Cats Prepped for NCAA Volleyball

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State Head Coach Suzie Fritz and her 11th-ranked Wildcat squad finished open practice sessions Thursday, as the team prepares to face Tulsa on Fri., Nov. 30th, at 7:30 p.m. from Ahearn Field House. As the clock winds down to the start of the 2007 NCAA Volleyball Tournament, Fritz had the following statements regarding questions on the teams' preparations and her feelings on the 2007 campaign thus far.

Head Coach Suzie Fritz

On this season and meeting goals...

“I think we went into this season and felt like it was realistic for us to expect 20 wins, a top-three finish in the conference and an opportunity to be seeded provided we took care of what we needed to during the regular season. Those are generally our goals every year, and if we do those things we meet expectations most years.”

“I want this to be a tremendous experience for this team. It has been a really special year. I think the leadership of this team has been as strong as any team that we have had in recent years. The only class that I could compare it to is the 2003 class that won the Big 12 Championship. I strongly believe that this team has the ability to play for awhile yet. I think it’s a credit to the commitment that they chose to make in the spring to prepare themselves to have this kind of a year.”

On adjusting to playing unfamiliar opponents in tournament play...

“Playing different teams sharpens your focus because you do not know much about them. You have to go into it knowing that you’ll probably have to make some adjustments as the match unfolds. You play sharper when you are not certain of what to expect. There is a rejuvenated energy and sharpened focus that goes along with playing someone new.”

On how the Big 12 Conference prepares a team for postseason...

“The Big 12 is one of the most competitive conferences in the country. We have seen some of the best. The strength of our schedule, both in preseason and during season, has undoubtedly prepared us for postseason.”

On preparing for the possibility of two matches in two days...

“You have to, as the week progresses, prepare for more than one opponent at one time. Often, we are preparing for opponents but not talking about them so that our team is starting to see some things that we might see against any one of the teams. The challenges are that you have to prepare for more than one team. Secondly and perhaps the most critical challenge is that you have very little turnaround: how much information can your team take in and how much can you tell them about the next opponent.”

On the team’s attitude in practice this week....

“I felt like Monday, in particular, there was a different energy – perhaps a nervous excitement. It was a rejuvenated sense that we get to keep playing. All but 64 teams are done and we were selected to continue. We have an opportunity to play at home. I think they are just excited about that.”

On remaining at home during the opening rounds...

“Playing at home is not having to travel, the ability to sleep in your own bed, of going through daily routines of going to class and preparing for practice. Being able to do those things is invaluable. You get to stay in your own routine. I think from that perspective it is key. Most importantly to us is that we get to play in Ahearn with our people, with the Purple Pit there, all the K-State fans to support. The familiarity, staying in routines and being able to play in front of your home crowd all combine for a tremendous advantage.”

On the level of competition that will compete in Ahearn this weekend...

“After evaluating the teams, I strongly feel like it will be a competitive weekend. You get a high-level Pac-10 team (Oregon), which is a very strong conference. There is the winner of the Conference USA tournament (Tulsa), and also a perennial top team in the Missouri Valley (Missouri State). These are all some of the best teams in their respective conferences. They are used to playing good volleyball, so putting these teams together will make for some exciting volleyball this weekend.”


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