K-State volleyball gears up for 2016 season

Senior middle blocker Katie Reininger fights over the net with a Texas opponent on Oct. 21, 2015, at Bramalge Coliseum. (File Photo by Rodney Dimick | The Collegian)

After not losing any players off of last year’s roster, the Kansas State volleyball team returns to the court this weekend in Hawaii for a trio of matches. One of the most premiere tournaments in the preseason, the round robin shows off four teams that all participated in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats’ season did not end as they hoped last year when they lost their final four games of the season, including to Wichita State in the NCAA Tournament, 3-1, in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Shockers went on to lose to Nebraska in the following round.

But the page now turns to a 2016 campaign with four seniors and begins this Friday in Honolulu against Arizona. The Arizona Wildcats were a 2015 NCAA Tournament team, but fell 3-0 against Western Kentucky in the first round and finished 19-14 on the season.

Two years ago, Arizona defeated K-State 3-0 in an early-season tournament in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

In game two, K-State will take on another 2015 tournament team in the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. The Warriors went 29-2 last season and lost in the Elite 8 to Minnesota 3-1.

Hawaii defeated TCU, Texas A&M and then Penn State in the tournament before losing to the Golden Gophers.

The Warriors will be a tough game on the road as they went 18-1 in home games a year ago with their only loss coming to UCLA 3-1.

The final game of the weekend will feature the Wildcats against the Wisconsin Badgers, who appeared in the Sweet 16 last season. These two teams met up last season in the Creighton Classic with the Badgers coming up on top 3-1. Wisconsin finished the season last year 26-7 and had seven wins against top 25 opponents a year ago.

This is the beginning of 13 nonconference games for the Wildcats before they host Iowa State on Sept. 21 in Ahearn Field House for the start of Big 12 play.

K-State will take on Arizona today at 9:30 p.m. CST, play the host team Hawaii on Sunday at midnight CST and finish the weekend off by facing off against Wisconsin also on Sunday at 5 p.m. CST to wrap up the round robin.

The Wildcats will return home and play three matches at Bramlage Coliseum the next weekend when they host Michigan, Tennessee State and Georgia Tech for the Wildcat Classic.