Zoglman, Tigers host No. 6 Jennies on Saturday



On the surface, setter Kayla Zoglman had a solid season last year for the Fort Hays State University volleyball team. She delivered 10.1 assists, 2.12 digs and 0.30 blocks per set for a Tiger volleyball team that enjoyed a big turnaround and went 17-16.

However, Zoglman -- who had transferred from Butler County Community College -- had trouble with her groin and her hips kept popping out of place. Zoglman was often in extreme pain and, sometimes when she fell, teammates wondered if she would get back up.

"It was just a really rough season all around," she said. "I wasn't moving as well as I could. I felt like I was kind of letting the team down or myself mostly, because I knew what I could do, but I wasn't doing it."

After last fall, Zoglman took some time off, went to the chiropractor a lot and did exercises. The break helped Zoglman. A season later, Zoglman hasn't had any health issues and is arguably the MIAA's top defensive setter. She has helped Fort Hays collect a 23-12 overall record, 7-9 in the MIAA.

Zoglman has averaged 9.85 assists, 2.83 digs and 0.59 blocks per set. Fort Hays has hit .385 off her sets. Last year, Fort Hays hit .353 off her sets. She ranks fourth in the conference in assists in the most recent statistical release. She ranks third in digs and second in blocks among setters in the conference.

On Saturday, Fort Hays will complete the regular season with a home match against University of Central Missouri, ranked No. 6 in NCAA Division II at 23-4, 15-1 MIAA. Game time is 11 a.m. at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

"Defensively, she has really picked it up from last year," fourth-year Tiger coach Kurt Kohler said. "She makes the smart choices on the floor when we need her to. I think she has had a great year. It's been nice to have her as a senior this year and exhibit some of that leadership."

The last two seasons, FHSU has had just one senior in setter Whitney Liggett and libero Tracie Hileman. This fall, Fort Hays has two in right side Megan Glandon, a little-used reserve, and Zoglman. Zoglman has helped the Tigers win in a different way from many other MIAA squads.

"So many teams that are always at the top always have three star seniors on the roster," Kohler said. "That's something that we haven't had in the time that I have been here. But I do see that over the next couple of years that that will happen."

Zoglman is the third-youngest of the four Zoglman sisters. The oldest is Amber, who earned All-American honors with the Tigers and played on the 2004 team that is the best squad in school history. When Kayla was growing up, she played volleyball behind the bleachers at GMC. When Zoglman was presented with the idea of coming to FHSU, she thought that would be "pretty cool." Her sister, Shelby, came to Fort Hays last year, too, but then transferred to Butler County for this fall.

Zoglman had developed strong mental toughness from her dad, Tim, and played high school volleyball at Goddard. The mentality has helped her at setter -- a position where there is going to be some failure -- and play through the pain.

"My dad was always hard on me when I was a little," she said. "When I see people getting down, I consider it my job to go up to them and say 'Relax, you are going to get the next one, let's go.' Just as an athlete, if you have one mistake, don't let it happen again. I had a really hard high school coach where everything was my fault if anything happened, just because I could take the blame."

Zoglman had some problems in high school because of a herniated disc. One hip would pop higher than the other.

"Last year, they were also rotating forward. It was all just not a very good thing," she said. "It was not fun."

Zoglman worked on her defense in the spring. In the summer, she played some pickup volleyball and played some other positions so she could be a better all-around player.

"I have really picked up my defense this year," she said. "I have always been that scrappy player from high school, and I got a lot of blocks in high school, and last year, I was just not on my game at all."

In the offseason, Fort Hays signed junior setter Lauren Lorenz, who was expected to challenge Zoglman for the starting job. Instead, a health Zoglman has started at the position all year.

"Last year, when I found out that she was coming, I knew that spring season that I needed to pick it up and show what was I capable of," Zoglman said. "Even coming into this year, I was honestly very nervous for not playing, because it would be very different for me. She was a great setter and I really was nervous at the beginning of the year. I went hard as I could to prove that I should be the one playing."