Tall test lies ahead in K-State volleyball’s primetime matchup

Head volleyball coach Suzie Fritz talks to the players during a timeout against West Virginia in Bramlage Coliseum on Oct. 10, 2015. (File Photo by Emily Starkey | The Collegian)

After winning their second straight conference match, the K-State volleyball team will try to get a season-defining win against the Texas Longhorns Wednesday at 6 p.m. inside Bramlage Coliseum.

K-State is coming off a straight-set win on Friday night against Oklahoma, and the Wildcats have not lost a set in the match before that either.

“I thought we played extraordinarily well, which is very exciting,” head coach Suzie Fritz said. “There was a really tough stretch for us earlier in the season with trying to get some players fitting their roles and fighting through some injuries. I don’t want to make excuses, but it was tough.”

She said this was one of the first games that she felt her team clicked on all facets of the game.

“We had everybody playing well at the same time, which is really hard to do on the road,” Fritz said. “We played very good on both sides of the ball whether that was transition, offense, defense, serving or passing.”

Although it has been nice for the Wildcats to dominate these past two matches, the road to three straight wins gets a bit harder as the Wildcats take on the Longhorns, who are ranked second in the national poll.

“Texas is a very good volleyball team and they have only lost one set in conference play all year so far,” Fritz said. “It is a very great challenge for us, but I still believe we just have to keep fighting to come together and be as good as we can be on our side of the net.”

Obviously the Longhorns, who are 16-1, do many things well; and Fritz was very quick to point this out after practice on Monday.

“They are very physical and bigger than many teams in the conference,” Fritz said. “They play very high above the net, which is one thing that makes them unique and special.”

The game is being televised nationally on ESPNU, but Fritz said that hasn’t really crossed her mind.

“It is another opportunity to get better and to play a good team, which we like,” Fritz said. “Our approach is good right now and our players see it as a good challenge for this team.”

Fritz said she will concede, however, that it is good for the university and possible recruits to see K-State on the national stage.

“I don’t think a lot about the TV side of this,” Fritz said with a slight laugh. “I think it is good for the program, but I don’t think much about the national television side of it.”

This mindset has filtered down to the players, and outside hitter Alyssa Schultejans was cool, calm and collected following Monday’s practice.

“We don’t talk about that very much because it’s mainly just about us playing our game,” Schultejans, freshman from Silver Lake, Kansas said. “But don’t get us wrong, we are very excited about the opportunity that is in front of us and ready for the challenge.”