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Martin having a blast at K-State

Former WHS setter fits right in after transferring from ECU

Barbara Boxleitner
Daily Light correspondent

Shelby Martin's senior year is extra special.

After three years of playing volleyball for East Carolina University, the Waxahachie High School graduate transferred to Kansas State University to complete her final year of eligibility.

"I wanted a better fit," the setter said. "I had a great three years at East Carolina. I wanted something different."

She found the right fit in Kansas State, whose coaches reached out to her the first day she was in the transfer portal, she said. She made an official visit in January and was able to watch a workout. Kansas State had graduated a starting setter, so the timing was perfect for Martin to join the team.

"The goal is to have two capable setters at a time," Kansas State head volleyball coach Suzie Fritz said. "We felt like she would be a good fit for us. She's a player who has a really well-rounded skill set. She's one of our best servers. She's really, really improved in her blocking. She's a capable defender. We're thrilled to have her."

Martin was the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year and an all-conference second-team selection in 2017, when East Carolina finished with a 22-11 record for the most wins in a season since 1982.

She finished sixth in the conference with 9.34 assists per set, the lone freshman in the top nine.

"We did so incredibly well," she said.

Also an all-conference second-team selection in 2018, Martin entered Monday sixth in assists per set and 10th in service aces per set in the Big 12 Conference. She was the conference offensive player of the week Oct. 27, cited for 38 assists, 11 kills and 10 digs and for 39 assists in consecutive wins over Oklahoma.

The triple double — the second of her college career — was Kansas State's first since 2014.

"You certainly don't see those very often," Fritz said.

She was able to set up teammates before doing damage herself in the final two sets, when she had six of her season-high 11 kills.

"The other team's middle blockers were more focused on me than our outsides," said Martin, whose .769 hitting percentage was a season best to that point. "That allowed our other hitters to score more."

She said her freshman season and this season have been her favorites.

"I didn't really have any expectations of playing," she said. "I tried my hardest and tried to prove myself. My coaches saw my potential."

More women's volleyball

Texas Christian University outside hitter Audrey Nalls had nine kills and eight digs against West Virginia. She played for Waxahachie.

Send updates about area athletes to Barbara Boxleitner at jdanddoc@gmail.com.