Aug 21, 2013
They may be teammates, but for one night, the K-State volleyball team will square off against each other in the annual Purple/White Scrimmage. The preseason tune-up is scheduled for 7 pm at Ahearn Field House.
Admission is free to fans as this provides an opportunity for Cats supporters to see the team before it starts its season in Las Vegas next week for the UNLV Invitational.
For Head Coach Suzie Fritz, the Purple/White Scrimmage is an opportunity to see her team put plays and tendencies together in a game setting.
As a primer, here are five things to watch for in the Purple/White:
1. Remove three-year starting setter Caitlynn Donahue and what do you get? A large hole to fill at the "quarterback" position on the court. Don't tell redshirt freshman Katie Brand, though, those are big shoes to fill. Brand gets it already. She sat out all of last season as a redshirt watching and learning from Donahue, using the time on the bench as an opportunity to not only learn about her teammates but also her Big 12 opponents. She has even drawn the praise of her teammates for being a "gym rat." Brand will start the season as the Wildcats starting setter, a position she has been waiting to fill since she stepped on campus back in 2012.
2. Kaitlynn Pelger enters her final year of an already accomplished career, and she is chomping at the bit to go in 2013. While she has nothing to prove in a preseason scrimmage (two-time AVCA All-America Honorable Mention gets one that type of hall pass), the Olathe, Kansas native does need the time in the scrimmage to show how she can mesh with new setter, Brand. They played together in the World University Games, but the Purple/White allows them to use the last seven months of working together in a simulated game.
3. The outside hitter position is the most experienced on the Wildcats roster, led by returning starters Courtney Traxson and Lilla Porubek. Add in fellow seniors Dakota Kaufman and Courtney Cook, plus junior Chelsea Keating who appeared in 21 matches last season, the group of outside hitters will need to show a veteran presence helps a team upfront.
4. Senior Tristan McCarty will be the leader on this year's squad. The Manhattan native was the starting defensive specialist in 2012 and will fill the libero position in 2013, a role she occupied during the World University Games. The Purple/White scrimmage may not require pompous leadership, but like a true leader, McCarty will not let her teammates slip during this time of learning.
5. There are four true freshman, two transfers, and one redshirt freshman on the Wildcats this season. The Purple/White will offer an opportunity to see where they will fit in. Some may have already seized a starting role (Brand) and others may already have Division I experience at their positions (Katie Reininger), but others are either new to the collegiate level (Kersten Kober, Bailey Shurbet, Mattie Batchelder, Brookelyn Langhaim) or trying a new position on a new team (Dallas Gardner, going from setter with Northwest Missouri State to defensive specialist with K-State).