While much of the buzz in Manhattan centers around the impending home football game against North Dakota State on Friday, the VolleyCats will also be kicking off the start of their season that afternoon at the UNLV Invitational in Las Vegas. They start off with a match up against Portland, and then take on Cal State Fullerton and UNLV on Saturday in the round-robin tournament.
K-State was picked to fourth in the Big 12 this year, but there’s considerable excitement surrounding the program this year. The team was selected to the NCAA tournament for the second straight year in 2012, finishing 21-9 after starting 12-0. The Wildcats finished the year ranked 25 in the RPI. The team was among the “others receiving votes” in the preseason poll this year, and sits at 32nd in the nation.
K-State returns unanimous Preseason All-Big 12 selection Kaitlynn Pelger, as well as Preseason Big 12 co-Freshman of the Year Katie Brand. Pelger was a named to the All-Big 12 First Team her junior year as well, and the 6’2″ MB led the team with 361 kills last year, and had a .317 hitting percentage. Pelger is a native of Olathe, KS, and attended Olathe South High School.
The 6’1″ Brand is the first Wildcat to ever be named the Preseason Freshman of Year, and redshirted her first year on campus. The Grand Island, NE native will play setter and was an All-State selection her junior and senior years of high school, finishing ranked in the top 10 in school history in digs, aces, kills, blocks and assists.