K-State Ranked #18 in Final AVCA Top 25 Poll
Dec. 21, 2001
Colorado Springs, Colo. - The Kansas State women's volleyball team earned its fourth consecutive final ranking in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA)/USA Today Top 25 poll on Friday, as the Wildcats finished at No. 18 in the organization's 2001 season-ending poll.
NCAA champion Stanford garnered the top-ranking in the poll with 62 of the 65 first-place votes and 1,622 points, while national runner-up Long Beach State, who received the other three first-place votes, and Final Four participants Nebraska and Arizona finished out the top four. Aside from the Cornhuskers and Wildcats, the Big 12 had two other teams ranked in the final poll as Texas A&M and Colorado concluded the season at No. 11 and No. 23, respectively.
For Kansas State, the ranking marked the fifth time in the last six seasons, including the fourth consecutive time, that the Wildcats have ended the year ranked in the organization's Top 25. K-State finished the 2000 season at a school-best 16th, the 1999 season at 19th, the 1998 season at 23rd and the 1996 season at 24th.
Kansas State concluded the 2001 season with a 20-8 overall record and 15-5 mark in Big 12 play, highlighted by the program's sixth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. For the first time since the NCAA changed the tournament to a 64-team bracket, the Wildcats hosted first and second-round action at Ahearn Field House where they played host to Arkansas, Oral Roberts and defending national champion Nebraska. After rallying from a 2-1 deficit in the opening round to defeat the Lady Razorbacks in five games, K-State battled the second-ranked Cornhuskers down to the wire before falling 25-30, 30-28, 26-30, 19-30 in the second round.
The 2001 season marked the sixth time in the last seven seasons that Kansas State has posted 20 or more wins, including at least 19 for the seventh straight season. Playing in one of the nation's toughest conferences, the Wildcats broke the school-record for league wins with a 15-5 record en route to a third place finish. The Big 12 Conference tied an NCAA record with eight teams receiving bids to the NCAA Tournament in 2001. K-State accomplished all of its success with not only a first-year head coach in Suzie Fritz, but by also playing one of the nation's toughest schedules. The Wildcats played 20 of their 28 matches against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Seven of the team's eight losses came to teams ranked in the final Top 25, including three against Final Four participant Nebraska.
Senior outside hitters Lisa Mimick and Liz Wegner were named first team All-Big 12 Conference. The selections of Mimick and Wegner marked the fourth consecutive year that the Wildcats have placed two players on the league's first team.
Kansas State will return eight of 11 letterwinners and three of six starters for the 2002 season, however, it must replace the loss of two all-conference selections in Mimick and Wegner. Wegner leaves the program as one of the most decorated players in school history, holding 21 school career and single-season records, including the mark for all-time kills with 1,907 in her career.