K-State volleyball looks to persevere through conference schedule

Sophomore middle blocker Katie Reininger spikes the ball while her teammates watch in amazment on Sept. 8, 2014 at Ahearn Field House. (Rodney Dimick | The Collegian)

With trips to Ames, Iowa tonight and Austin, Texas on Friday, the K-State volleyball team is about to embark on what could arguably be their toughest road trip of the year.

Tonight is the second match between the Cyclones and the Wildcats this season, the first of which went in the favor of K-State with a 3-1 decision at Ahearn Field House.

K-State has been dominant away from their home floor this season, as they’ve won every away or neutral site since the third game of the season against Arizona (which the Wildcats lost 3-0, their only away loss).

K-State, however, has remained unsuccessful in Ames in recent years. Having not won there since 2007, senior libero Gina Madonia said it’s important to prepare as much as possible.

“I think a big thing is creating your own kind of environment,” Madonia said of their struggle against the Cyclones. “That’s why playing at Iowa State has always been a super tough thing to do. They play super well at home.”

Not only are they a tough team to knock off at home, but the Cyclones are traditionally known for making great strides through the course of a season.

“Number one, they’re good and they’ve traditionally been good,” head coach Suzie Fritz said of Iowa State. “They’re well-coached and they’ve got good volleyball players. They’re a team that gets better as the season goes. It’s been probably about three weeks since we’ve seen them last and I would suspect, just like any other year with a Iowa State team, that they have gotten significantly better since the last time we’ve seen them.”

The Cyclones enter tonight’s 6:30 p.m. match on a two-game skid and have dropped three of their last four matches while the Wildcats, on the other hand, are trying to stretch their three-game winning streak.

Moving into the second half of conference play, players are having to battle not only with the team across the net, but they’re own fatigue. This is especially tough for the players who are making their first journey through the grind of Big 12 play.

“Mentally, I just look at my teammates and upperclassmen a lot (since) they’ve been through this before,” freshman outside hitter Kylee Zumach said. “I ask them for help and I ask them for advice and I feed off their energy. Physically, I don’t really know how I do it. I’m just always tired so I’m rolling with that right now.”

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.