The bye week blues have subsided, as we all went into the weekend knowing that either Penn State or Nebraska would be humilated and that nothing which really impacts Kansas State Wildcats would be happening in the Big 12 football race.
But some other stuff happened over the weekend, and it was guh-LOR-ee-us.
Two weeks ago, we were just excited that K-State had won a second Big 12 conference game on the season. That was double their previous best, so the season was already a success in terms of forward progress.
Triple that now. K-State finished the 2020 campaign with a record of 3-6-0 after their second consecutive 2-0 win, this time in the season finale against Texas Tech at Buser Family Park on Friday night. Freshman keeper Peyton Pearson made her debut and kept a clean sheet, matching the effort two weeks ago of fellow freshman Alaina Werremeyer. Christina Baxter capped off her Wildcat career with a first-half goal off a free kick, and the next wave of Wildcats finished things off when sophomore Kyler Goins found freshman Maddie Weichel wide open in front of the net for a one-timer which blew past Red Raider goalkeeper Madison White.
Brookelynn Entz, K-State’s all-time leading scorer with 15 career goals — she was already K-State’s all-time leading scorer coming into the year with 10 — did not score. She, along with Baxter, Grace Brennan, Avery Green, Shelby Lierz, Brooke Ramos, and Maddie Souder played their final game in the purple and white. But this class elevated Wildcat soccer; they have been involved in 80% of the games won by K-State in its entire history. One wonders how many more they may have added to the total had there been a non-conference slate; on average, K-State had managed to win just under four non-conference games per season prior to this year.
Now for the bad news: with the departure of Entz, Baxter, and Souder, the Wildcats return exactly three career goals in 2021. Goins, Weichel, and Shae Turner each scored a goal each this year, and they’re the only players still on the roster who’ve done so. Meanwhile, Entz, Baxter, Souder, and Green are taking a total of 23 career goals with them.
So it’s going to be very interesting to see whether the progress will continue in 2021, or whether the team will regress.
But 2020? 2020 was pretty special. In Friday’s Sports Extra, Entz tells you just how special in her own words. Worth checking out.
Your TOP TEN Volleycats took another pair this weekend at Bramlage, this time sweeping TCU on Friday before surviving a five-set thriller on Saturday. Over the two matches, freshman phenom Aliyah Carter registered 33 kills, while Brynn Carlson racked up 26. K-State, winners of five straight, improves to 10-4 on the year and will finish their season this weekend in Waco with a huge matchup against third-ranked Baylor (11-3). A sweep would give K-State a second place finish in the conference; anything else and they’ll finish third.
As this was the final scheduled home game for this season, it was possibly the final home match for the squad’s only senior, Shelby Martin. However, it is theoretically possible that K-State could add some non-conference matches in the spring, when 28 of the 32 conferences are playing their schedules. Texas (14-0) has already clinched the Big 12 championship, and will receive the automatic bid to the “2020” NCAA Tournament, which is slated to take place with a full field in April.
The Lisa Leslie Award, which honors the top center in college basketball, released their pre-season watch list Friday. Unlike your usual pre-season watch list, this doesn’t have 300 names on it. It’s only got 20.
Oh, yeah. Football. Not much going on there with the bye week other than the transfers Drew reported over the weekend.
College Football News has bowl projections; they’ve got K-State facing Nebraska in something called the Guaranteed Rate Bowl (which we will still insist on calling the Copper Bowl for all time).
ESPN also has bowl projections, and while Kyle Bonagura and Mark Schlabach disagree on who the Big Ten team will be, they agree K-State will be headed to Phoenix as well. Bonagura thinks it’ll be against Maryland, while Schlabach tabs Iowa.
It should be noted that Phoenix is sixth in the Big 12 pecking order, so go ahead and crank up that disrespect.
Jerry Palm, somehow giving the Wildcats more credit than his peers for once, has K-State heading to Houston to go 2-0 all-time against Tennessee.
The Oklahoma’s Berry Tramel has K-State fifth in his power rankings, but notes a win this week would put the Cats right back in the thick of everything.
Of course, that may be easier said than done. K-State opens as a 10-point underdog to the Cyclones.