K-State team celebrates a set win together. K-State Volleyball faced Iowa State on Saturday night beating out Iowa 3-1 sets at Bramlage Coliseum.

In this file photo from last season, Kansas State team celebrates winning a set in its match against Iowa State at Bramlage Coliseum in Sept. of 2020. The Wildcats will host Kansas for a two-match series, renewing the Sunflower Showdown, on Friday and Saturday.

After a tough two-match series at No. 2 Texas last weekend, Kansas State volleyball (15-10, 6-8 Big 12) will end the regular season at home, renewing its in-state rivalry against Kansas on Friday and Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum.

K-State head coach Suzie Fritz said her team didn’t have enough answers for the top-notch serving power of the Longhorns.

“We found Texas’ serving to be (difficult),” Fritz said. “They are leading the country in serving aces. That can really put a lot of pressure on you from the service line. That was one of our primary concerns going into (the series), and it continued to be a concern as it was happening. I felt like it was really difficult for us to get into a consistent offensive rhythm. When we were in system, we were pretty effective, but we spent too much time out of system. (Texas) can do a lot with their serving and their blocking right now. They are pretty legit. I can confidently say a national championship contender.”

Fritz said despite the mismatch and struggles, the team still benefited from the series.

“I think the positive thing about playing a team of that caliber late in the season is that it is only going to help us going forward in terms of going into this last series against Kansas and then into the NCAA tournament,” Fritz said. “More than anything, it is a great opportunity for preparation going forward.”

K-State players had the week off from classes for Thanksgiving, and Fritz said the players were given a few off days to rest and get in touch with their family before preparation for Kansas began Tuesday. She said she has been pleased with how the team has responded after the Texas sweep.

“The energy was good with fresh legs,” she said. “The attitude was good. I think the execution could be better and the next couple days we will get ready for Kansas.”

Fritz said the Jayhawks are “a very physical team” heading into Friday’s opener.

“I think defensively they can provide some challenges,” she said. “Their blocking numbers are good. Serving numbers are pretty good. Statistically speaking, they are pretty comparable to some of the things we are doing.”

On top of the matchup statistics, K-State has two players on its roster (junior Loren Hinkle and freshman Jaden Ravsborg) from Kansas, giving the pair extra incentive.

“I don’t think there is any doubt for players who have grown up in Kansas and chose to come to Kansas State, I am sure there might be a little bit more excitement and enthusiasm for this (opponent),” Fritz said. “We have two players from the state of Kansas. I believe Kansas has an equal if not a few more, so from their perspective there is probably a little bit more (emotion) on (the series). Rivalry matches are fun no matter what. I don’t know if we prepare for them any different, but for sure I think there is excitement going.”

Recommended for you