As K-State continues to roar through their nonconference schedule, Kylee Zumach continues to build an impressive freshman resume.
The 6-foot-4-inch outside hitter was named Big 12 freshman of the week in back-to-back weeks and will look to guide the Wildcats (9-1) past South Dakota State (4-7) prior to this weekend’s final nonconference competition at Michigan.
Zumach is the first Wildcat since Kaitlynn Pelger – and the third player in program history – to have this honor in consecutive weeks.
Along with Angie Lastra (Nov. 5 and 12 in 2007), the trio of current and former Wildcats are the only three players to ever win consecutive weekly honors.
The Buffalo, Minnesota native ranks first among Big 12 rookies and second overall in the conference, with a average of 3.88 kills and 4.41 points per set in the past four matches.
“Zumach played extremely well,” Coach Suzie Fritz said of her freshman outside hitter, after last weekend’s sweep of the Saluki Invitational. “She had some kills when we really needed them and did well in both good situations and bad situations. She managed the ball when she couldn’t get a good swing and killed it when she could.”
The Wildcats are coming off a productive week which included their first true home win against Missouri State, and the sweep of the Saluki Invitational in Carbondale, Illinois.
K-State won against Marshall in four sets, host school Southern Illinois in a sweep and IPFW in four sets.
K-State started the season on a roll with its first five wins of the season coming as sweeps. Since then, the Wildcats have only had one sweep, but the coaches see that as good preparation for the grind of conference play.
“Sometimes playing long is good because it teaches us that we are going to have to grind it out,” Fritz said following K-State’s 3-1 win over Marshall. “Long term, today’s match is a good one for us to be in because it had tight sets where you can’t do anything to hurt yourselves; you’re just looking to improve the situation that you can control.”
Sophomore setter Katie Brand was named tournament MVP in Carbondale, averaging roughly 13.5 assists per set and had two different games ending in a double-double with assist and digs.
Sophomore outside hitter Brooke Sassin and sophomore libero Kersten Kober were both named to the All-Tournament team. This was Sassin’s second all-tournament honor and Kober’s first. Sassin had 49 kills throughout the three matches and Kober had double-digit digs in each match in the tournament.
The Wildcats received votes in this week’s AVCA Division I coach’s poll and unofficially lands them in the 31st spot. Texas and Kansas are the only two Big 12 teams ranked ahead of Fritz’s squad.
It was the first time this season that the Wildcats have garnered any votes (23) in the poll.
South Dakota State comes into the Little Apple winning one of their last seven matches. All seven of those matches were at home.
The Jackrabbits offense has been sluggish as of late. In their last four matches prior to today, they are only averaging 10.5 kills per set and a hitting percentage of .177 percent.
South Dakota State is led by sophomore middle block Tiara Gibson, who tops her team in kills and blocks with 82 kills and 36 blocks.
The Jackrabbits are also led by junior middle blocker Wagner Larson who has 67 kills on the season to go along with .256 hitting percentage.