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SLATE: Volleyball in the NCAA Tournament

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Plus Happy Bill Snyder Day (and some other football stuff), women’s basketball keeps rolling, and more!

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Bill Snyder
10 Oct 1998: Head coach Bill Snyder of the Kansas State Wildcats talks to his players during the game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado. The Wildcats defeated the Buffaloes 16-9. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr /Allsport
Brian Bahr /Allsport

Happy Bill Snyder Day!

33 years ago today, Nov. 30th, 1988, Bill Snyder was officially announced as the head football coach at Kansas State University, inheriting the worst NCAA Division 1 program in the history of college football. In just 10 years, Snyder took that moribund program to doorstep of the national championship game, and five years later won the programs first conference title in nearly 70 years. After a brief retirement, the Hall of Fame coach returned and won yet another Big 12 title before retiring again in 2018.

Thank you, Coach Snyder.

Volleyball

For the first time since 2016, the VolleyCats are headed to the NCAA Tournament, as Sunday they were announced as one of the final four teams in the 64-team field for the 2021 tournament. The Wildcats will head to Lincoln, NE, and will face Florida State in the first round. Winner gets (presumably) Nebraska on their home court. This is the 13th trip to the postseason in Suzi Fritz’s 21 seasons at K-State, and the 18th all-time trip to the NCAA-sponsored postseason tournament. The Wildcats were considered for an at-large bid last season, but were among the first group of teams left out of the shrunken 48-team event in 2020.

The VolleyCats also got some big news on Saturday, as the Morgan Family Arena was officially announced, with expected completion by Fall 2023. It will be the first purpose-built home for the Wildcats volleyball program, who have been using Bramlage Colisuem for games the last two seasons after leaving aging Ahearn Fieldhouse.

Basketball

The Wildcats women’s basketball team extended their home winning streak to seven with a 78-57 win over North Dakota State last night in Bramlage. It wasn’t always pretty, but behind Ayoka Lee’s 22 points, 14 rebounds, and a career-high 8 blocks, the Wildcats eventually pulled away from Bison to win the game. It is Lee’s 6th-straight double-double, which ties a career record for her, and the 8 blocks ties for second in school history. And while Serena Sundell had been the hot freshman, last night it was Brylee Glenn who took that title with a 13-point outburst in the 4th quarter to finish with 15 for the game. Next up for the Wildcats is the Big 12/SEC Challenge, and the MittieCats will head to Columbia, SC to take on the consensus #1 South Carolina Gamecocks.

Speaking of Sundell, prior to last night’s game, she was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Week after averaging 14.5 points, as well as 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks in 25.5 minutes per game last week.

Football

No coaching news yet, but two Wildcats entered the transfer portal after the regular season concluded with Friday’s loss to Texas. Sophomore running back Joe Ervin was the first to announce his entrance into the transfer portal via social media, and was followed a day later by wide receiver Tyrone Howell. Ervin was the primary backup at running back this season after opting-out last season (and was one of the rare players to return to his team after doing so), and is transferring with the intent to be the starter, as position he’d have a hard time earning at K-State with Deuce Vaughn also on the roster. Howell, who transferred in from Hutch CC this summer, is likely headed out to look for an offensive system where more touches are available, and is not wanting to wait around to find out if changes are made to the coaching staff on offense.

Speaking of Vaughn, he was named as the Pro Football Focus Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, and was joined on the PFF All-Big 12 First Team by Cooper Beebe, Felix Anudike-Uzomah, and Russ Yeast. Josh Rivas, Ekow Boye-Doe, and Malik Knowles (as a kick returner) made the Second Team, and Skylar Thompson made the Third Team. The Honorable mention list includes Daniel Imatorbhebhe and Noah Johnson. Daniel Green failing to receive a mention feels like the biggest snub, followed by Eli Huggins.

From WOWT in Omaha, a feature on Conor Riley and his impact on and off the field.