May 11, 2011
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State volleyball coach Suzie Fritz has added three student-athletes to join her team this fall. The Wildcats will add Kuulei Kabalis and Gina Madonia, to the 2011 squad. The pair joins Natali Jones, who transferred to K-State from Pratt County Community College in January and practiced with the Wildcats during spring workouts.
“One of our highest priorities in this recruiting class was to bring in players who could upgrade our ability to handle first contact and who had the ability to pass and play defense at a high level,” Fritz said. “We are very excited that both of these players have the ability to come in and make an impact for our team and improve our ball-handling ability. Along with sophomore Tristan McCarty, Kuulei and Gina will compete for opportunities at the libero and defensive specialist positions.”
Kabalis comes to K-State from a national powerhouse at the junior college level where she helped Western Nebraska to a national championship. Fritz and her staff recruited Soriana Pacheco and Agata Rezende from Western Nebraska, who both saw success for the Wildcats. Fritz said she is again excited to bring in a player from a strong juco program that knows the game well and plays at a high level.
“Kuulei has a great feel for the game of volleyball. She comes from a volleyball family and has played volleyball for a long time,” Fritz said. “She has tremendous volleyball instincts and is a very complete player having played setter prior to becoming a libero. She is a player who makes everyone around her better. I think her experience in leading her team to a national championship will help her smoothly transition to the Big 12.”
Kabalis has a long history of athletic success in her family. Her sisters Kaleinani and Kahala currently play or played at the collegiate level, and her mother Carla Carpenter-Kabalis played for NAIA power Hawai’i-Hilo where she led the team to a pair of AIAW national titles and one NAIA title. Her grandfather Dante Carpenter played football for the University of Hawai’i-Manoa and was a heavyweight boxing champion.
Madonia also is a defensive specialist that has seen success at the high school level leading her St. Francis Spartans in Illinois to multiple regional titles. She also was a strong student earning academic all-area honors. Fritz said Madonia will add to the talent on the back row for K-State.
“Gina is a playmaker. She’s a tremendously fast and dynamic player who along with her ball-handling skills, has excellent leadership qualities and a tremendous work ethic,” Fritz said. “She has trained at a high level at Sports Performance in Naperville, Ill., which is a very high level club, for many years. We feel Gina will be well prepared to handle the demands of collegiate volleyball.”
The two join Jones, a sophomore middle blocker, as newcomers to the team after Jones transferred to K-State in the spring semester from Pratt County Community College. Jones has seen success on the court in college as well being named the Jayhawk Conference Freshman of the Year.
K-State opens its season this fall at the Georgia Tech Classic on August 26 against the hosting Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets before taking on Louisville and Tennessee Tech at the tournament.