Behind 17 kills from from Jayden Nembhard (a season high) and 16 kills from Aliyah Carter, Kansas State swept Missouri (25-23, 25-20, 25-20) in the first contest between the schools since 2011 (you know, when Mizzou bolted for the $EC). The visiting VolleyCats dominated across the statistical categories; for example, the combined 33 kills from Nembhard and Carter (out of K-State’s 46 total) were more than the Tigers had as a team (32). Dating back to the Tigers last season in the Big 12, K-State has won the last three meetings against Mizzou, and improved the all-time record between the schools to 43-33.
The Wildcats have now won six straight matches, and will be looking for two more this weekend as they head to Omaha for the Omaha Challenge, where they will face Weber State on Friday and the host Mavericks on Saturday. You can watch both games on “Mavs All-Access”.
The reports from Sunday night were confirmed by Chris Klieman at both the Monday Big 12 teleconference as well as the Tuesday K-State press conference: Skylar Thompson is out “indefinitely”, but is expected back this year as his injury is not as severe as originally thought. Of course the press conference wasn’t just about Thompson, and Klieman spoke about this past weekend — and how great it was to have a (mostly) full Bill Snyder Family Stadium — plus looked ahead to the challenges this week. He’s got full confidence in Will Howard as the starter and Jaren Lewis as the backup, but highly-touted freshman Jake Rubley won’t be ready to go any time soon after missing the end of fall camp and the first practices of the season with a minor injury.
For it’s part, the defense is ready to be tested by Nevada’s Carson Strong. Even in the Big 12, it’s rare to face a potential top NFL draft pick at QB, and his skill set should pose a unique challenge to the Wildcats defense. Of course, as we learned in the latest edition of Bring on the PodCats (#199!), Strong is very much a pocket passer without much of a running game, and that should help the K-State defense getting stretched too thin.
It’s not just us impressed by the Wildcats open to the season. Berry Tramel at The Oklahoman released his power rankings on Tuesday, and the Wildcats hold the top spot...for now. Of course without Thompson for at least the next few weeks, holding on to that spot got a lot harder, but it’s still doable.
K-State’s Gene Taylor doesn’t expect to see much of a drop in revenue even after the exit of OU and UT thanks to the strong additions announced late last week. There will be a drop, but it’s not expected to be the major drop feared by many (and a narrative pushed heavily by ESPN). He’s also not a fan of so many games being on ESPN+, not only from a viewership perspective, but because the production quality from the ESPN-produced events (like football) is low — and that K-State can do better (heck, just take a look at the difference between any football game and any home K-State volleyball game; it’s pretty marked).
The men’s golf team had a decent start to the week, and took the runner-up spot at the Wildcat Invitational, held this Monday and Tuesday at Colbert Hills. The Wildcats were led by sophomore Luke O’Neill, who finished alone in 4th place after carding a 54-hole total of 2-under par 214, which tied a career low and included a career-best-tying round of 69 in the final round on Tuesday.
The women’s golf team had a much less inspiring start, finishing 13th out of 15 teams at the Sam Golden Invitational at Wildhorse Golf Club (Denton, TX). To be fair, their tournament had a much higher overall quality of teams, but a 10-over par 298 final round squandered a 4-under par 284 to start the tournament, and dropped the Cats at least four spots on the last day.
The men are off until September 27th, while the women will had back to MHK to host the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational at Colbert Hills next Monday and Tuesday.