A little purple will be mixed in with red, white, and blue as K-State volleyball will represent Team USA in the World University Games in Russia this month. Opening ceremonies are taking place on Friday, and the Cats arrived on Thursday. They’ll begin play on Monday in a pool with Russia, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
K-State coach Suzie Fritz says her team understands the significance of wearing red, white, and blue.
“Col. Morgan is a big influence for us. He is the former Colonel for the Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Riley, and they’ve become dear friends to us,” Fritz said. “We have such an appreciation for what they do in regards to representing our country, serving our country, risking their lives to fight for ours, and he has come in a couple times and expressed how important the value, the honor of wearing Red, White and Blue and actually going and representing your country is. ”
K-State will compete against players from other countries who are future Olympians, and will relish the chance to match themselves against teams who may be better than they’ll see during the college season this fall.
“We’re as ready as I possible think we could be,” Fritz said. ”We trained pretty hard for a little over three weeks, and felt like we got better during that phase. Are we ready for the level of competion we’re going to see? Probably not in all reality, but I like the opportunity and I like there’s a lot of things we can take out of it. ”
To one of the Cats, the trip will also be a chance to explore her heritage. Senior outside hitter Dakota Kaufman is a native of Hillsboro, but her family traces back to Kazan, Russia, which is very close to where K-State will play.
“It is extra special. I hope I’m able to kind of see the culture and stuff like that, and we’ve been kind of joking that there might be someone on the other side of the net that’s my cousin that I have no idea about,” Kaufman said. “I’m the first one to go back over to Russia since they left, so it’s going to be a great honor to go back over there.”
The Cats will wear a Team USA jersey in Russia with K-State printed across the bottom along with a Powercat on the jersey.