Wildcat volleyball team wraps up season at NCAA Tournament

K-State Alumni Communications and K-State Athletics Communications

Kansas State University volleyball players huddle at the NCAA Tournament in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo: K-State Athletics Communications)

The Kansas State University volleyball team’s hard work during the 2015 season payed off with a trip to the NCAA Championship last month. Playing in its fourth NCAA Tournament over the last five years, K-State overcame a narrow first-set loss to the Shockers in first round of the Lincoln, Nebraska, tournament and won the second set 25-17. However, the Shockers claimed the next two matches and halted K-State’s postseason run.

Although the journey ended sooner than the Wildcats were hoping for, the season has still been quite a ride, with many positives to reflect back on.  

“I think progress,” K-State head coach Suzie Fritz said about her biggest takeaway from the season. “There were times that this young team was really coming together. But there are some inconsistencies there for us, and we’re hopeful we can grow out of those inconsistencies.”

K-State volleyball ended the season 17-12 (9-7 in the Big 12). This year’s squad was a youthful team, with four juniors, four sophomores, seven freshmen — and no seniors. After kicking off the year with a strong six-match winning streak, the Wildcats experienced some tough early-season losses. But they didn’t stop fighting, eventually earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament. 

That isn’t the only recognition the team has received this season — junior Kersten Kober kept up her 4.0 GPA and made Wildcat history by earning K-State volleyball’s first-ever Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. Five Wildcats also earned 2015 All-Big 12 Volleyball Team honors. Junior Katie Brand became the second K-State setter in program history to be named to the all-conference first team twice in a career. Juniors Brooke Sassin and Katie Reininger were named to the second team, while Macy Flowers and Alyssa Schultejans were selected for the All-Big 12 Freshman Team.

Kansas State University volleyball players celebrate at the NCAA Tournament in December. (Photo: K-State Athletics Communications)
“It says we’re all really working hard at all of our positions,” Reininger said of the honor. “We don’t just have one person on the All-Big 12 teams, we have a whole bunch of people. It shows we have depth, and we have a team that can fight and do great things together. [For me] it was exciting, and for a middle [blocker] to do that, you have to have a good pass, a good set and a good team around you. I think it’s an honor for the whole team.”

Coach Fritz is proud of her team’s progress, and she is looking forward to seeing what they can do next year.

“There are some days where I’m feeling really good about where we’re going, and then there are other days when we act like we’re young, and I think that’s to be expected,” she said. “They’re doing as to be expected, but I have been very, very pleased with their process. They have gone about it with great intention. They have worked very, very hard for us. They have tremendous character and are a really, really neat bunch of young people.”

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