I just can't picture (the atmosphere) getting any better. Everyone tells me the atmosphere during conference gets better - all the fans get rowdier - I can't imagine that. I'm so excited. The culture here - I couldn't ask for anything better. This is the best as it gets."
K-State (13-1) will enter tomorrow's matchup coming off its first midweek bye in 2014. Fritz said having the extra time to work with her team in practice leading up to Baylor has been important in fine-tuning certain aspects of the game that needed improvement. 
However, with a group of young, hard-working individuals who have come together early and proven they have what it takes to be successful, the sky is the limit this year for the Wildcats.
"Going into Big 12 play, there should be some level of trepidation - a little bit of going into the unexpected and knowing that we have to raise our expectations," said Fritz. "Our level of play has to continue to rise. I think they're where they need to be. I think they feel good about what they've done and they should, but I think that they understand that there's still a lot of work to be done. I think they've got the right mentality."
 

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