Headlines 2007

12/20/07  2007 in review
The Big 12 has posted its final Volleyball Release (424 KB, PDF) with match outcomes, lots of stats and a review of each team's achievements for 2007.

12/19/07  Cats end 2007 ranked 16th
The final AVCA poll for 2007 has our K-State Cats (23-9) at #16. The national champs, #1 Penn State, took all the first-place votes. K-State was ranked in every regular-season AVCA poll this year.

Our Big 12 neighbors in the final poll include #5 Nebraska, #6 Texas and #17 Iowa State. The Cyclones have improved by leaps and bounds since our All-American, Dawn Cady Sullivan, arrived there as an assistant coach. In Big 12 competition over 12 seasons, they have the poorest overall W/L record, at 18.8%. After 10 straight losing seasons in Big 12 play, they've gone 12-8 and 11-9, so congratulations to them.

12/16/07  Final Division I NCAA stats
The lead story in national stats would be Stacey Spiegelberg's #11 national ranking in assists per game, at 13.36. The team was #22 in Division I, at 15.34 per game.

Hitting percentage was solid. Megan Farr ended the 2007 season #17 in the nation, at 0.390. Kelsey Chipman was also on the charts at #68 and .343. As a team, the Cats came in at #18 nationally.

Blocks per game was another impressive stat. The Cats ranked #29 in Division I. Kelsey Chipman was #26 at 1.47 per game. Megan Farr was #40 at 1.39 per game.

Go to my NCAA stats page for a complete look at K-State numbers, or to the NCAA's complete stats if you like.

12/12/07  Nataly Korobkova - AVCA All-American 2007!
K-State junior outside hitter Nataly Korobkova was named today as an All-American by the AVCA, the national coaches' association. Nataly is on the third team. Here are links for the announcements from the AVCA, and from K-State Sports Information.

Nataly led the Cats in kills (498), kills per game (4.33) and points per game (5.28). She was second in aces per game (.32), and third in digs per game (1.69).

Big 12 players also named as All-Americans include Juliann Faucette from UT and Sarah Pavan from NU (first team), Rachel Holloway from NU, Christina Houghtelling from NU, Tracy Stalls from NU and Destinee Hooker from UT (second team), Jordan Larson from NU, Michelle Moriarty from UT and Lauren Paolini from UT (third team).

The Big 12 had 10 of the 36 players on AVCA All-American teams.

12/05/07  Angie and Nataly selected to the AVCA All-Central Region team
Junior outside hitter Nataly Korobkova (Big 12 Newcomer of the Year 2007) has been named to the AVCA Division I All-Central Region team, in a release from the coaches' association today. Senior libero Angie Lastra (Big 12 Libero of the Year 2004, 2007) was on the honorable mention list.

Others named from the Big 12 include: Juliann Faucette (UT), Rachel Holloway (NU), Destinee Hooker (UT), Jordan Larson (NU), Michelle Moriarty (UT), Lauren Paolini (UT), Tracy Stalls (NU) and, of course, Sarah Pavan (NU). Of the 12 players named, 10 were from the Big 12.

Congratulations to Nataly and Angie. As you can see, they were in excellent company. Here's the release from Sports Information.

12/01/07  Most Inspirational Player
As I'm writing about our final match for 2007, there is another topic that I can't possibly fail to mention. The incredibly talented and courageous Megan Kroeker (#33) didn't get to play at all this season, as a result of lingering problems with her right shoulder. She was right there, helping with practice, cheering from the bench, supporting in any way she could. To imagine the impact if she had played this season, just look at the Cats' statistics from 2006 (hitting percentage, kills, kills per game, points per game, blocks per game), and see how many categories our friend Megan was #1 or #2 in. So Megan Kroeker... we haven't forgotten you for one second, and thank you for being such a wonderful inspiration and exceptional person (and most excellent Facebook friend who remembered my birthday)! Everyone wishes you the best in your continuing recovery.

12/01/07  Loss to Oregon leaves one puzzled...
I don't have this figured out yet. The first thing I want to say is congratulations to the Ducks, who played with determination and didn't give many mistakes to capitalize on. That rascally Coach Jim Moore beat Oregon when he was our coach, and he (barely) beat us with Oregon. I just wanted to give Jim a little nod, because I started going to Wildcat Volleyball matches when he was our new coach. He set our program on the path of greatness that Jim McLaughlin and Suzie Fritz have maintained. Becoming a fan of this program has become one of the best things I've ever done. Wildcat Volleyball: Be a part of it when it comes to your area!

The thing is... the Cats outscored Oregon 132-125 over the five games. The points just weren't distributed right. The Cats outhit Oregon .314 to .255. We had a handful of match points, I'm not sure how many, but weren't able to close the deal on them, with game four going way into extra points at 36-34. Megan Farr got her first double-double with 11 blocks and 15½ points on outstanding .476 hitting. Rita Liliom had a great night, hitting .400 and contributing a whopping 28½ points. Nataly Korobkova added 23 points. Kelsey Chipman added 19½ points on very fine .387 hitting. Stacey Spiegelberg hit .400 and added 7 points, 11 digs and an ace. Jenny Jantsch was busy tonight, contributing 12½ points. By the way, special thanks to Double J for saving our ace record the other day!

Angie Lastra ended her spectacular career with another 20-dig night. She recorded 575 digs this year, the most ever. Laura Downey had 558 in 2002. In addition, Angie ended her career with 2,032 digs, making her K-State's all-time dig leader, surpassing Kim Zschau's 1,578, and Kim was on the USA team for two years! As I think is mentioned below, Angie ended her career having played in every single game for four seasons, giving her yet another record for most games ever played by a Wildcat (457). What an incredible contribution she has made to our program!

Stacey Spiegelberg had a double-double, with 67 assists and 11 digs. Her 1,590 assists this season (third-high in school history) bring her career total to 4,540. That number is fourth in KSU history, only behind our old friends Devon, Gabby and Disney. Our former National Player of the Week has been a tremendous contributor to our success this past three years. Stacey kind of had to wait for her turn, as All-American Gabby Guerre was still setting in her first season. She will be remembered as the third Wildcat ever to record a quadruple-triple for a season!

I want to recognize and thank this team for a wonderful season. We enjoyed a turnaround from 12-18 to 23-9. That's a very impressive improvement. Third place in the Big 12 is tremendous. Making the 11th NCAA tournament in 12 years is awesome. We placed four players on the All-Big 12 team, and had two "Of-the-Year" players in Angie and Nataly.

11/26/07  2007 Big 12 Volleyball Postseason Awards Announced
Congratulations to Sarah Pavan of Nebraska, who for the third consecutive year has been named Big 12 Player of the Year. In Big 12 matches, Sarah leads in points, at 5.95 points per game. She leads in aces, at .58 per game. She leads in kills at 4.95 kills per game. The Cats won't be facing the National Player of the Year again, but Nebraska has a way of reloading talent.

The Big 12's press release contains a number of honors for K-State players.

Junior OH Nataly Korobkova was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, as well as landing a spot on the Big 12 First Team. Neither honor was a surprise, as Nataly was Preseason Newcomer of the Year, and she has had a huge impact on the Cats' success this season. In Big 12 conference matches, Nataly is #6 in kills, at 4.33 per game. She's #5 in service aces, at .36 per game. She's #10 in blocks, at 1.13 per game. She's #5 in points, at 5.27 per game. We've been very fortunate to have Nataly this year. She transferred in for the spring 2007 semester, and hit the ground running this year. I think there's a very strong possibility that our outstanding player from Russia will have the words All-American in front of her name by the time her K-State career comes to an end.

Senior Angie Lastra is the Big 12 2007 Libero of the Year. Talk about an easy choice! Angie has played in every single game (457) since her first moment as a Wildcat. To date in 2007, she leads the Big 12 in digs in conference matches, at an impressive 5.08 digs per game. She was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week two times this month. Angie is K-State's #5 all-time in service aces, with 150. Most importantly, she is K-State's all-time leader in digs, with 1,990 to date. It must be noted that Angie accomplished this defensive record in spite of playing primarily at outside hitter in 2006. Coach Fritz has called her the quickest player she has ever coached, and the best libero in the country. I believe we're all in agreement on that. I'll never forget the versatility Angie showed in switching to outside hitter in 2006. Her swing was described by one coach as "like a whip uncoiling." I'll never forget her focus and quickness in the backcourt throughout her career. I mean this as the highest possible compliment when I say that she makes her defensive efforts look easy. She is an extremely skilled player, and is so reliable that the magic she works seems almost effortless. Wildcat fans are incredibly lucky and thankful that Angie made the 2,325-mile journey to Manhattan to play volleyball. Finally, I was tremendously honored last season when Angie personally delivered an autographed ball to me during player introductions. Thanks, Angie!

I started saying in October that Megan Farr absolutely had to be on the All-Big 12 team. One of the best words to describe Megan is consistent. In conference matches she's #6 in blocks at 1.22 blocks per game, and #4 in blocks in all matches played. I believe that Megan is on the All-Big 12 team because she is versatile. Not only is she one of the best blockers in the conference, as of today Megan is 18th nationally in hitting percentage! (That's in addition to being 3rd in the Big 12 in hitting percentage, at .397.) At 5' 10", she's not as tall as many of her counterparts, but her jump and her athletic skill are evident in every match. There is no way the Cats would have ended at #3 in the Big 12 standings without Megan Farr. We will be forever grateful that Megan turned down a scholarship to Oklahoma to walk on to play with her hometown K-State Cats, and look forward to what is sure to be an outstanding senior season.

What are we going to do without Stacey Spiegelberg, our supermodel setter? Stacey is another player who left high school early to come for spring training. Currently she's #3 in assists, at 13.55. She leads the Cats in service aces. Stacey is 11th nationally in assists. She has turned in some legendary matches in her career, making a lasting impression with a collection of assists, aces, digs, blocks and kills. In her junior year, Stacey became just the third Wildcat to record a quadruple-triple for the season, topping 100 in assists, digs, blocks and kills. In late November of 2006, she was named the CVU National Player of the Week, just after being named Big 12 Player of the Week. We're all very happy for Stacey in her approaching marriage to Mr. Allan Evridge, and also sad that he did not end up playing for the football Cats this past two years. Stacey could have transferred to Wisconsin with Allan two years ago, but she stayed with our program, and I will always admire her for that. Best wishes to these two outstanding individuals!

11/25/07  Cats to host in the NCAA tournament
K-State has been selected as one of the 16 host sites for rounds one and two of the NCAA volleyball tournament. The NCAA has complete information on first-round sites here. Here's some video from WIBW about their preparations.

The #11 Cats (22-8) will play Tulsa (27-8) on Friday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 P.M. This will be Tulsa's first-ever appearance in the tournament. Also playing in Ahearn will be #13 Oregon (20-10) and Missouri State (25-7). K-State and Tulsa have met 24 times, and K-State leads the series 22-2. The teams last met in 1993.

My NCAA tournament bracket is available from the navigation column on the left side of this page, or by clicking here. It will be updated one or more times on each day of competition.

11/17/07  Big numbers and sad goodbyes on Senior Night
After spending my entire adult life working with college students, I should be used to saying goodbye as students go on with their lives. It would be easier if we didn't have such a special group of seniors who are finishing their volleyball careers.

Let's start with Angie Lastra, who has spent her senior year breaking records set by Big 12 Champion Laura Downey, who played in every game for four years (454 now), was Big 12 Libero of the Year in her freshman year, is fifth all-time in service aces, and is K-State's career dig leader with 1,981. In addition to her exceptional skill as a libero, we will never forget Angie's stepping up as a 5' 6" outside hitter last season, stunning opponents with her lightning-fast hit. (See a video for examples.)

Lauren Rosenthal has been a steady contributor throughout her career, and she played an extremely critical role in 2006, when Angie had to move to outside hitter. Not only a volleyball star, Lauren has been Academic All-Big 12 while pursuing a challenging architectural engineering major.

Captain Stacey Spiegelberg will finish her career with some spectacular accolades. How about National Player of the Week in Nov. 2006? How about a quadruple-triple season in 2006? Stacey has led the offense since taking over for Gabby in 2005. Coming into tonight's match, she was third in hitting percentage at .324, obviously first in assists at 13.34 per game, first in aces at .36 per game, fourth in digs at 1.71 per game and fourth in blocks.

In tonight's match vs. Colorado, Rita Liliom led all scorers with 18 points on .438 hitting. Nataly Korobkova and Kelsey Chipman each added 13 points, with Kelsey posting an unbelievable .750 hitting percentage! Stacey was also efficient, hitting .455, logging 43 assists, an ace and six block assists. Then there's Megan Farr, with 10 points and .615 hitting! Megan came into the match #1 in hitting percentage at .377, #2 in blocks per game, #4 in points per game and #4 in total kills. What a consistent contributor she has been!

An NCAA tournament invitation is assured for the Cats, who should hold steady or improve their #12 ranking on Monday. With 22 wins already, the Cats are headed for a season record that will be high on the list in the Big 12 era, including 26-9 in 1996 and 30-5 in 2003, the conference championship season.

11/16/07  Watch party with the Wildcats
In a Senior Night story in the Manhattan Mercury, it's announced that the Cats will gather at Buffalo Wild Wings in Aggieville at 7 P.M. on Sunday, Nov. 25 to catch the NCAA tournament announcements. Those not present in the 'Ville can watch the selection show on ESPNU.

11/14/07  Not a king, or a queen, but an ace! (aka Chickenhawks Served Another Loss)
Let's start with the aces... 12 of 'em. Angie "Ace" Lastra delivered five. Actually, there was a king. I'll get to that later.

It's now 24 of 26 Wildcat victories over the annoying bluebirds. The always-consistent Megan Farr once again played a major role in offense, hitting .545 and adding 18 points. Rita Liliom hit a solid .367, and led all scorers with 19 points. Nataly Korobkova, battling an injury, contributed 16 points. Defensive Player of the Week Angie J. Lastra had 23 digs to go with her aces.

The team hit .316. It wasn't the sharpest match of the season, and it certainly started slowly, but our pals the Cats snapped out of it, and by game three totally put the smack down on the struggling Chickenhawks with a score of 30-14. The Jaybirds' Big 12 record now stands at 5-13, and 12-16 overall. The Cats improved, as they say in the sports information industry, to 13-5, 21-7.

Here's a fun fact: In 12 years of Big 12 competition, KU has managed only one winning record, 13-7, in 2003. Another fun fact is that as of today, their Big 12 all-time record stands at 78-160. (The Cats' record, as of today, is 154-84, which is third-best in the Big 12.

Oh... did you see the Burger King in the Purple Pit last night? He paraded in with a Jayhawk carcass (in a bun) on a fancy plate. Some of our players noticed His Majesty, and were enjoying it quite a bit.

11/13/07  Seven Wildcats earn Academic All-Big 12
IRVING, Texas — The Big 12 conference announced today that seven Cats made All-Big 12 first team, tying Nebraska as the teams with the most honored. Those named were: Angie Lastra, Stacey Spiegelberg, Jenny Jantsch, Megan Farr, Lauren Rosenthal, Leslie Townsend and Kelsey Chipman (who has a 4.000). All those named to the first team have GPAs of 3.2 or above.

Those named must have participated in 60% of the matches, and first-semester team members are not eligible. Here's the Big 12's official announcement. Nice work, ladies!

11/12/07  Angie's Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week (again)!
IRVING, Texas — Senior Angie Lastra was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week for her 29-dig and 36-dig performances against Texas A&M and Baylor.

The 36 digs vs. Baylor equaled her career high, set in 2004 vs. Minnesota. Her 65 combined digs averaged 6.5 per game, which led the Big 12.

Angie was the Big 12 Libero of the Year in 2004, and is a strong contender for the 2007 honor. Recently, Coach Fritz referred to Angie as the best libero in the country. Her quickness and skill in the position have helped the Wildcats immensely this past four seasons.

KSU Sports Information reports, "On the year, Lastra has now tallied 12 matches of 20 or more digs to tie for the most in a single season for KSU. She also sits with 491 season digs to sit at fourth most in a season, and continues to increase her lead on the school all-time digs list with 1,948, ahead of second-place Kim Zschau by 370."

The Big 12's announcement is available right here.

11/08/07  Angie and Kelsey are academic superstars
It was announced today that both Wildcats have been named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 7 team for volleyball. CoSIDA is the sports information directors' professional organization. The full release is available here.

Angie, currently with a 3.66, has been named before. Kelsey has been named for the first time. She's well on her way to Summa Cum Laude, with a 4.000 GPA. Both Cats are pre-medicine majors. Congratulations to both of these outstanding student athletes!

11/07/07  Cats take care of Texas A&M in five
While most fans didn't expect A&M to take the #12 Cats to five games, there were some positives to be found from the evening. For example, Nataly Korobkova added 32½ points on .368 hitting. When we were having trouble breaking away from the Aggies later in the match, I turned to my friends and said, "We're too predictable. We have to get Megan Farr involved in the offense." It wasn't long until we started setting Megan, and it was goodnight to the Aggies. Megan was second in points for the night, with 22½ on .529 hitting. Megan's middle blocking partner, Kelsey Chipman, was great as usual, adding 20 points on .379 hitting... along with eight blocks. In case you hadn't noticed, the Cats hit .692 in game five.

One of these days, someone's going to have to announce an All-Big 12 team. Nataly, currently #5 in kills and #4 in points, has to be a lock. I hope the outstanding, consistent performances of Megan and Kelsey are recognized. Megan's #5 in Big 12 matches in hitting percentage, and Kelsey's #8. Kelsey is #2 in blocks per game, and Megan is #9. There's no question that Angie is the best libero in the conference. She is so fast and so good that in a way she makes what she does look effortless. Angie's currently averaging 5.05 digs per game, #2 in conference matches. Finally, Stacey Spiegelberg has to be recognized for her outstanding career. She's currently #3 in assists. Her leadership has obviously made a real difference this season.

The Cats are headed for either 22 or 23 wins by the end of regular season play. Looking at the Big 12 in 2006, Colorado got in the NCAA tournament with 16 wins. Missouri got in with 17. Combined with their strength of schedule and what will probably be about a #12 ranking, the Cats should be in excellent shape for tournament play, and probably for hosting.

One final thing: Where were our fans last night? How did we drop to an attendance of 583? This is like 1,000 below our average. I want 7,000 for the Hawks' visit next week.

11/05/07  Angie's Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week
IRVING, Texas — Kansas State senior Angie Lastra was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for her efforts against Texas Tech and Nebraska, the conference announced today.

Angie recorded a season-high 32 digs against the #2 Huskers on Saturday night in Kansas State's 3-2 loss (30-24, 30-27, 25-30, 19-30, 8-15). The 32 digs tied for fifth most in a five-game match in school history, and is Angie's third best career mark. She has registered five matches of 30 or more digs in her career, the most in KSU history.

Captain Lastra had 49 digs in eight games during the week, finishing with a 6.13 average. She finished with a match-high 17 digs (and a service ace) in the victory over Texas Tech on Wednesday.

Angie was the 2004 Big 12 Libero of the Year. She entered the Nebraska match with 394 digs, and surpassed the 400 mark for the season for the fourth consecutive year, becoming the only Wildcat in KSU history to accomplish that.

10/31/07  Another fun evening of big-time Big 12 Volleyball
Our Cats made quick work of Texas Tech this evening, 30-14, 30-19, 30-22 in Lubbock. The match was over at 8:13 P.M. With Oklahoma's loss to Texas this Halloween evening, the Cats and Sooners are in a tie for third place in the conference race, including identical overall 18-6 records.

K-State put up some great numbers. Kelsey Chipman hit .529, with 14 points, including two service aces. Rita Liliom hit .444, and led all scorers with 19 points. Jenny Jantsch had a fine evening, hitting .423 with 13 points. Megan Farr hit .357 and had 7½ points. The team hit .397, while holding TTU to .098. Angie Lastra had 17 digs.

Do you know what happened in Lincoln? Missouri took Nebraska to five games. Ultimately they lost game five, 15-10. I listened to the last two games on the Internet (since we polished off TTU so quickly). The Huskers were in shock. By the way, thank goodness we have Brian Smoller's play-by-play. I could barely follow the guy for NU. I'm not sure MU scaring NU to death is what we needed right before our match. Coach Cook asked for a big turnout of Huskers in Ahearn on Saturday. He said we'll try to keep the red out. Let's all get over there in a hurry after men's basketball. Go Cats.

10/27/07  Quite an evening vs. the Cyclones
Iowa State has come a long way in the past two seasons. In the first 11 years of Big 12 play, Iowa State won only 15% of their matches. Last year they improved to 12-8, and came into tonight's match 13-8 and in fifth place in the Big 12. Tonight against the Cats they seemed to be digging everything, and held the Cats to .201 hitting, compared to .303 vs. Missouri.

Megan Farr led with 18½ points from .407 hitting, plus six blocks. Nataly Korobkova also had 18½ points. Kelsey Chipman was close behind, with 17 points and hitting .375, followed by Rita Liliom's 15½ points. Angie Lastra contributed 23 digs. Stacey Spiegelberg had 57 assists. Game 4 was nuts, with 12 lead changes, ending at 35-33 in favor of the Cats. Ultimately, K-State scored two more points than Iowa State in the match.

10/24/07  Cats have a successful trip back east
K-State swept Missouri in Columbia tonight, 30-23, 30-19, 30-27, and are now currently in fourth place in the conference. Nataly Korobkova had a third of the scoring tonight, with 25 points on .462 hitting. Rita Liliom hit .235 for 15 points. The coaches were delighted to see our OH crew hitting strong in the same match. Kelsey Chipman hit an outstanding .529, for 13½ points. The ever-reliable Megan Farr hit .286 and contributed 9½ points. Angie Lastra recorded 20 digs and an ace. Captain Stacey Spiegelberg had 46 assists and hit a very fine .300. Altogether, K-State hit .303 and Missouri was held to .147.

The Cats weren't the only team doing some sweeping this evening, as #5 Texas put the smack down on #1 Nebraska, 30-22, 30-25, 30-20 in Austin. I knew that if Texas could sneak by the Cats 3-2 earlier this month, they surely would have a chance against Nebraska. So there you have it.

10/23/07  Time unchanged for Nov. 3 volleyball match
K-State Athletics, in a release today, has announced that a men's basketball exhibition against Fort Hays State (seriously?) will begin at 5 P.M., with volleyball following at 7 P.M. Clearly this only accommodates casual volleyball fans who are content to see most of the match, but at least we won't have a direct time conflict.

Athletics seems to be failing to consider that Nebraska fans pour into Ahearn, sometimes in the thousands, for this match. Cat fans like me who also support men's basketball will have a hard time that day.

10/22/07  Cats holding strong in the AVCA poll
K-State, on the strength of a sweep of Texas Tech on Wednesday and a near miss with #21 Oklahoma on Saturday, is at #15 in today's AVCA poll. Our pals in Lincoln are still stuck at #1. Texas improved to #5, and Oklahoma is at #21, up two from last week. The Cats have six losses: to (then) #16 Hawaii, #5 UCLA, RV Oklahoma (who moved up to #25 after beating us), #1 Nebraska, #7 Texas and #23 Oklahoma.

In the AVCA poll, 18 teams have more wins than our 15, and seven teams have 15 or fewer wins. Considering only that, we seem to have a fair ranking. Texas, with only 14 wins, is next-to-last in that department, second only to Cal Poly at 13 and Minnesota with 12.

10/06/07  University of Texas: 122, Kansas State: 122
I'm very proud of the K-State Volleyball team. Tonight we saw a wonderful performance by two ranked teams. What's the deal with 122? Each team's point total was 122. If the rules of the game were different, they would have played to a draw.

The Cats faced #7 Texas, whose only losses have come to #3 Penn State (twice) and #1 Nebraska. On the UT roster are three 6' 5" players, one at 6' 4", two at 6' 3" and three at 6' 2". When they were on the sidelines, it was like looking at a burnt orange redwood forest.

Kelsey Chipman was Player of the Game, having hit .500 on only one attack error, with five block assists and a couple of service aces, altogether making 14.5 points. Nataly Korobkova was a huge contributor, with 27.5 points, three service aces and 10 digs. Rita Liliom had 17 points, two aces, five digs and a couple of blocks. Megan Farr was solid as always, hitting .267 and 11 points. Oh... let's not forget Angie Lastra, who had 21 digs and three service aces.

In the end, Texas hit .285 and the Cats hit .196. It was an epic battle, with 47 tie scores and 19 lead changes. After the match, Coach Grove observed that when two great teams compete, it's usually little things that determine the outcome, rather than big, flashy kills. It's those small details that the Cats will be looking at in their upcoming idle week. Go get 'em, Cats!

10/01/07  Cats holding strong in the AVCA poll
The Cats are #17 in the Oct. 1 poll. Nebraska, is/are stuck at #1. Texas, the Cats' opponent on Saturday, still has #7. Oklahoma, and Iowa State are receiving votes. Won't it be fun beating #1 Nebraska on Wednesday?

9/26/07  Liliom's on fire!
It was a nice team effort over Missouri, but look at some of these numbers from Rita tonight: She hit an outstanding .583, on 15 kills and one error. Add in four service aces, and she led the team with 19 points. Ms. Liliom had new hair tonight, too. Having her back this season has made a big difference.

By the way (this from Missouri's site): Mizzou's 29-point loss ties a school record for total margin of defeat since the rally scoring era began in 2001.

9/24/07  High Ranking Cats
The Cats are #18 in this Monday's AVCA poll. Our neighbors in Lincoln (10 - 0) are holding strong at #1, and Texas is at #7 yet again with a 6 - 3 record. Which ranked team has the fewest wins? It's Texas. Even if they hadn't lost to #3 Penn State twice, they'd still only have eight wins. They've played nine matches to the Cats' 14. Oklahoma, on the strength of their victory over a powerhouse Kansas State team (and a respectable 11 - 2 record), moved into the rankings at #25. Iowa State (9 - 5) received a few votes.

9/22/07  Rocky Mountain Squeaker
I have a 30-foot hallway in my apartment that I use for pacing during occasions such as this. The Cats and Smoller got me some exercise. But, as legendary coach Jack Hartman often said, "You're always glad for a victory." Another favorite phrase of his was "find a way to win," which the Cats did tonight in turning around a 2 - 7 score in game five.

Lots of teams — volleyball, football and basketball — have come into Boulder and had unexpected trouble. It should be noted that Nebraska, 33-1 last season and national champions, picked up their lone loss on the Coors Events Center court. So... congratulations to the Cats for getting their first win in Boulder since the 2003 championship season. These past two matches have been a challenge. There is no doubt that the Cats were the superior team in both, and they just need to remember that they're a very talented group who have played everyone tough. In the loss to OU this week, they outscored 'em 127 to 107, for goodness sakes, as well as outdoing them in almost every statistical category. All I'm saying is our Cats just need to play with confidence, and they'll be fine. Watch out, Tigers!

Nice work, Kelsey and Megan Farr, who both hit .394, combining for 42% of our points, and Captain Stacey Spiegelberg, who hit .750.

9/07/07  A good day for the Cats in the Varney's Invitational
K-State swept day one of the invitational, and fans saw some impressive offense in the process. Arkansas was up first. Megan Farr hit .588, and Kelsey Chipman and Stacey Spiegelberg both hit .500, contributing to a solid .306 for the team. On defense, now-legendary Angie Lastra became the career leader in digs, passing the legendary Kim Zschau.

Up next was Northern Iowa. This time Megan Farr hit .562, Kelsey Chipman hit .450, Jenny Jantsch hit .400 and Rita Liliom hit .324. All those numbers were great, but Stacey Speigelberg recorded .714 hitting, and the team came in at .391.

Certainly the Cats won't look past their next opponent, Fresno State, who came back from two games down to defeat Arkansas on Saturday.

All told, it was quite a day for the Big 12. Every team played, and every team won. Three teams won twice. That's right. Even the Jayhawks won today. Attendance for the Varney's Invitational has not been very good, at 231 and 631, so let's all get over to the Field House on Saturday, before football.

Oh, goodness, I almost forgot. Megan Farr accidentally returned a ball to her Northern Iowa opponents off the top of her noggin. It was very impressive. According to NCAA rule 14.2.1, any part of the body may be used to play the ball, but contact only with a player's hair doesn't count as contact.

This just in on Sept. 9: Megan Farr was named MVP of the Varney's Invitational. Kelsey Chipman and Rita Liliom were also named to the team.

9/04/07  Nataly Korobkova: Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week
Coming in second in the conference last week in kills and points led to being named Offensive Player of the Week for Nataly. She hit .417 in the Houston match, then .208, .500 and .333 in Hawaii. We're very fortunate to have such a talented new player.

9/03/07  Cats climb in the rankings playing powerhouse teams
Giving #16 Hawaii a real scare helped. So did taking a game from #5 UCLA. Then there was the win over a fine Louisville team. Other Big 12 teams in the rankings this week are: Nebraska: #1 and Texas: #7. Cal Poly, who fell to the Cats, are now at #17. Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Colorado are receiving votes. The Cats' next opponent, our old friend Arkansas, are also receiving votes.

9/01/07  Congratulations to Angie Lastra
In the UCLA match, Angie had 21 digs. This, her 22nd time to record >20 digs in a match, breaks the career record of the legendary Laura Downey.

9/01/07  Good times in Hawaii
So close! I had no trouble staying up until 3 A.M. to follow the exciting match with #16 Hawaii, with games of 32-34, 26-30, 30-25 and 29-31. Troubles with serving probably accounted for the loss, but it was pretty great that in game one the Cats came back from 3-12 to play the Rainbow Wahine to 32-34. I'm very proud of our team for being so competitive with a legendary program, in front of a partisan crowd of thousands, at what had to feel like 3 A.M. to our team. Hawaii has been national champs three times, and runner-up a couple of other times, and they've led the nation in attendance for 10 years straight.

It's 11 P.M. I haven't heard the Louisville match yet, but it must have been an incredible effort. I'll start with the fifth-best hitting percentage in our program's history, .480, in a 30-27, 30-23, 30-16 sweep. Let's reflect on some of the spectacular hitting percentages logged vs. the Cardinals tonight: Kelsey Chipman: .600, Rita Liliom: .583, Jenny Jantsch: .550, Nataly Korobkova: .500, JuliAnne Chisholm: .500 and Stacey Spiegelberg: .400. That's six players above .400. That's also balanced scoring, that makes for big headaches in trying to defend, I'd think. And while I'm on hitting, how about Louisville's game one at .156 and game three at .000?

Bring on the Bruins!

8/27/07  Cats ranked in Aug. 27 AVCA poll
This is the first time K-State has been ranked since Sep. 11, 2006. Beating a Top 14 team helps, doesn't it? Other Big 12 teams in the poll are Nebraska at #1, Texas at #6, Missouri at #20 and Oklahoma at #22. Colorado, Iowa State and Texas A&M received votes. Next week the Cats will face #5 UCLA, #10 Hawaii and Louisville (who would be #26 if the poll had 26 slots).

8/26/07  Cats shock some people in Wichita
Our K-State Cats had a fine weekend. Where do we start? How about leading the Big 12 at 3-0, defeating #14 Cal Poly and a confidence builder by winning a five-game match? Then there was a hard-fought 3-1 win over their hosts, Wichita State (RV), in front of a fired-up crowd of 6,024, more than have ever seen the Cats play in Manhattan. We were mean to the Mean Green with a rally scoring record low of 30-6 in game three vs. North Texas. Newcomer of the Year Nataly Korobkova recorded 26 kills on 63 attacks vs. Cal Poly, was given a break vs. North Texas, then led the team with 19 kills vs. WSU. Megan Farr had a big weekend, with hitting percentages of .346, .545 and .444, and some blocks at critical points in games. Stacey Spiegelberg had her 21st double-double, with 58 assists and 13 digs against Cal Poly. Angie Lastra had her 21st match of > 20 digs vs. Cal Poly, tying Laura Downey, and almost did it again vs. WSU. (Brian Smoller reported that Laura dug one ball as a spectator during the classic.) Kelsey Chipman was solid throughout, recording her first service ace, hitting .222, .267 and .385, and with several critical blocks. Jenny Jantsch was mean to the Mean Green, with 13 kills on .379 hitting.

Updating this story on Sunday: Nataly Korobkova was named MVP of the Wichita State Classic, and Megan Farr and Angie "Ace" Lastra were included on the all-tournament team.

8/14/07  Catch the alumni and purple-white matches on August 18
The court is down. The last of the bleachers are being dragged into place. Been a little chilly lately? Warm up in good old Ahearn on Saturday the 18th with our Cat alumni at 4 P.M. and the 2007 Cats at 5:30. Actually it may seem cool, as the high on Saturday is only going to be 90°.

8/07/07  Nataly Korobkova: Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year
Nataly, a 6-3 junior from Russia, has been named the Big 12's Newcomer of the Year (preseason). She was here for the spring training season and recorded .300 hitting in the Great Lakes Spring Invitational, in which the Cats came in third out of a number of teams.

6/17/07  Cats place 13 on Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll
Hi. It's been a while. This just in... every single one of the active players in 2006 made the Big 12 honor roll. Now we knew the Cats were deep thinkers, but this is a spectacular performance. Those honored included Ginta Gabruseva, Jenny Jantsch, Megan Kroeker, Angie "Ace" Lastra, Rita Liliom, Lauren Rosenthal, Stacey Spiegelberg, Sandy Werner and Leslie Townsend. In addition, Kelsey Chipman, FR in pre-med; Megan Farr, SO in management; Abby Fay, FR in business and Lauren Mathewson, FR in open option, recorded a 4.000. Congratulations, ladies!

4/14/07  No home invitational this spring / Cats to Chicagoland
The Cats ended their spring practice season with the Great Lakes Center NCAA Spring Invitational in Aurora, Illinois, playing a total of 11 games. The matches were best two of three. The Cats began by falling to Purdue, 0-2 in close games. They rebounded versus Mississippi State, 2-0, and the Cats made the gold bracket on overall points. Next up was a 2-0 win over Dayton, followed by a close three-game loss to Michigan (20-25, 25-21, 14-16). The last match was a two-game win over Georgia Tech. The Cats were 7-4 for the day, and ended up in third place in the 22-team extravaganza. Newcomer Natalya "Nataly" Korobkova had 39 kills and hit .300 for the day, and the legendary Megan Farr had 28 kills and hit .500. Overall, the Cats went 15-4 in the spring.

3/31/07  Nothing like starting with a sweep!
The Cats traveled to Fayetteville on March 31 to compete in the Arkansas Spring Tournament. They played five teams: Creighton, Arkansas, Memphis, Missouri State and Pittsburg State in either one or two games, and ended the day with an eight-game sweep. The Cats' official site reports that Megan Farr had 26 kills and hit .450 for the day. Wait a minute... .450 over eight games? From anything I know about volleyball, that is spectacular. Rita Liliom, in her first action since 2005, had 37 kills and hit .250. Fans everywhere will be thrilled to see Rita playing again.

3/17/07  Cats' 2007 schedule released
As we're winding down basketball with the NIT and WNIT, it's time to turn our attention to the 2007 version of Wildcat Volleyball. The schedule's out, and you can have a look at it right here.

Alright... this is big time... The Cats are going to Hawaii. While the scenery will be beautiful, this is a working vacation, as K-State will be playing in the University of Hawaii Invitational. I assume the Cats will be playing in the Stan Sheriff Center, which is Hawaii's home to men's and women's volleyball and basketball. While it's not quite Bramlage Coliseum, they fill that place up for volleyball. I have the 2006 NCAA Volleball Records in front of me. Hawaii, as usual, led the NCAA in attendance in 2005, averaging 7,302 per game. We'll play Hawaii (#9 in 2006), UCLA (#3 in 2006) and Louisville.

Stay tuned, as it won't be long until the Cats have spring exhibition matches. Look for more on the spring schedule in the coming week.

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 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.

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