Brand named preseason All-Big 12

By The Mercury

Following a standout freshman campaign, redshirt-sophomore Katie Brand was named to the Big 12 Preseason Volleyball Team, the conference announced Thursday.

Brand was one of two setters selected to the conference’s preseason team, joining Oklahoma junior Julia Doyle, who was unanimously selected.

A native of Grand Island, Neb., Brand played in every set for K-State last season, en route to becoming the first Big 12 freshman to average more than 10 assists per set since 2010. She averaged 10.06 assists for the entire season, but the average increased to 10.24 in conference-only matches, the fourth-highest mark in the Big 12.

Brand also led all Big 12 setters in kills, blocks and points last season. Her kills (95), aces (27) and points (169.0) were the most by a K-State setter since 2007.

For her efforts on the court, Brand became the second Wildcat in program history to be selected to All-Big 12 Freshman Team. She was also named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team.

Prior to last season, Brand was voted as the Big 12 Preseason Co-Freshman of the Year. She is also only the second K-State sophomore and third Wildcat setter to be selected to the Big 12 Preseason Team.

In addition to Brand, 13 other players were named to this year’s Big 12 preseason team. Seven of the conference’s nine sch ools were represented, with Texas leading the way with four nods. Preseason awards were voted on by conference coaches, and coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players.

Senior outside hitter Haley Eckerman of Texas was selected as the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year, and Kansas setter Ainise Havili was named the Preseason Freshman of the Year.

Brand is one of seven returning letterwinners on the Wildcats’ 2014 squad. K-State opens the new season on Aug. 29 with the Green Bay Country Inn & Suites Invitational, followed a week later by the home opener on Sept. 4 against Arkansas, kicking off the Varney’s Invitational in Bramlage Coliseum.

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