Headlines 2008


12/23/08  Cats #20 in the final AVCA poll
The final AVCA poll came out today, listing the K-State Cats at #20. After appearing in the preseason poll at #14, the rankings were: 20, 19, 18, 17, 17, 16, 15, 13, 16, 15, 14, 13, 13, 16 and 20. When you look at the collection of seven previous national champions in the top ten, averaging #15 for the season is a very fine accomplishment.
12/17/08  Nataly's an All-American.
Senior outside hitter Nataly Korobkova has once again been named a third team All-American, as announced today by the AVCA at their annual convention. The Big 12 captured nine of the 42 All-American honors. Here's the release from Sports Information. Thanks to Nataly for two great years as a Wildcat, and the best of luck in the future.
12/14/08  Nebraska and Texas in the NCAA semifinals
Texas defeated Iowa State in the final eight in the NCAA tournament on Saturday afternoon, and will face Stanford on December 18. Iowa State took a set away from Texas.

It was the Huskers vs. the Huskies in Seattle. Nebraska got into a barnburner with Jim McLaughlin's Washington team late Saturday night. Washington won the first two sets 25-14, 25-23. Then the Cornhuskers got irritated and got busy. They prevailed 25-17, 26-24, taking Washington to a fifth set. Enroute to their winning score of 15-13, Nebraska fired off nine consecutive points, coming from way behind, and who else but Jordan Larson laid a service ace on Washington to win the match. Nebraska now gets an encounter with Penn State, who have not lost a single set all season long.

12/01/08  Rita, Nataly and Megan named All-Big 12
The Big 12 Conference announced the 2008 postseason awards today. As expected, Rita Liliom, Nataly Korobkova and Megan Farr were named to the All-Big 12 team. In all matches played, Rita was second in kills and second in points. Nataly was tenth in kills and tenth in points. Megan was fourth in hitting percentage and third in blocks. See K-State's release and the Big 12's announcement for full details. Congratulations to these three outstanding players. Your tremendous contributions to our program will always be remembered.
11/30/08  The Cats are headed to the NCAA tournament.
K-State (#13, 24-7) is matched with Santa Clara (RV, 17-9) on Friday, Dec. 5 in Seattle, Washington. There are a few things of interest to mention. The Cats played Santa Clara on May 3 in their invitational, so there will be some familiarity. I never did learn the outcome, as Santa Clara didn't do a good job of reporting their spring invitational. Santa Clara is 1-0 vs. the Cats. The teams met in 2006.

If the Cats get by Santa Clara, for the second consecutive NCAA tournament, they will face their old coach. This time it would be Jim McLaughlin (who hired Suzie Fritz) and his Washington Huskies (24-4). We'd get a shot at the #5 team in the nation in second round of the tournament, on their court. Washington defeated Nebraska for the national championship in 2005, by the way.

Look to the navigation column on the left on this page (or the main page) for NCAA Bracket 2008 (pdf), for continually-updated tournament results. Click here for the NCAA's slightly more official version. (Mine probably will print easier.)

Sports Information has their tournament announcement up on their site.

11/28/08  NCAA Tournament Selection Show on Nov. 30
The Cats will have a team dinner at Paddy O'Quigley's in the Clarion Hotel on Sunday, November 30. The NCAA tournament bracket will be revealed on ESPNU from 9:00 to 9:30 P.M. Central Standard Time. The selection show will be repeated or summarized on ESPNews starting about 9:30 P.M. Here's a link for television coverage of select matches of the NCAA tournament. Here's the release from Sports Information.
11/17/08  Kelsey Chipman is Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week!
As you can see below, I've been promoting Kelsey for Offensive Player of the Week for the past 1.5 weeks. I didn't know if she was eligible. Maybe not. Anyway, our pals at the Big 12 gave her Defensive Player of the Week. Here's the Big 12's release, which I'm swiping and putting right here.

Kelsey Chipman, Kansas State, MB, Jr., 6-1, Topeka, Kan./Washburn Rural

"Chipman paced the Big 12 last week with a block-per-set average of 1.67. She stuffed eight Colorado attempts, including two solos and six assists, in a 3-1 victory on Wednesday. The Washburn Rural product then recorded seven blocks against No. 4 Texas on Saturday. Offensively, Chipman averaged 4.00 points and 2.89 kills while maintaining a .532 attack percentage. She was errorless against the Longhorns and amassed a season-best 17 kills at CU."

11/15/08  #4 Texas prevails in five sets
As Coach Grove told us after the match, it shouldn't have gone to five. The two-point loss of set one was the difference. As I pointed out to my friends, the Cats and the Horns were exactly equal in points after four sets. K-State almost made a legendary comeback after falling short in sets one and two.

Nataly Korobkova led in scoring with 24 points, second only to Engle of Texas, with 25. Rita Liliom added 20 points and eight digs. Dan, my neighbor on Row One, and I were watching Kelsey's efficiency in warm-ups, and agreed that she was destined to have a big night. Kelsey had 13 points and zero errors, hitting .529. Listen to me closely, as Mitch Holthus used to say. In the past three matches, Kelsey Chipman has totaled one error in 60 attempts. Over those three matches, Kelsey has hit .517. The Big 12 needs to consider her for Offensive Player of the Week. Soriana Pacheco hit .667 and had 55 digs and an ace.

Our Cats were not intimidated by a higher-ranked and seriously huge team. This confidence and composure will serve them well as the conference season winds down. Go Cats!

11/12/08  Kelsey leads the Cats to victory in the Rockies!
Junior middle blocker Kelsey Chipman recorded a match-high 23 points in a hard fought match against Colorado tonight. She hit .533, and had one error in 30 attempts. This, in combination with her zero-error performance vs. Nebraska on Saturday, makes for quite a week. I actually don't know if a middle blocker can win Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, but I hope so.

Oops! Let's not go one sentence farther without congratulating Suzie Fritz on becoming K-State's winningest coach in both total wins and percentage. She surpassed long-time coach Scott Nelson with her record of 169-76, which translates to 69%. I know we all agree on how fortunate we are to have Suzie, Jeff and Justin leading this excellent program.

Rita Liliom was her usual soon-to-be All-American self with her total of 18.5 points and 11 digs (for a double-double). All-American Nataly Korobkova tossed in 18 points. Captain Megan Farr was extremely efficient (no surprise), contributing 14.5 points on .458 hitting, with one error.

Thanks to Captain Jenny Jantsch, injured this past week, who very fittingly ended the match with her 134th career service ace. She's closing in on Angie "Ace" Lastra's career total!

While the Cats defeated Colorado 3-1 tonight, it was two weeks ago that Colorado defeated Nebraska 3-1 on that same court, providing their only loss of the season. That should help to demonstrate the awesomeness of our 22-5 Wildcats!

What's going on with KMAN? The match was obviously called into the station on a cellular phone. We completely missed Coach Ingram's post-match interview, as well as Suzie's pre-match comments.

11/11/08  Big 12 teams beating up on each other
Have you studied your Big 12 standings lately? We have a very competitive conference, I think. Nebraska (23-1) is #3 in this week's AVCA poll, followed by #4 Texas (19-3). Kansas State (21-5) is #14. Iowa State's RV. Back to the Big 12 standings: Of the 11 teams, only four have a winning conference record: Nebraska (14-1), Texas (12-2), K-State (11-4) and Iowa State (8-7). But look at the mischief some of the mid-range teams have been up to: Oklahoma (6-20) beat Texas in Austin two weeks ago. On that same night, Colorado (6-8) beat Nebraska. KU (6-9) took a set from Nebraska, and took us to five sets in October. Missouri and Baylor are giving tough competition. Considering some of this, 21-5 looks very good.
11/08/08  Cats give Nebraska all they can handle
K-State kept #3 Nebraska on their toes tonight in Lincoln. The first two sets were back and forth. In set 1, the Cats outhit the Huskers .548 to .410, but ultimately lost 25-23 after six ties. The second set saw significant runs by both teams, but NU slipped by, winning 25-22. A large Husker lead in set 3 sealed the deal, with a final score of 25-17. Rita Liliom led in scoring with 15 points on .345 hitting. Nataly Korobkova added 13 points. Kelsey Chipman was very efficient. She hit .462 with zero errors, contributing seven points. It was a strong showing by the Wildcats in front of a sellout crowd, playing an outstanding opponent.
11/08/08  Jenny, Kelsey and Megan named to academic all-district team
Three Kansas State volleyball players were named to the CoSIDA ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VII team. Kelsey Chipman and Megan Farr were named to the third team, and Jenny Jantsch was a second-team selection. Kelsey has a 3.88 GPA as a junior in life science/pre-med. Jenny is working on a master's in accounting, and has a 4.000 in her graduate hours. Megan has a 3.56 in her graduate studies in counseling and student development.
11/05/08  Wildcats outlast a good Oklahoma team
The Cats defeated OU in four sets on Wednesday. The Sooners are 10-13, 6-9 in Big 12 play, but they strolled into Austin and beat #3 Texas on October 29. They're much better than their record indicates. For example, they came into tonight's match with the National Player of the Week, Caitlin Higgins. As many fans noted, it seemed that they dug everything thrown at them. The box score shows OU with 80 digs to the Cats' 68, even with Lauren Mathewson's excellent total of 27 digs. Rita Liliom had a fine night, contributing 24.5 points and 11 digs for a double-double. Megan Farr was a major factor, with nine blocks. She hit .300, adding 13 points. Kelsey Chipman hit .304, adding 11 points. Nataly Korobkova had 16 points. Coach Santiago Restrepo was ornery as usual, and got himself a couple of yellow cards, but in his defense, one of the calls he protested involved the first referee overturning a line judge's correct call in the Cats' favor.

Nebraska is up next on Saturday. It's worth noting that Texas A&M (5-9) took NU to five sets tonight. With the Cats' glorious defeat of the Huskers, Coach Suzie Fritz will become our winningest coach, by both percentage and total wins.

11/04/08  K-State TV to broadcast live volleyball match on Nov. 5
K-State TV will broadcast the K-State vs. OU volleyball match live from Ahearn Field House at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5. This K-State TV special presentation will also be streamed live to Powercat Passport subscribers. K-State TV's viewing coverage, on Cox cable channel 8, includes Junction City, Manhattan and the K-State campus.
11/03/08  Soriana Pacheco is Rookie of the Week
The Big 12 awarded Rookie of the Week honors to Soriana today for her work as setter in the victories over Texas A&M and KU. She averaged 10.89 assists per set. The Big 12 says, "The Western Nebraska transfer had 47 assists and three kills on six attempts along with nine digs and two aces in the five-set win over the Aggies. In the Sunflower Showdown, Pacheco then recorded 51 assists to tally her third match this season with at least 50 assists. She also contributed seven digs and three service aces. Pacheco was instrumental in Kansas State finishing the week second in hitting percentage (.299) and assists (13.00)." Here's the link. Congratulations to Soriana!
11/01/08  Wildcats tame the Bluebirds
Thanks much to the Cats for salvaging what had been an unpleasant day to be a K-Stater. We beat the Bluebirds (who came to town wearing red) 3-1 in a fun and exciting match. Senior OH Rita Liliom led the offense with 20 points, recording an excellent .369 hitting percentage. Nataly Korobkova had another strong night, with 16 points and six block assists. She hit a solid .310. My friend, Dan Wild, sits next to me on the front row. He had noticed Kelsey Chipman's accuracy in warmups, and said he was sure she was going to have a great night. Kelsey had 15.5 points, 13 kills, hit .375 and had 4½ blocks. Lauren Mathewson was busy on defense, logging 21 digs, plus she had two service aces. Jenny Jantsch had 10 points, an ace and four digs. I saw some great senior leadership on her part this evening. Megan Farr, as usual, gave us some kills at critical times, adding eight points.

Our arch rivals, KU, have a better team than their 4-9 Big 12 record indicates. (They're in 10th place in the conference at this time.) They squeaked by us in the second set, 25-23, but the Cats had the skills and confidence to prevail in the end. K-State won the match 25-17, 25-17, 23-25, 25-14. It's noteworthy that the Cats hit .500 to KU's .217 in Set 1, and outhit KU .212 to -.094 in Set 4.

It was great to see a nice crowd tonight. I think there were a lot of people eager to see a winning team, if you know what I mean.. Announced attendance was 2,167. (That's 800 more than can even fit in KU's humble arena, The Shanty.) The team looked confident and happy in the pre-match warmups. I think they were eager for the stomping they laid on KU tonight. OK fans, the Okies are headed our way. OU took the Cats to five sets in Norman in October. Let's all turn out on Nov. 5 to cheer the team to another great victory, and see how much we can annoy their ever-grumpy coach, Santiago Restrepo.

10/28/08  A wild and crazy night in the Big 12
Let's start with the Cats, who had their hands full with a determined Texas A&M team, seemingly digging everything in sight in a five-set match. The scores were 23-25, 25-12, 25-21, 19-25 and 15-9. Nataly Korobkova had a big night, with 21.5 points. She hit an impressive .395. Rita Liliom was a big factor, too, with 19.5 points. Kelsey Chipman added 11.5 points on .562 hitting (with no errors)! Set two was the most fun by far, with the Cats hitting .417 to the Aggies' -.097. A&M didn't make it easy for the Cats. My compliments to them.

Meanwhile, around the Big 12, other outcomes would not have been predicted. A while after our match, there was quite a commotion among the Cats visiting with their families when they learned that Colorado (12-9) upset Nebraska (20-1) by a score of 3-1. At the same time, we learned that Oklahoma (9-12) swept Texas (16-3) on the Horns' court in Austin! Iowa State (15-8) beat Baylor (14-8), which was probably a toss-up. Finally, KU beat Missouri. Both teams are 4-8 in Big 12 play.

Bring on the Hawks!

10/25/08  Baylor barnburner features six match points
Set five: 21-19! The Cats were challenged in five sets and several match points in a 3-2 win over Baylor, after losing the first two sets. Rita Liliom had 24.5 points, hitting .340, and she had 11 digs. Nataly Korobkova had 22 points on .429 hitting, with only three errors. Kelsey Chipman had 14 points and hit .357. Megan Farr was very efficient, hitting .467 with no errors. Jenny Jantsch had a great night serving, with four aces, 14 digs and 8.5 points. Lauren Mathewson led with 23 digs. Soriana Pacheco brought in 61 assists! K-State hit .619 in set three, which they won, 25-13. This win puts some distance between K-State and Baylor in the race for third place in the Big 12. Baylor is a very good team. Congratulations, Cats!

Meanwhile, a similar barnburner was underway in Lubbock. Colorado and Texas Tech went to mutiple match points, with CU escaping as winners, leaving TTU at 0-12 in Big 12 competition.

10/18/08  Rita Liliom leads the Cats to victory over Tech
The Cats swept Texas Tech 25-18, 25-12, 25-17 tonight, with Rita Liliom playing a major role. Liliom led with 15 points on .550 hitting and no attack errors. Rita surpassed 1,000 career kills tonight! Soriana Pacheco hit .800 in adding five points. Megan Farr had a good night, with seven points on .375 hitting. As a team, the Cats hit a solid .375 to the Raiders' .066.

Up next for the Cats (17-3, 7-2 Big 12) is Iowa State (12-8, 4-5 Big 12). The Cyclones took Colorado to five sets tonight in Boulder, with point spreads of three, two, four, two and three. Wildcat Volleyball action: Be a part of it when it comes to your area!

10/01/08  Cats defeat the Squawks
Hmm. As legendary coach Jack Hartman often said, "You're always glad for a victory." As I said a few minutes ago, "Take that, birds!" For the fourth time in the five years we've played in The Shanty, KU's 1300-seat implement shed, the Cats left with a win. I had some concern going into this match, knowing that the Bluebirds had taken a set each from Texas and Nebraska in the past week. They're a somewhat better team than their 1-4 Big 12 record indicates, having already lost to the three best teams in the conference: NU, UT and KSU.

Jenny Jantsch had a double-double tonight: 11 kills and 12 digs. She's been playing very well in the Big 12. Nataly Korobkova had 20 kills and 22.5 points. Kelsey Chipman had nine kills, on .304 hitting. Lauren Mathewson had 14 digs. Abby Fay had 24 assists. She and Soriana Pacheco, who had 29 digs, obviously were subbing often. KU was able to put together some long strings of points. KU's strings of points, and K-State's considerable trouble with errors, are the story of the match. To balance the scales, we have the Cats' .545 hitting in set five (to KU's .150). KU won sets one and four.

It's encouraging that in a frustrating match, the Cats had the composure to play their best in the final set. Here's one final tidbit: K-State has defeated the Squawks in 25 of the past 27 matches. That is a tremendous record, which translates to only two losses since 1995!

The weekly NCAA Division I stats are in, and Megan Farr is #3 in the nation in hitting percentage, at .451. We should be thankful every day that Megan turned down a scholarship at OU to walk on with the Cats!

9/29/08  Cats continue to be nationally ranked
The results of the AVCA poll are in. The decisions of the judges are final (for a week). The poll is a lot more stable than the stock market. Nebraska is steady at #2, as is Texas at #3. The K-State Cats are still at #17.
9/27/08  Cats tough it out vs. a fine Baylor team
I've learned from both volleyball and women's basketball that you never write off Baylor (11-3, 3-1). They've given us tough contests way too often. Taylor Barnes had 42 assists and hit .600, for example. (Why didn't her parents name her Baylor?) The Bears hit .264 to the Cats' .245. It seemed as though they were digging everything we sent their way, but in fact the Cats outdug them 61 to 59. Rita Liliom was a major player tonight, with 18.5 points, 13 digs and 18 kills, for a double-double. Nataly had 11.5 points and hit .357. As mentioned below, Megan Farr hit .533, adding 12.5 points. Jenny Jantsch had 10.5 points, five digs and two service aces. This moves her into the top ten career aces list, with 117 total. Lauren Mathewson led in defensive duties with 20 digs. The Cats are averaging 2047 fans per Big 12 home match. Let's keep up the good work! Good luck against the Chickenhawks on Wednesday.
9/27/08  Megan Farr's keeping her numbers up
Megan currently holds 3rd place in Division I in hitting percentage. It was another fine week. 111 kills - 14 errors ÷ 215 attempts = .451 for the season. Fourth-place hitter, Foluke Akinradewo of Stanford, had a good week but not great, so Megan will stay in third in next week's update.
9/24/08  Cats sweep Texas A&M in College Station
Our pals the Aggies received their first home loss, compliments of Rita Liliom and her 16 kills. She had 19 points and 6.33 points per set. To put that stat in perspective, Yarimar Rosa of Florida International leads Division I in kills per set at 5.47. A&M hung tough, with the final scores 25-23, 25-18, 25-20. Lauren Mathewson had 15 digs. Defensive Coordinator Jeff Grove called this Lauren's best match so far. Soriana Pacheco hit .600 on three attempts, and contributed three aces. Megan Farr had eight blocks, and Nataly had seven.

"They serve tough," A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said, "To their credit, they are one of the best serving and blocking teams." She went on to say, "A lot of teams in the Big 12 are going to lose to K-State at home. They are a really, really tough team. No. 17 is too low. There are five seniors out there. They are hitting one of the highest hitting percentages in the nation. They are a really strong, strong group." (I've always liked Coach Corbelli.)

Attendance was 1,446, which sounds impressive, but our Cats have averaged 2,041 in home Big 12 matches. Texas A&M has double the enrollment of K-State, I might add. Anyway, let's get out to support our team right after football on Saturday. Come on, you football fans. It's going to 85° F and sunny at the stadium. We're going to be hot, slightly stinky, hungry and probably mad. Come on over to Ahearn and warm up after the game. The Union will have a fine assortment of wienies, pop, Krispie treats, gigantic cookies and candy bars for your postgame dining enjoyment. Baylor's undefeated in the Big 12. They're starting to annoy me. Let's beat 'em!

9/23/08  Here's Texas A&M's scouting report on the Cats
A&M has a good write-up on tomorrow's match. They're 6-6, 1-1 in the Big 12 and undefeated (5-0) at home. In the Big 12 era (1996 - 2007), K-State is 3rd in conference wins (155 - 85) and Texas A&M is 4th (152 - 88). That's right... a spread of three matches separates our fine programs. We need to watch out for Mary Batis, who's 7th in the Big 12 in kills, and 8th in points.
9/23/08  No free speech in the Big 12 Conference
It was inevitable, given the Big 12's rules against speaking out on the quality of officiating. Suzie Fritz got a letter from the Commissioner for commenting on the "blown call" in the Nebraska match. The controversy developed when a Husker hit a ball south of the net, and a couple of players scampered over to the area to try to put it back in play. Either the first or second referee blew the ball dead before it hit anything. When they realized they had jumped the gun, the first referee called for a replay. This changed the momentum of the match, in many people's eyes. The irony here is that the officials acknowledged the blown call by ordering a replay. Suzie (as quoted by the Collegian) said,
"[That was a] really bad call and really bad timing," said Fritz. "We replayed it and had a chance to win it again. It was a blown call without a doubt, but it was quite honestly the right call. One call doesn't win or lose a match."
I think she was saying it was the correct way to handle a blown call: do a replay.

Here's what the NCAA rule book says about play at the net:

15.1.1 Ball Crossing the Net
The crossing space is the part of the vertical plane of the net limited at the sides by each antenna and its imaginary extension, and by the ceiling. A ball sent to the opponent's playing area must pass over the net within the crossing space. A ball that has crossed the net plane to the opponent's free zone over or outside the antenna after a team's first contact or block may be played back to a teammate, provided (1) a center line fault is not committed (See Rule 15.2.4); (2) the pursuing player does not cross under the net, net cable or referee platform; and (3) the ball, when retrieved, crosses the net plane over or outside the antenna on the same side of the court. The opponent(s) may not prevent this action.
Anyway, why is it that it's legal and valued to talk about any other type of injustice in the world, discrimination, bad policy, malfeasance of public officials, except in the world of sports? Why is it that the Big 12 Conference rises above the Bill of Rights?
9/22/08  Megan Farr is hitting it outta the park!
The weekly NCAA Division I stats are in, and Megan Farr is #3 in the nation in hitting percentage, at .450. The other 47 on the list aren't shown in this screen capture. Megan's leading the Big 12, of course.

9/22/08  Cats up again in the AVCA poll
The Cats improved to #17 in this week's poll. The AVCA really likes us. They've had us down for one extra win the past two weeks. The Huskers are steady at #2, Texas is at #3, Iowa State is RV and KU is nowhere to be found!
9/20/08  The Cats, led by Jenny Jantsch, have Buffalo for dinner.
The CU players were seen giggling a little when Mike Temaat announced head coach Pi'i Aiu. He was a no-show. I asked Brian Smoller after the match, and he said Coach Aiu had been in Las Vegas recruiting, and ran into air travel problems. He was driving in from Wichita, and probably arrived in Manhattan just after the match ended.

The coaches, according to offensive coordinator Justin Ingram, had been working with OH Jenny Jantsch on some strategies. She was on a mission, hitting .643 on zero errors, contributing 11 points. Jenny had two aces and seven digs in addition to her outstanding hitting. Megan Farr was a major factor, too, hitting an excellent .588, for 11.5 points. Rita Liliom had a busy night, adding 10.5 points, and Nataly hit a solid .389 for 11 points. Abby Fay had 26 assists, and almost turned in a double double.

The team hit about .387, and the whole thing was over in an hour and 13 minutes.

9/16/08  Here's Nebraska's scouting report on the Cats
They're calling it a contest between two ranked teams who are a combined 18-1 this season. It's an objective and complimentary write-up, saying, "Under Head Coach Suzie Fritz (157-72 in 8 years), Kansas State has been annually among the Big 12's best programs." They also reminded readers that Nebraska leads the series 76-3, and they're 34-1 in Ahearn. We won't be able to keep the red completely out, but let's have them seriously outnumbered. As Brian Smoller said Saturday, this match will have major impact on the Big 12 championship.
9/16/08  Rita and Megan are high on the NCAA stats
Rita Liliom is 10th in Division I in kills per set, at 4.51. Megan Farr is 25th in blocks per set, and she's 12th in Division I in hitting percentage this week. K-State as a team is 6th in assists per set, 19th in blocks per set, 13th in hitting percentage and 7th in kills per set.
9/15/08  Rita Liliom is Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week!
As noted below, Rita leads the Big 12 in kills and points for the season, and she had a big week. If I can add in my head, she made 78 points and had 67 kills in four matches last week. (Actually, I'm good at adding in my head. It was the word problems that were always my downfall.) Rita's stats for the week improved on her season numbers, leading the Big 12 in points per set with 5.57, and 4.79 kills per set. Very nice work! Sports Information and the Big 12 have press releases on the good news.
9/15/08  Cats sneak up in the AVCA poll after four glorious victories
The weekly AVCA ranking improved from 19 to 18 today. Nebraska (#2) and Texas (#3) held steady. Purdue, the benefactors of our one loss, is at #20. Iowa State is RV. Eight schools in the top 25 are in California.
9/14/08  Rita Liliom leads the Big 12
The numbers are in from the Big 12, and so far this season, Rita is 1st in kills at 4.51/set, and 1st in points at 5.09/set. With Rita's help, K-State as a team is 1st in the Big 12 in kills. With Megan's and Kelsey's contributions, K-State is 2nd in hitting percentage. See all the Cats' statistical leaders here.
9/14/08  Interesting comments from a Liberty fan...
I ran across an interesting post on flamefans.com. Here's some of it, posted by Vadim:
"I think the girls were a little awestruck in the first set. The court is in a huge field house and they surrounded the court with bleachers. The fans are close to the floor, and their fans really turned out, and they were loud. The pep band and cheerleaders were there, and the place was rocking. Their fans made a lot of noise while we were serving, but they did not get personal. It was actually done well. We had the deer in the headlights look in set 1. In set 2, we kept it close all along and then we finished it off well, with good confidence. Lots of girls got some play time in this match, which will help us later on. It looked to me like we would win set 3, but we fell just a little short. Set 4 got started with several miscues and a strong run for KSU. We were reeling for most of the set, but we found some strength near the end and closed the gap enough to keep it from being really ugly."
9/13/08  Varney's Invitational All-Tournament Team
Rita Liliom was named tournament MVP. Over the three matches, Rita scored 19, 14.5 and 20 points. The MVP honor shouldn't come as a surprise, as this week she's #1 in the Big 12 in kills (4.35/set) and points (4.80/set). It would have been pretty scandalous to leave Megan Farr off the team, with her hitting percentages of .385, .889 and .643. Megan hit .611 for the tournament. Lauren Mathewson had some incredibly athletic defensive moves, and recorded 17, 7 and 10 digs. Congratulations to these Cats for their honors.
9/13/08  Megan Farr goes nuts... Cats demolish Cornell
In a high noon match between the Big 12 and the Ivy League, K-State turned in impressive sets at 25-19, 25-17 and 25-9. The Cats outhit Cornell .396 to .200, and definitely outserved them with nine service aces to one. Why's Megan Farr in the headline? Perhaps it's related to her hitting .889, with zero errors. Rita Liliom was solid, too, logging a team-high 14.5 points and two aces. Sarah Allison, in some of her first significant playing time, hit a blistering .667, leaving the fans around me giddy with excitement about the future, as JuliAnne Chisholm hit .500. And how about Abby Fay, with 36 assists? That's 12 per set... very close to Stacey's Spiegelberg's 2007 average. Nataly and Jenny each hit .400. Fans planning to shop at the Union tomorrow appreciated Abby's three service aces. It was a very nice victory, and the sun came out during the third set, after 1½ days of rain!
9/08/08  Kelsey does it again!
Remember back earlier today when Kelsey was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week? Well, the Big 12 must be on to something. Kelsey hit .706 (repeat: seven-oh-six) vs. Cal State Bakersfield tonight. She went 12 of 17, with no errors. Perhaps our favorite local conference should establish a Player of the Month award. Kelsey is #22 in NCAA Division 1 this season in hitting percentage. That ranking, ladies and gentlemen, existed before Kelsey hit .706.
9/08/08  Kelsey Chipman's Big 12 Player of the Week!
In addition to making the all-tournament team in Portland this past weekend, Kelsey Chipman was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week today. Chipman led No. 20 Kansas State to a 4-0 week and the Nike Portland Invitational title. She tallied 35 kills without any errors in 14 sets, while compiling a .515 hitting percentage, which was second in the Big 12 last week. The Topeka, Kan. native also produced 3.43 points, 1.43 digs and 1.29 blocks per set. In the tournament finale against South Florida, she had two service aces late in the fourth and final set to hold off the Bulls for the victory. Here's the release from the Big 12 office.
9/08/08  A productive weekend in Oregon
I've been busy redesigning this site a bit this weekend, and hadn't commented yet on the good things that happened at the Portland Invitational. First, three Cats made the all-tournament team after K-State swept it: Nataly Korobkova (MVP), Kelsey Chipman and Rita Liliom. Nataly totaled 49 kills, averaging 3.50 per set. Rita had 63 kills, averaging 4.85 per set. Kelsey had 35 kills, and they came on a spectacular .515 hitting percentage over the four matches. She had zero attack errors. Kelsey's hitting percentages were .520, .500, .583 and .474. In the South Florida match, the Cats as a team hit .500, .075 (oops), .469 and .417. Megan Farr was very solid, hitting .400. Let's all get over to Ahearn Field House tonight to welcome the Cats home.
9/01/08  Cats ranked in the first AVCA poll
After a tough match at Purdue, the Cats dropped from a preseason #14 to #20 in the first regular season poll. Other acquaintances of ours in this week's poll are Nebraska: #2, Texas: #4, that annoying Oregon team: #13, Purdue: #18 and Wichita State: #22. Iowa State and Missouri were RV. Yes... Hawaii at 1-2 still manages to come in at #11. Southern California, 0-2, is at #7. The big-name teams don't necessarily need to win to stay in the poll.
8/14/08  Cats ranked 14th in preseason AVCA poll
Sports Information announced today that the K-State Cats are ranked #14 in the preseason AVCA poll, which you can see in its entirety right here.

Our pals in the Big 12 weren't forgotten. Texas is #3. Nebraska is #7. Iowa State is #18. (Nothing like having Dawn Cady Sullivan on your staff, is there?)

Now, this Iowa State ranking is quite a story. Since the Big 12 was formed in 1996, Iowa State is #11 out of 11 teams in the conference in terms of winning percentage, at 18.8%. As recently as 2004, ISU went 1-19 in Big 12 play. In fact, in the 12 years of the Big 12, Iowa State has seven seasons at either 0-20 or 1-19. It just shows how quickly fortunes can change with the right personnel in place.

8/14/08  Preseason Big 12 coaches' picks
The experts' votes are in, and our K-State Cats are a strong pick for third place in the Big 12 this season. For the first time, K-State got a first-place vote. Texas and Nebraska pulled in a few more votes than K-State. What? Nebraska in second place? I guess that's what happens when Sarah Pavan graduates.

Three seniors, Megan Farr, Nataly Korobkova and Rita Liliom, are Preseason All-Big 12.

7/29/08  Fall practice starts on August 9.
Bring on the Cats!
7/12/08  NCAA Rule Changes for 2008
  • What is this... tennis?! The NCAA has changed the term game to set. They love to change things.
  • Probably the most significant rule change is that sets one to four will go to 25 points (or two-point margin), down from 30 points. Game Set five will stay at 15 points (or two-point margin).
  • Substitutions are now limited to 12 per set.
  • There is a point of emphasis on the net fault rule, toward more leniency. Players may not contact the net while playing the ball (which is defined as jumping or landing). Moving sideways or turning away from the net is not considered playing the ball. If a player not playing the ball contacts the net, the referee must decide if this interfered with play. If so, that's a fault.
  • The NCAA is moving toward publishing rules in all sports only every other year. This kicks in for women's volleyball in 2010.
  • Coaches may not gang up on officials. Only one coach for a team may work over an official at a time.
  • You can order the 2008 Women's Volleyball Rules and Interpretations for $7.80 plus shipping.
7/12/08  NCAA Ball Handling Directive for 2008
The NCAA is trying to move the game of volleyball toward continuation of play and fewer stoppages, as well as consistency in officiating. They are instructing officials toward more leniency in calls. The want fewer whistles; thus the following:
  • Referees should only call faults that are actually seen.
  • Outside influences such as player technique, spin, crowd reaction or coaches' expectations should be disregarded.
  • Only the most obvious violations should be called.
  • Referees should avoid being overly mechanical or technical in their judgments.
  • Referees should be less severe when judging an athletic play by a player in a less-than-ideal position. On the other hand, a player who sets from good position should have a higher expectation to not make multiple contacts.
7/11/08  Volleyball season tickets on sale
MANHATTAN, Kan. — Volleyball fans can renew their season tickets for the 2008 Kansas State season now via the online purchasing option at k-statesports.com or at the KSU Ticket Office.

Current season ticket holders can renew their packages exclusively until tickets go on sale to the general public on Tuesday. Cost for an adult season ticket is $50. Senior citizens, youth, faculty and staff can purchase season tickets for $40. Family Packs are also available for $100. A Family Pack includes two adult season tickets and two youth season tickets. All tickets are general admission with no reserve seating at Ahearn Field House.

Don't miss all the exciting action of Wildcat volleyball this season. The Wildcats open their home schedule September 8 against Cal State Bakersfield before hosting the annual Varney's Kansas State Invitational on September 12 and 13.

Then the Wildcats open Big 12 Conference play against national power and rival Nebraska on September 17 to start the exciting slate of home matches. Renew your season tickets today at k-statesports.com or call the ticket office at 785-532-7606 or 1-800-221-CATS.

6/22/08  More 2008 schedule details in place
The Schedule and Results section on this site has some more details filled in on match times, etc. It seems to be fairly stable and complete at this point.
6/15/08  Former Cat assistant Shawn Taylor to Valparaiso
My friend Shawn Taylor has been announced as an assistant coach for Valparaiso University in Indiana. Shawn served for two years here as a volunteer grad assistant coach, then spent the past year as head coach at Kansas Wesleyan in Salina. Good luck to Shawn as he continues his career!
6/06/08  Suzie Fritz signs on through 2012
Athletics Director Bob Krause released the outstanding news today that head coach Suzie Fritz has a new five-year contract. Suzie's record over seven seasons is 147-71 (.674). She has led the Cats to the NCAA tournament in six of seven years. One of the records most important to me is the Cats' #3 standing in win-loss percentage in the powerhouse Big 12 conference. This is the best possible news our program could have. Hopefully we can keep the winning team of Suzie, Jeff Grove and Justin Ingram for a long time.
6/03/08  Next stop: China
The Cats were to leave on May 26 for a series of matches in China. On May 22, the sponsoring company went bankrupt, leaving the team stuck right here in the good old United States of America. It's a big disappointment, but on the bright side, the Cats were granted several extra days of full-team practice.
4/19/08  Santa Clara Spring Invitational
I've been unable to get much information about the California trip. The Cats lost the match with #11 Cal Poly 20-25, 14-25.
4/19/08  Sports Performance Collegiate Spring Tournament
The Cats finished fourth in this tournament at the Great Lakes Center in Aurora, Ill. The Cats' day started with a win over Kent State, 25-23, 25-12, then they defeated North Carolina, 27-25, 25-19.

In the quarterfinals, the Cats beat Northwestern, 25-14, 25-18, then lost a semifinal game to tournament champions Georgia Tech, 12-25, 25-22, 12-15. The Cats played LSU close in the third-place match, losing 23-25, 25-20, 13-15.

4/17/08  Cats' fall schedule announced
The fall 2008 schedule has just been released. Many match times have not been completely announced, largely because of uncertainty with home football game times. See my Schedule and Results page for a first look at fall volleyball action.
4/12/08  Cats win two-of-four in Houston
Our Cats had mixed results at the 3rd annual Texas Tornados College Spring Tournament in Houston. Matches were best of three games.

The day opened at 9 A.M. with a win over Texas Christian, 21-25, 25-19, 15-9. Stephen F. Austin was up at 11 A.M., with the Cats victorious at 16-25, 28-26, 15-10. At 1 P.M. we played #3 USC close, with the score 26-24, 31-29. The day's competition ended at 3 P.M. with the national champions, #1 Penn State, defeating the Cats 25-10, 25-22.

4/05/08  A good day in Wichita
The 2008 version of the Wildcats saw their first exhibition action at Wichita State today, with excellent results. Our Cats defeated Wichita State 25-19, 26-28, 25-19, 25-20, 15-11. Our favorite team then swept (demolished) the Oklahoma Sooners 25-14, 25-21, 25-18, 25-16, 15-9. This against an opponent who defeated K-State twice in 2007. A strong spring in 2007 ultimately led to a third-place Big 12 finish. Keep up the good work, Cats!

Sports Information released this report on April 9.

3/31/08  Spring exhibition schedule announced
K-State Sports Information has announced a preliminary schedule for spring invitationals. Some of the smaller invitationals are set, while others are in flux. The Cats will travel to Wichita, Houston, Chicago and Santa Clara. I'll do my best to keep up with all this, but since the games don't count, even getting final scores can be quite a task. Watch here and on my 2008 Schedule and Results page for whatever news I can get.
3/31/08  Cats to travel to China in May 2008
It has just now been officially announced that the Cats expect to play in China in May, leaving after final week.
3/17/08  Transition
This site will gradually transition to a focus on the 2008 season, but the main page will pretty much look the same until August.
12/09/07  Soriana Pacheco AVCA Player of the Year
The Cats' signee, 5' 10" setter Soriana Pacheco, comes in as the AVCA's junior college player of the year. Soriana will transfer from Western Nebraska Community College in 2008. Here's a story from the Scottsbluff, Nebraska Star Herald. She has been on the Venezuelan national team, and was a 2007 AVCA Two-Year College First Team All-American.