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10 NCAA Tournament Teams Highlight 2001 Volleyball Schedule



May 17, 2001

Manhattan, Kan. - Ten NCAA Tournament teams, including defending national champion Nebraska and Final Four participant Hawaii, highlight the 2001 Kansas State University volleyball schedule released by university officials on Thursday.

In addition to matches with Cornhuskers and Rainbow Wahine, the 26-match schedule features battles with 2000 NCAA Tournament participants Colorado, Houston, Missouri, Michigan, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA and Washington State. In all, the schedule includes 15 matches with 2000 NCAA Tournament teams and eight contests with teams that were either ranked or received votes in the final USA Today/AVCA Top 25, including three in the Top 10. The 16 teams on the schedule had a composite record of 300-191 (.611) in 2000 and have combined for 136 appearances in NCAA Tournaments, 10 NCAA crowns, 14 overall national titles and 26 Final Four appearances.

"Our scheduling philosophy remains the same every year," said fifth-year head volleyball coach Jim McLaughlin. "First of all, we need to face tougher teams to become a better team. Secondly, we need to be able to continue to play in tough environments on the road. This is the only way we can improve ourselves. Our preseason schedule is designed to help us prepare for the Big 12 schedule, while our league schedule is designed to prepare us for the NCAA Tournament."

Kansas State will start the 2001 season with arguably the toughest first three weeks in nation, as seven of the team's first eight opponents made it to the NCAA Tournament last season, including two that advanced to the Final Four. The Wildcats begin the season at the 14th annual Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Aug. 31-Sept. 2, where they will face Final Four participant Hawaii, three-time NCAA champion UCLA and NCAA Tournament participant Michigan.

K-State returns home to face NCAA Tournament teams Houston and Washington State and SEC power Arkansas in the second annual Wildcat Classic Tournament at Ahearn Field House on Sept. 7-8. The Wildcats then start Big 12 play at home against defending NCAA champion Nebraska on Sept. 12 before traveling to Texas A&M on Sept. 15. Last season, the Big 12 matched the Big Ten and Pacific-10 for the most selections to the 64-team NCAA Tournament with six bids.

In addition to the Wildcat Classic Tournament and the visit by the Cornhuskers on Sept. 12, the schedule showcases 13 home matches including Big 12 battles with Colorado, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

The 2000 season was arguably the best in the 26-year history of the Kansas State women's volleyball program. The Wildcats finished the season with a 22-9 overall record and a 14-6 mark in Big 12 play, highlighted by the program's first-ever trip to the NCAA Sweet 16. The team also received its highest-ever final national ranking at No. 16 in the USA Today/AVCA Top 25 poll, while it finished the Big 12 season in a school-best, three-way tie for second place in league action.

Kansas State returns seven of 10 letterwinners and four of six starters for the 2001 season, including Volleyball magazine honorable mention All-American selection Liz Wegner. A first team All-Big 12 and All-Central Region selection, Wegner needs just 180 kills her senior season to break Kim Zschau's (1995-98) career kills mark of 1,646.

For ticket information, contact the Kansas State Athletic Ticket Office at (785) 532-7606 or (800) 221-CATS.