The No. 23 Wildcat volleyball team leaves this weekend for Provo, Utah, to play in the BYU Nike Classic, hosted by Brigham Young University. K-State (1-2) is looking to continue its winning ways after earning its first win Tuesday night against University of Missouri-Kansas City in Manhattan.
Young players have been the trend this season for the Wildcats, as they had three freshmen start Tuesday against UMKC, including freshman Caitlyn Donahue, a member of the 2008 Prepvolleyball Top-100 seniors list who graduated early from high school last year to join the Wildcats. Head coach Susie Fritz talked of her great play as a freshman.
“She’s got a very difficult job in the situation we put her in out there,” Fritz said. “She is a very undersized outside hitter, but she is an exceptional volleyball player for her age, especially because she can do so many things for our team.”
Junior Julianne Chisholm will look to continue her strong play as she leads the Wildcats in kills with 45 and is averaging 3.46 kills per set.
The first opponent for the Wildcats this weekend will be the Weber State Wildcats (1-2). Last season, Weber State had its best season in 20 years, posting a record of 20-13. This experienced team is returning five starters from last season, including senior Chelsea Bair who led the team with 2.75 kills per set. This match will take place today and is slated for a 6 p.m. start.
Next on the Wildcats’ agenda will be a Saturday matchup with the Cal Poly Mustangs (0-4). The Mustangs are looking to garner their first win of the season after losing their first four matches of the year. Only returning two starters from last year’s team, the Mustangs will likely look to freshman outside hitter Molly Pon, who leads the team with 2.92 kills per set. The Wildcats have faced the Mustangs once; K-State won that meeting in 2007.
The Wildcats will close out the tournament facing tournament host BYU on Saturday night. These programs have met twice previously with BYU winning both matches. BYU comes into the tournament with a record of 2-2. The Cougars, a very storied program with 24 NCAA Tournament appearances, are hoping to make a return to the tournament they missed out on last season. Leading the way for the Cougars will be Kayla Walker, who has tallied 62 kills while averaging 4.13 kills per set.
This is the second road tournament for the Wildcats this season, as they took place in the Runza/AVCA Showcase on Aug. 28-29.