Aug. 7, 2013
MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State women's volleyball team was selected to finish fourth in the preseason 2013 Big 12 Conference coaches' poll released by the league office on Wednesday morning.
The Wildcats received 41 points to earn fourth place in the third-year of the nine-team conference configuration, 10 points behind third-place Kansas (51) and two ahead of fifth-place Oklahoma (39). Defending NCAA champion Texas was unanimously selected as the 2013 preseason favorite, garnering 64 points and eight of the nine possible first-place votes. It marks the sixth time in Big 12 history, including the third straight season, that the Longhorns have been the preseason favorite after winning the regular season title with a 15-1 mark a season ago.
Iowa State, which was picked second with 55 points, received the one other first-place vote. Baylor followed the top 5 in sixth place with 28 points, TCU and Texas Tech tied for seventh with 19 points each and West Virginia was selected ninth with eight points. Coaches are not permitted to vote for their own teams.
The fourth-place prediction is one spot below last season's pick of third place, which was the highest for K-State since being projected third in 2008. The Wildcats, who finished in fifth place in the Big 12 a year ago with an 8-8 record, have finished fifth or better in the league nine times in Fritz's 12 seasons as head coach.
"You are always pleased when your fellow coaches think enough of your team to pick them in the top third of a league as competitive as the Big 12," said head coach Suzie Fritz. "However, I'm not one to put a lot of stock in a preseason poll. We have a lot of improvements to make as a team, but our goal has and will be to finish in the upper third of this league and have an opportunity to compete in the NCAA Tournament."
On Tuesday, senior middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger and redshirt freshman setter Katie Brand were both honored by the Big 12, as Pelger was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Big 12 team and Brand was named as the league's co-Freshman of the Year. It marked the second straight year that Pelger was named to the preseason team, while Brand is the first Wildcat rookie to earn Preseason Freshman of the Year honors in the 18-year history of the league.
The Wildcats, who begin team practice on Saturday, return four starters and 10 letterwinners from a squad that posted a 21-9 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in Fritz's 12 seasons as coach.
Season tickets for the 13-match home schedule are currently on sale through the K-State Athletics Ticket Office and can be purchased a variety of ways, including toll free at (800) 221.CATS (2287), online at www.kstatesports.com/tickets and in-person at Bramlage Coliseum. A Wildcat 4 Pack can be purchased for just $120, which includes four general admission bench tickets to every home match. Single-match tickets go on sale Monday, August 19.
The Wildcats open the 2013 season on August 30 against Portland in the first of three matches at the UNLV Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev. The home season begins on Friday, September 6 with the K-State Invitational at Ahearn Field House.