May 20, 2013
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State Volleyball made its 14th NCAA Tournament last season, and the Wildcats will look to get back to the postseason in 2013 with six seniors returning for their final season with the Wildcats. The 2013 volleyball schedule will see a total of 12 matches against eight NCAA Tournament teams and the home schedule will have some international flavor.
One of the matches Head Coach Suzie Fritz is looking forward to on her team’s schedule is a home match against the Italian Under 23 National Team. The Wildcats will host the Italians at Ahearn Field House on September 24 at 7 p.m. as the team will travel across the country and play a number of top collegiate teams.
“This will be a tremendous opportunity, as the Italian teams traditionally play some of the best volleyball in the world,” Fritz said on hosting the U23 Italian team. “This team will be exceptionally competitive, and we will be one of their warm-up matches prior to heading to Mexico for the U23 World Championships.”
The Wildcats will play a total of 13 home matches this season, including the match against Italy, and host five matches against tournament teams. K-State’s first home match will be on Friday, September 6 against Southeast Missouri State when the Wildcats host the K-State Invitational. The two other teams playing in the K-State Invitational this season will be Siena and Southern Illinois. The K-State Invitational also will serve as the first Wildcat Weekend of the season with the football team playing Louisiana-Lafayette on September 7.
K-State opens the 2013 campaign on the road in Las Vegas for a tournament hosted by UNLV, August 30-31. The Wildcats will take on the hosting Runnin’ Rebels in addition to Cal State Fullerton and Portland.
Four of the Wildcats’ nonconference opponents went to the NCAA Tournament last season and the first one on the docket will be Tulsa with the Golden Hurricane traveling to Manhattan for a mid-week match at Ahearn on September 10. The Wildcats will then head to the West Coast to face two more NCAA Tournament teams at a tournament hosted by the Cal Golden Bears on September 13-14. The Cal Berkely tournament will also feature West Coast powers Santa Clara and Cal Poly. In 2012, Cal and Santa Clara both lost in the first round of the postseason, and Cal reached the national championship game in 2010. Cal Poly has a long tradition of postseason appearances as well.
After playing in Cal’s home tournament, the Wildcats will see another tournament team in the Arkansas Razorbacks when K-State travels to their tournament in Fayetteville on September 20-21. The Razorbacks also fell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and will welcome South Alabama and St. Louis to their tournament.
“Associate Head Coach Jeff Grove does an excellent job of researching available, competitive opportunities and nonconference tournaments to help get us a balanced and competitive schedule,” Fritz said. “We will get some nice early season challenges that again will help prepare us for the Big 12 season.”
Following the tournament at Arkansas, K-State will travel to Missouri State for a match on Sunday, September 22. The Bears played in Manhattan last season and the Wildcats traveled to one of Missouri State’s home tournaments during the 2011 season. K-State will then play the Italian U-23 team at 7 p.m. on September 24 before beginning Big 12 Conference play.
Conference action will start on the road for the Wildcats as they head to West Virginia for their first league match on September 27. K-State will then host its first two conference matches of the season with the first being the initial Dillons Sunflower Showdown against Kansas on October 2 before facing TCU on October 5. The Jayhawks reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, making their first appearance since 2005. After hitting the road for two matches against NCAA Tournament teams Iowa State and Oklahoma, K-State will return home to face Texas Tech on October 19.
“The Big 12 Conference is one of the best in the country, boasting the 2012 NCAA national champion. It is our desire and goal to always be one of the best teams in the league year to year, and this year will be no different, “Fritz said. “If you can be competitive in the Big 12, you can play with anyone in the country.”
K-State’s second Wildcat Weekend will be an exciting one with the football team playing host to West Virginia for the first time on October 26, and the volleyball team facing defending national champion Texas on the same day.
The Wildcats will play another NCAA Tournament team immediately following the Texas match with the Oklahoma Sooners coming to Ahearn on October 30.
November opens with a trip to Lubbock, Texas, to take on Texas Tech on November 6 before West Virginia makes its return visit to Manhattan a few days later. The second Sunflower Showdown is scheduled in Lawrence on November 16. The Wildcats will then play their second matches against Baylor, Texas and TCU before facing Iowa State at home on the final day of the regular season. The Cyclones reached the Regional Semifinals before falling to Stanford.
The match against Iowa State will serve as Senior Night for six seniors who have played a role in the Wildcats reaching the NCAA Tournament each of the last two seasons.
“We had a productive and beneficial spring, and I really like the direction that we’re headed in. This team has tremendous unity and work ethic,” Fritz said. “We have as strong of a senior class as we have had in some time, and they all bring unique and special leadership qualities to the team. If we follow their lead, they will take us a long way.”
Season tickets are currently on sale for the 13 home matches. An Early Bird special for online purchases expires on May 31. This year Reserved Chairback season ticket holders can receive a discount based on the number of matches they attend during the year, and a Wildcat 4 Pack offering four general admission bench tickets to every home match is available for just $120. For more information or to purchase season tickets, please contact the K-State Ticket Office at 1-800-221-CATS or online at kstatesports.com/tickets.