We’ll lead off today with the Kansas State program that’s making better history for itself coming off a season that saw their first trip to the Big 12 championships.
The SoccerCats are 2-0-2 to open the 2023 season, marking both their best start to season as well as the first streak of four (or more) games without a loss. Going back to the exhibitions, it’s been six straight matches with a draw or win.
The Cats opened the season at Green Bay with an impressive 4-1 victory, followed by an even more impressive 0-0 result against #18 Northwestern in Evanston. Why is a draw so impressive? The other Wildcats beat K-State last year 2-1 to open the season, then went on to finish their season in the Elite Eight of the NCAA women’s soccer championships. Even a draw against a team like that shows a major step forward for our Wildcats.
The Cats finally got to play at home late last week, and took down 2022 CUSA champions UTSA 2-0 off a pair of great goals just 37 seconds apart in the 40th and 41st minutes to net their second win of the season. Sunday’s match against Creighton wasn’t spectacular on offense, but a third-straight clean sheet from sophomore keeper Murphy Sheaff netted the Cats another 0-0 draw to improve to 2-0-2.
Later on this week, the Wildcats head back out on the road to take on Vanderbilt in Nashville on Thursday evening. The Commodores are also 2-0-2 on the season, and the Cats will look to try and best KU’s 1-1 result against Vandy last Thursday in Lawrence.
The VolleyCats, under first-year head coach Jason Mansfield, got their own season started off on a high note, and are currently 3-0 on the young season.
K-State headed to the Pacific Northwest this past weekend to open the season at the Hotel Vance Rose City Showdown hosted by Portland State. In three matches, the Cats dropped just one set, their very first to host Portland State in the opener.
The Cats might have fallen behind 0-1 on Friday, but responded with a gutsy 28-26 second set win, before cruising to the finish with sets of 25-20 and 25-16. Saturday’s win over San Diego State was the opposite, with two easy wins (25-14, 25-13) followed by a tough 27-25 win to complete the sweep of the Aztecs. Sunday’s tournament-clinching win over Cal State Fullerton was basically a breeze, with the Cats completing the sweep 25-7, 25-21, 25-13.
The Wildcats will finally get to christen the brand-new Morgan Family Volleyball Arena this Friday as the Mavericks of Omaha are in town followed by a visit from that other red team from Nebraska on Sunday.
We don’t usually reserve this spot for BatCats in the pros, often because it’s too hard to follow them around between levels and teams. But this one is too good to not highlight.
Making his major league debut, Jordan Wicks was called up and made his first start for the Cubs on the same day, then made history recording nine strikeouts, becoming just one of four Cubs across their lengthy history to match that mark in their MLB debut, while earning his first career win.
It was a shaky start for the former Cat, who was selected 21st overall by the Cubs in 2021, as he gave up a solo homerun to the leadoff batter, another hit and a walk before settling down to retire 15 straight batters.
We’re now just five sleeps from the start of K-State’s defense of the 2022 Big 12 Championship.
Expectations are high for the Wildcats, who are returning large parts of the team that won the Big 12 crown last season, highlighted by the return of the entire starting offensive line as well as Will Howard behind center.
Howard, the unquestioned starter headed into the season, has been named to four different preseason award watch lists (Unitas Golden Arm Award, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, and Wuerffel Trophy), and will look to improve on a 2022 season where he saw action in seven games with five starts, including the final four of the season, and helped lead his team to five victories in those seven games. Of course, the biggest win of the five was the 2022 Big 12 Championship game, where Howard went 18-32 for 199 yards and 2 TDs.
On top of the countdown to the season, which is now nearly complete, we’ve also got position previews coming out fast and furious this week as try to get you prepped with some knowledge before the season gets underway against what should be a sneaky-good SEMO team on Saturday.