K-State volleyball returns home after two-game road trip

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Freshman outside hitter Kylee Zumach bumps the ball on Sept. 8, 2014 at Ahearn Field House. (Rodney Dimick | The Collegian)

After winning back-to-back road matches (in Missouri and Oklahoma) for the first time since September 2004, K-State hopes to retake home-court when it takes the floor against Iowa State. The first set will take place at 7 p.m.

The two road wins gave K-State (15-2, 2-1) 50 points in the AVCA top 25 poll, which is good for a couple spots outside of the top 25.

Leading K-State on the road trip was freshman outside hitter Kylee Zumach, who was named Big 12 Freshman of the Week for the fourth week of the year.

“Honestly, it was a huge surprise,” Zumach said. “I thought everyone did so awesome (during the Kansas game). It’s honestly just a honor every week.”

She is the first Wildcat in school history to have four weekly awards in a season. This honor puts her second in career weekly awards behind Kaitlynn Pelger, who had eight in her career.

“I think she’s really grown in a short amount of time,” senior libero Gina Madonia said of Zumach’s progress over the year. “I think she has taken the criticisms and good praises from people and have used that to her advantage and turned this into some really tough play.”

Zumach’s had 33 kills, four blocks and two digs in her past eight sets.

So far this season, Zumach has over 200 kills. She reached the milestone faster than all but one Wildcat in K-State history (Cari Jensen), and did it in the same number of sets.

Also standing out for the Wildcats recently is senior middle blocker Natali Jones.

Jones leads the Big 12 in blocks per set and hit an extremely efficient .417 on Saturday against the Red Raiders.

“Nat (Jones) is such quiet leader,” Zumach said of her senior teammate. “She leads by example and she wants to get it done. She’s so quiet and I’m not used to playing with people like that. So it’s awesome to play with someone like that who leads by example, who I can watch and follow because I want to be great at blocking too when I’m a senior.”

The Cyclones (8-5, 1-2) come into Wednesday’s match after beating West Virginia in Ames.

While Iowa State’s record may make the Cyclones look unimpressive, this team has been through the gauntlet.

Iowa State has played and been swept by three of the current top four in the AVCA poll (Stanford, Florida State and Texas.)

The Cyclones have also lost in four sets to No. 23 Minnesota.

“They’re always good,” K-State head coach Suzie Fritz said of Iowa State. “They’re extremely well-coached. I mean (they) do a tremendous job with their team. They’re always in the mix and they get better as the year goes. Even when they have a team that doesn’t start out terribly well they always find a way to improve throughout the course of the year. They’ve traditionally been one of the top teams in our league for a reason.”

Iowa State was receiving votes in the polls until its loss against TCU in Fort Worth, Texas at the end of September.

The Cyclones are led offensively by sophomore outside hitter Ciara Capezio and her 118 kills. Iowa State is led defensively by freshman outside hitter/middle blocker Alexis Conaway, who has 52 blocks on the season so far.

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Tim Everson was born in Wichita, KS in 1994. Before fifth grade he moved up to Manhattan for one year before settling in Riley, KS where he graduated from Riley County High School in 2012. Tim has worked for the Collegian since spring of 2014 and took over as Sports Editor during the summer of 2015. Tim loves sports, music, movies and good food when he can get it.