Kansas State volleyball will embark on the 2019 season without one of its most experienced players.
Elle Sandbothe, a middle blocker who earned All-Big 12 second team honors last season, has transferred to Ohio State, where she will play her senior season. It appears likely she will be able to play immediately.
Sandbothe's older sister, Taylor, was a middle blocker for the Buckeyes from 2013 to 2016.
The Lee’s Summit, Missouri, native carded 157 kills (2.04 per set) and averaged 0.94 blocks/set last season, all career highs. She also registered double-digit kills seven times during the year.
The move happened quietly. Neither K-State nor Ohio State published anything — press releases or otherwise — about the transfer, an unusual occurrence given a player of her caliber.
But Sandbothe is no longer listed on the Wildcats’ roster online. Instead, she’s on the Buckeyes’.
Fellow middle blocker Peyton Williams, a senior this season, offered a clue to when Sandbothe may have transferred. She said the team’s trip to Brazil, which came May 29 to June 6, gave the Wildcats a chance to recover from the news.
“It was tough. It was, again, facing that kind of adversity,” Williams said. “I was really proud of how our team handled it going into Brazil. Brazil was a great time for our team in a lot of ways, but especially in that area, to try and pull ourselves together after that and figure out who was going to step up. I think we handled it really well, taking it all in stride.
“I’m really excited, honestly. I was kind of nervous at the beginning of it, but I see our team now, and how far we’ve come and how far we’ve grown and stepped up. It’s just been really encouraging and inspiring for this team.”
Williams declined to say how the team learned of the news.
Last season, Sandbothe recorded a number of the aforementioned career-highs, but in less game time. From the 2017 season to the 2018 season, her matches played dipped from 27 (each one) to 22. Her sets played fell from 93 to 77.
Still, she took advantage of the playing time she did see, logging 95 kills and 41 total blocks in Big 12 play.
Sandbothe didn’t play in two Big 12 matches.