Headlines 2006

12/06/06  JuliAnne Chisholm signed to national letter of intent for 2007
From Sports Information: Coach Suzie Fritz announced the signing of JuliAnne Chisholm of Hillsboro to a National Letter of Intent (NLI) on Wednesday.

"She is athletically-gifted and is a fluid, natural athlete," said Fritz about Chisholm. "Our hope is when she has the ability to focus on one sport and put her efforts into that, her work ethic and unlimited potential will allow her to become an elite volleyball player."

Chisholm, a 5-10 outside hitter from Hillsboro High School, is a 2006 Class 3A State All-Tournament Team selection. She also garnered first team All-Class 3A honors and the MVP award from the Hutchinson News, as well as first team All-Class from the publication. She finished the 2006 season with 381 kills on a .448 hitting percentage, 242 digs, 126 total blocks and 40 service aces in 38 matches and 80 games played. JuliAnne registered a personal season-high of 21 kills and 19 digs against Canton-Galva on Sept. 30. She was also a four-year letterwinner in basketball and track at Hillsboro.

11/28/06  Stacey Spiegelberg named National Player of the Week by CVU
From College Volleyball Update: The Collegiate Volleyball Update (CVU.com) is pleased to announce that Kansas State University junior Stacey Spiegelberg has been selected as the CVU.com National Player of the Week for Nov. 20 through Nov. 26.

A 6-0 setter from Overland Park, Kan., Spiegelberg led Kansas State to its first back-to-back wins in Big 12 play, taking the Wildcats out of the season on a high note.

The junior started things off with a big night against Texas Tech, dishing out 58 assists while scooping 10 digs and contributing five kills on .556 hitting. She also added four blocks and a career-high five service aces in the 3-1 win.

Then, against in-state rival Kansas, Spiegelberg put up another balanced match. In the sweep, the junior added 37 more assists, eight digs and five kills on .500 hitting. Additionally she had four aces and three more blocks.

For the week, Spiegelberg averaged 13.57 assists, 2.57 digs, 1.43 kills (on .529 hitting), 1.29 aces and 1.0 blocks per game while leading Kansas State to .309 hitting for the two matches.

Spiegelberg is also only the third Wildcat to record a quadruple-triple season, topping 100 in assists, digs, blocks and kills.

11/27/06  Stacey Spiegelberg: Big 12 Player of the Week
DALLAS — Setter Stacey Spiegelberg was named Big 12 Player of the Week today. Spiegelberg guided the Wildcats to their first two-match win streak in Big 12 play this season with wins over Texas Tech and Kansas. She is the first K-State athlete to earn Player of the Week honors since Sept. 13, 2004.

For the week, Spiegelberg tallied 95 assists (13.57 apg), 18 digs (2.57 dpg), 10 kills (1.43 kpg), nine service aces (1.29 sapg) and seven blocks (1.00 bpg). Kansas State hit .309 for the week with 113 kills, registered 27 total team blocks and tallied 24 service aces.

In Wednesday's 3-1 win in Lubbock, Spiegelberg dished out a match-high 58 assists, tallied 10 digs, recorded a match- and career-high five service aces, tallied five kills on a .556 hitting percentage with zero attack errors and added in four blocks. It was the 11th double-double of the season for the junior from Overland Park, Kan., and the 20th of her career.

During the match, she became just the third player in the 32-year history of Kansas State volleyball to record a quadruple-triple for a season, surpassing triple digits in assists, digs, blocks and kills.

In Saturday's 3-0 win over Kansas in Ahearn Field House, Spiegelberg dished out 37 assists, registered eight digs, jumped into the attack herself with five kills on a .500 hitting percentage, dropped in four service aces and aided the defense with three blocks.

11/25/06  Not a good day to be a Jayhawk...
As I predicted on 11/22, the Cats gave the feathered critters from Lawrence more than they could handle. The Squawks looked like "What just happened to us?" when they walked off the Terina Irsik Court after outcomes of 30-16 and 30-14 in the first two games. The Cats were focused, they were playing very well together and from early on it was clear they were on track for a big match. In fairness to KU, they did show up on time for the match, and only whined to the first referee a couple of times.

Service aces were the story of the match, as the team combined for a season-high of 15, led by Jenny Jantsch's five and Stacey Spiegelberg's four. "The first games were very disappointing," KU coach Ray Bechard said. "It was the best serving team we've seen all year..." Sports Information reports that it was the most aces for a K-State team since recording 18 in a 3-0 win over UMKC on Sept. 9, 2003.

It was fitting that Sandy Werner led the Cats with 15.5 points on her senior day, just as it was fitting that she made the last kill in game three to win the match. Thanks to Sandy for a tremendous four years, and for her part in the 2003 Big 12 championship!

Several players had an efficient afternoon. Megan Kroeker's eight kills and no errors equaled .471 hitting and 13 points. Megan was second in hitting for the season at .305, and she led the team in blocks. Captain Stacey Spiegelberg hit .500 and added 10.5 points with a nice assortment of kills, blocks and aces. Megan Farr had another excellent match, with 10 kills and 3.5 blocks, for 13.5 points. She hit .350, and ended her sophomore season leading the team with a hitting percentage of .322.

It was too bad this match wasn't on television. There were some spectacular plays and service aces that should be recorded for the ages. The fans were extremely pleased and encouraged with the Cats' performance as the season drew to a close. With just two or three points' difference in their seven five-game matches, they would be in the NCAA tournament next week. With the return of the courageous and talented Rita Liliom next season, the Cats have great things in store. I've repeatedly noticed Rita's positive attitude and encouragement of the team from the sidelines this season, and have tremendous respect for the way she has responded to adversity.

I want to recognize the amazing Angie Lastra for stepping up, literally, to the front row to fill in for Rita and Tiffany. For a 5' 6" player to find the success on the front row that Angie had—and in Big 12 competition—is the story of the season for the Cats. Angie's swing, as Coach Taylor pointed out to me, is noticeably different from that of the usual outside hitter. It's lightning fast, and it uncoils like the crack of a whip. It's more of an arc than a swat. I've followed our volleyball program closely for 13 seasons now, and Angie's switch to outside hitter is unquestionably the coolest thing I've seen. Angie was a strong contender for Big 12 Libero of the Year. The selection peeps had better put her on the All-Big 12 team. She's earned it.

11/22/06  Too bad the season ends this week. What a night vs. Texas Tech!
There was lots of good news from Lubbock tonight in a 29-31, 30-24, 30-21, 30-18 victory over TTU. Outside hitter Angie Lastra recorded 21 kills and hit .425. Angie's at 1,447 career digs. When she suits up vs. KU, she's certain to pass the legendary Laura Downey in career digs. Next season, Angie will break the legendary Kim Zschau's school record of 1,518 digs. Megan Farr, who's leading the Cats in hitting percentage this season, added 15 kills and hit an excellent .467. (Could I just take a moment and mention how annoying Tech's box score is to read? It truly is a mess. Thanks.) How about Captain Stacey Spiegelberg? Five of nine with no errors equals a blistering .556 hitting percentage. She logged 58 assists and tossed in five service aces. That's great and a career high, but here's a bulletin: she had three consecutive aces in game three! Kelsey Chipman had another fine evening, with .417 hitting.

In the opinion of this amateur sports writer, the Cats are poised to put a serious hurtin' on the Squawks on Saturday. They'll wish they were never hatched when our Cats get done with them. Be there for the demolition, and Sandy Werner's final appearance! For those who aren't season ticket holders, show your men's BB ticket and get in for $1. K-State students, show your ID card and get in free. It's your last chance to see the Cats in action until April.

11/16/06  A big night for Megan Farr
Sophomore middle blocker Megan Farr set a career high vs. Texas on Nov. 15. She recorded 18 kills with only three errors, for .417 hitting. Toss in seven block assists for a team-high 21.5 points. Not that we didn't see this coming... Prior to the Texas match, Megan was #3 in hitting percentage at .298, a thousandth behind Megan Kroeker's .299 and just behind Tiffany Johnson's .301. If my arithmetic is correct, Megan's efficient evening of hitting has put her in first place for the Cats this season, at .309. She's going to be doing a lot of good the next two seasons!

11/16/06  Megan Kroeker's gettin' it done!
Sophomore middle blocker Megan Kroeker had a great night vs. Texas. Her 15 kills on three errors brought in a team-high .429 hitting percentage. She contributed 17 points. Megan's hitting percentage for the season is up to .303. Her total of 282 kills for the season is second only to Sandy Werner. Megan leads the team for the season with 141 blocks. She's second in scoring on the team with 267 points. All great numbers for a great player!

11/08/06  Look at these numbers from the Baylor match!
Stacey Spiegelberg had some very nice stuffs, giving her an amazing .833 hitting percentage. Megan Farr recorded 10 kills on 17 attempts for an outstanding .529! Megan Kroeker continues to make tremendous contributions, logging 12 kills on 21 hits for .429 and a match-leading 15 points. Outside hitter Angie Lastra recorded a very respectable .269 and 12.5 points, along with four service aces. Together the team hit .282.

11/01/06  A huge night for Kelsey Chipman
Freshman middle blocker Kelsey Chipman set career highs of 20 kills and 15 blocks, obviously a double-double. She set a five-game block assist record with 15, giving her a total of 27.5 points and the most block assists in the history of our program. Kelsey's 27.5 points was second this season only to Megan Kroeker's 28, vs. Oklahoma on Oct. 14. One more thing: Kelsey's hitting percentage was .385.

10/21/06  Angie, Megan Farr and Sandy give Missouri fits!
Angie Lastra got a career-high 23 kills, Sandy Werner had 20 and Megan Farr had 15. It was Angie's fourth straight double-double. When Missouri played here, it was clear that they are a very good team, so I was extremely proud of the Cats for taking #12 MU to five games. Angie's continuing to be a force on the front row. In the Texas Tech match on Wednesday, I couldn't help noticing how many times Angie's opponents were left laying on the floor after one of her attacks. I put together a QuickTime video of her heroics vs. Texas Tech, and you can download it on my brand new videos page.

10/11/06  Angie's first double-double!
Angie Lastra was moved to outside hitter for the KU match, and the move underscored what a tremendous athlete she is. Want proof? She led the Cats with 20 kills, and she registered an excellent .357 hitting percentage. Along the way, she logged 17 digs, second only to libero Lauren Rosenthal, resulting in her first double-double. After the match, Jeff Grove explained that Angie has a very fast swing, so opponents have little time to react. He believes Angie will be playing outside hitter for the forseeable future.

10/11/06  Nice work, Kelsey
Freshman Kelsey Chipman, in her first career start, hit .364 and had 13 points.

10/10/06  Oklahoma match time change
From Sports Information: Saturday's Big 12 volleyball match between Kansas State and Oklahoma in Ahearn Field House has been adjusted to 1 p.m. The match is part of another "Wildcat Weekend." Fans can bring their football game ticket for Saturday's Nebraska-Kansas State game and receive entry to the volleyball match in Ahearn Field House for just $1.

10/08/06  Angie leads in digs
Congratulations to Angie Lastra, who continues to lead the Big 12 in digs in conference matches, at 5.31/game.

9/27/06  "Never, never, never give up." — Sir Winston Churchill
Or, as Bill Snyder likes to say, "Keep sawing wood." Go make some noise in Texas, Cats!

9/18/06  Cats missing in the poll this week
A loss to 12-1 Baylor, plus an idle weekend, resulted in K-State dropping out of the AVCA poll today. Nebraska (9-0) is holding steady at #1. Texas (7-2) remains at #5. Missouri (7-4) lost to Colorado and dropped to #22. Colorado, Baylor, Iowa State and K-State received votes. The mystery of the week is what on earth Pepperdine (4-6) is doing in the poll, at #23. They must have been playing some blockbuster competition in California.

9/11/06  Cats ranked #24 this week
Defeating #23 Notre Dame, along with a bunch of other good things happening, brought the Cats back into the AVCA rankings this Monday. Nebraska (7-0) is #1. Texas (5-2) is up to #5. How did that happen? Missouri (6-3) dropped a bit, to #17. Texas A&M is receiving votes.

9/09/06  Rudy is not pleased... Cats sweep Notre Dame
Defense! The Wildcats, with 20.5 blocks, broke a three-game record set in 1986, thanks to major contributions from Megan Kroeker, Sandy Werner and Tiffany Johnson. #23 Notre Dame hit a mere .023 for the match! In fact, the Cats got close to the five-game record of 23.5 blocks, set about 20 years ago against Wichita State. Megan Farr came off the bench and hit .667. Senior Sandy Werner led in offense with 14.5 points, with Jenny Jantsch coming in a close second at 14 points.

9/05/06  Not quite ranked
The Cats were one notch away from being ranked in the first AVCA poll of the season. Hopefully a strong showing in the Northern Iowa tournament this weekend will take care of that. Nebraska (4-0) leads the poll at #1. Santa Clara (5-0), who kept us out of the poll, is at #4. Texas (4-1) is at #7. Missouri (6-1), our first home opponent in the Big 12 race, came in at #15. Our weekend opponent, Notre Dame (3-2) is at #23. Texas A&M (5-1) received votes.

9/02/06  Cats go undefeated in the Varney's Invitational
It was an interesting weekend. The Cats swept Lipscomb on Friday afternoon, but the Bison played them pretty evenly early in the first two games. The Cats prevailed, winning 30-13, 30-19, 30-10 on a .465 hitting average, with seven service aces, .643 hitting by Megan Farr, .500 hitting by Ginta Gabruseva, .429 from Kelsey Chipman in her first home match, .440 from Sandy Werner, and a mere 1.000 from Megan Kroeker.

The Wichita State match showed the Cats all they wanted, and we had to come from behind in every game before recording victories of 30-21, 30-28 and 32-30. Overall, the Cats hit .264 for the match, thanks in no small part to .474 from Tiffany Johnson and .355 from Megan Kroeker. Wichita State is a solid program. They ended 2005 ranked #25 in the AVCA poll, with a 28-3 record and a Missouri Valley championship.

Montana State? Who knew? The Bobcats went 15-15 last season. The Cats struggled early, as evidenced by a 22-30 loss in game 1. The Cats weren't communicating especially well, and they seemed tired. It just wasn't a typical performance at all. Game 2 came in at 30-25, but there still wasn't a good feeling about our chances in the match. There must have been quite an intermission pep talk from Coach Fritz. The Cats came out clearly more focused, and seemingly with renewed energy, to win game 3, 30-14. Service aces started reappearing. Add ten to the collection. Stacey Spiegelberg hit .750! The Cats cruised to victory in game 4, 30-7.

8/24/06  Rita Liliom injured and out for the season
We're very sorry to report that junior outside hitter Rita Liliom injured a knee in a play in the Purple-White scrimmage on August 19, and her MRI didn't result in good news. She will not be able to play this season. Best wishes for a quick and successful recovery to a great Wildcat.

8/09/06  Cats begin 2006 ranked 25th
The AVCA's preseason poll came out on August 8, with K-State at no. 25. The Cats were ranked #24 in the final poll for 2005. Other Big 12 teams in the poll are Nebraska at #1, Texas at #8 and Missouri at #13. Colorado and Texas A&M received votes. OK... Nebraska isn't going away, but don't some of you agree that it's time to put the smack down on Texas and Missouri?

8/07/06  Wildcats on FOX
Kansas State Volleyball will play two home matches in 2006 on live FSN Midwest broadcasts, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced on Monday. The Wildcats' first appearance on FSN Midwest will be Sept. 20 against Missouri, which will be broadcast across the state of Kansas and in the Kansas City market. K-State's second appearance will come a month later on Oct. 18 against Texas Tech. The match will be broadcast throughout the entire FSN Midwest region.

"Any time we can be on live television and the type exposure that generates is a huge benefit for our program," said K-State head coach Suzie Fritz. "Ahearn is such a special place to play, and our fans are exceptional. This will give not only the state of Kansas the opportunity to see what an exceptional place Ahearn Field House is, but the entire Midwest."

8/07/06  Deep thinkers!
The K-State Volleyball team was recognized today with the AVCA's Team Academic Excellence Award. This award resulted from the large number of Cats on the All-Big 12 Academic Team. FIRST TEAM: Joy Hamlin (anthropology), Jamie Perkins (pre-medicine), Sandy Werner (kinesiology), Angie Lastra (biology), Stacey Spiegelberg (pre-nursing) and Jenny Jantsch (business). SECOND TEAM: Katie Stanzel (marketing) and Rita Liliom (social science). The AVCA award calls for a cumulative team GPA of 3.30 or better!

8/05/06  New rules for 2006
1. There's a big emphasis this year on ball handling calls. The rules say (this isn't anything new), "the ball may not be lifted, pushed, carried, caught or thrown." The NCAA is calling for officials to recognize that the ball is not hit quite the same in different plays (setting, passing, hitting, etc.). They are calling for consistency, but consistency within each type of play, and throughout the match. They want the appearance of the hit to be considered, not the sound of it, the spin of the ball, the score or what the official anticipates will happen. 2. The net violation rule has been rewritten. The rule now says, "Contact with the net by a player is not a fault, unless it is made during an action of playing the ball, or it interferes with the play. Playing the ball may include actions in which the player(s) does not actually touch the ball." I wonder if that last sentence (highlighted in the rule book) is going to make this difficult to apply consistenty. I have personally felt that there is overemphasis on how the ball is hit, as well as too much fussiness over contact with the net. It'll be interesting to see what happens with all this.

8/02/06  David's goal for the season
Take a look at the Big 12 Standings for 1996 - 2005. The Cats are a mere three wins out of second place all-time in conference play. Naturally, Nebraska's way out in front. Texas has improved in recent years, and has 139 wins to 137 for K-State and Texas A&M. Let's get behind our team and end the season in second place in this category. This is a very realistic goal, I think.

8/02/06  Big 12 Preseason Poll
Hi. It's been a while, hasn't it? Volleyball starts this month, so here we go!! The Cats have come in fourth in the Big 12 preseason poll, announced today. K-State finished fourth in the 2005 season, so this standing is probably not a surprise. Interestingly, this very respectable preseason standing comes without a single Wildcat player having been named to the preseason all-conference team. The biggest surprise has to be that Texas Tech came in 11th (and that anyone would be below Iowa State and Oklahoma in the poll).

6/14/06  Vali goes pro.
Coach Justin Ingram reports that Vali Hejjas has signed with a professional volleyball team in France. She'll be on a working vacation on the French Riviera. We know she'll do great!

6/05/06  Best wishes to Brian Smoller and Elizabeth Caskey
Wildcat Volleyball's outstanding play-by-play announcer, Brian Smoller of KMAN, and local attorney Elizabeth Caskey have announced their engagement. They will be married on July 8th. We wish much happiness to these great alumni!

6/02/06  Congratulations to Coach Jeff Grove
Tim Fitzgerald's Powercat Illustrated honors excellence in K-State athletics each year with its PI Premier Awards.

Associate head coach Jeff Grove was named as the university's Assistant Coach of the Year in the June-July 2006 issue of Powercat Illustrated. The announcement focuses on Coach Grove's contributions to the Cats' defensive strategies.

The article begins, "No offense to the Kansas State football or women's basketball teams, but another Wildcat sports team has quite possibly made a more impressive run over the past decade." But we knew that. Congratulations and thanks, Coach Grove!

4/29/06  Wildcats go 4-4 in two matches vs. Minnesota
#21 Minnesota won the morning and #24 K-State won the afternoon today in Minneapolis. The volleyball powers each won four games, bringing both teams' spring exhibition seasons to a close. Rita Liliom had 32 kills and hit .220. Ginta Gabruseva had 23 kills and hit .250. For full details, go over and read Sports Information's official recap.

In the morning, K-State took a 2-1 lead, with game scores of 30-23, 20-30 and 30-27. Game four came in at 27-30. The Golden Gophers had match point at 14-10 in the fifth game, but the Cats fought back to tie it at 14. Game five ended 19-21 in favor of the Gophers.

Minnesota dropped the afternoon match to K-State in three games: 30-23, 16-30 and 30-24.

Coach Suzie Fritz will team up with Minnesota assistant coach Dave Boos in May, when both will serve as assistant coaches for the USA Volleyball A2 team.

The Cats went 27-10 in the spring in games played, and 10-1 (with 4 ties) in matches played. Now it's almost four long months until the next match. What's a fan to do?

4/24/06  Cats now 23-6 in spring exhibition action
The Cats went 6-3 at Loyola-Marymount over the weekend. They defeated Cal State-Northridge 2-0, went 2-1 with Long Beach State and split 1-1 with both U. C. Santa Barbara and Loyola-Marymount.

Redshirt freshman Megan Farr led the team in hitting at .420, and she had 11 kills.

Exhibition play ends on April 29 in Minneapolis, as K-State will play five games vs. the Minnesota Gophers in the morning, and three games in the afternoon. Minnesota ended the 2005 season ranked #21 in the AVCA poll, while the Cats came in at #24.

4/08/06  A strong showing in the K-State Spring Invitational on April 8
The Cats had a volleyball marathon, playing 5 matches and 10 games. They won 9 of 10 games, splitting the last match with Creighton. Here are the scores: Brigham Young: 30-27 & 30-25. Nebraska-Kearney: 30-21 & 30-25. Arkansas: 30-17 & 30-24. Wichita State: 30-25 & 30-17. Creighton: 30-23 & 21-30. So far in spring exhibition play, the Cats are 17-3.

2/14/06  Suzie Fritz to assist with USA Volleyball
Head volleyball coach Suzie Fritz has been appointed as an assistant coach for the 2006 USA Women's National Volleyball A2 Team, USA Volleyball has announced. Team USA head coach is Mary Wise, of the Florida Gators. Wildcat legend Kim Zschau was on the 2001 USA Volleyball team.

Coach Fritz has a record of 112-44 (.718) in five seasons at the helm of the Wildcat volleyball program. She ranks second in Kansas State history for wins, and was the fastest coach to record 100 career wins. Suzie led K-State to its 10th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its seventh straight 20-win season in 2005. She guided K-State to its first Big 12 Conference title in 2003, and an appearance in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

The A2 team is a training team for the national squad, and is made up of prospective Olympians and national team members. Team USA will train from May 22-26. The 12-player squad will then compete in the Women's Open Division of the USA Volleyball Adult Open Championships at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center from May 27-30.

The 2006 A2 team members are: Marcie Hampton and Kisya Killingsworth of Florida, Kekai Crabbe and Sophia Milo of Pepperdine, Audra Jeffers and Jackie Simpson of Wisconsin, Faye Barhorst of Dayton, Shonda Cole of South Carolina, Dominique Lamb of Arizona, Ashley Nu'u of Colorado, Airial Salvo of Utah and Ami Stevens of Ohio State.

The Wildcats' graduate assistant coach, Shawn Taylor, will also make the trip and assist in coaching.

12/30/05  Kelsey Chipman named Kansas Player of the Year
The Kansas Volleyball Association has named senior Kelsey Chipman its player of the year in Class 6A. Kelsey signed as a Wildcat in November.

Kelsey is a 6-1 student at Washburn Rural High School. The middle blocker comes to K-State with first team All-State honors in 2004. She made the first team of the All-State 6A Tournament team in 2003 through 2005. During the 2005 season, she led the Blues with 313 kills, a .479 hitting percentage and 93 total blocks in 44 matches.

The daughter of Bob and Carol Chipman, she has also excelled in the classroom, being named to the National Honor Society in 2004 and 2005, and to the Kansas Volleyball Association All-Academic Team in 2004. Bob Chipman played basketball for Jack Hartman in 1972-74 in Ahearn Field House, and has been the men's basketball coach at Washburn University for 25 years.

Kids... just say no to KU.   
Go Cats!