On paper, the Kansas State volleyball team is young — has no seniors — and is picked to finish eighth in the Big 12 Conference this year.
But, if that piece of paper was seen at all during the team’s media day Saturday afternoon, it was crumpled up in a ball in the corner of Ahearn Field House somewhere.
In reality, the Wildcats are seasoned, incredibly excited, and are confident there will be no purple and white in the bottom of the conference by the end of the season.
“We’ve grown a lot just in the last 10 days, frankly,” Kansas State head coach Suzie Fritz said. “It’s due mostly in part to the commitment that they made this summer. They (came in) exceptionally well prepared, physically.
“They put in an enormous amount of time in this summer and had made improvement on their own — which I think is very difficult to do.”
K-State goes into the season — like the previous one — as one of the younger teams, but still brings back plenty of match experience.
Alex Muff, Kathleen Ludwig, Ashley Kelican, and Caitlyn Donahue are the Wildcats’ four returning juniors and all saw substantial time a year ago.
Muff led the Cats in blocking last year with 145 as a middle blocker, while Donahue is back at setter where she posted 256 digs in 2010.
Ludwig returns as an opposite hitter and was one of the team’s top servers a year ago.
Also returning is Kaitlynn Pelger, who was a Big 12 All-Freshman Team selection last season and started all 31 matches for KSU.
The sophomore middle blocker, and Olathe native, averaged 2.9 kills