Sept. 14, 2013
BERKELEY, Calif. - K-State volleyball team wraps up its time in the Hilton Garden Inn Invitational with its most difficult opponent so far this season, host of the tournament and the 23rd-ranked team in the nation Cal.
The Golden Bears enter Saturday with a 7-0 record, including Invitational wins over Santa Clara - who K-State lost to on Thursday - and Cal Poly - who the Wildcats beat on Friday. Cal is the first K-State opponent this season ranked in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll. In 2012, the Wildcats were 2-0 against ranked nonconference foes.
K-State is not fazed by the upcoming opponent. This is a team that regularly faces volleyball powerhouse Texas twice a season on an annual basis as well as the other top Big 12 teams in addition to formidable out-of-conference opponents. For head coach Suzie Fritz, though, the matchup against Cal is what she calls "great timing."
"[On Saturday], we get a high-quality, Pac-12 opponent, and I think we need those kinds of challenges to really test ourselves against great teams," said Fritz. "We need to continue to develop and prepare ourselves for the rest of the season."
K-State and Cal have only faced each other once before in the two programs' histories, with the Golden Bears taking the 2004 match, 3-0.
The Wildcats enter Saturday coming off a drag-out-fight victory over Cal Poly. After capturing the first two sets, K-State staved off the Mustangs in the fourth set and delivered their eighth win of the year. Senior outside hitter Lilla Porubek posted a double-double with season-highs in kills (16) and digs (18). Three other Wildcats had double-digit kills as well.
The West Coast road trip offers different types of foes for the Wildcats, but for Fritz and her team, there is always room to grow, no matter the competition.
Fritz added: "Continue to improve is the most important thing we can do right now."
After this weekend, the Wildcats will have the first part of the week off before heading to the Arkansas Invitational in Fayetteville.
Notes: While Porubek tallied her first double-double of the season, Katie Brand notched her team-high fifth of the year on Friday by tallying 49 assists and 14 digs. The 49 assists matched her career-high ... Kaitlynn Pelger also recorded a double-double on Friday with 14 kills and 17 digs. It was Pelger's fourth double-double of the year and 28th of her career ... Pelger also led the Wildcats with a .325 hitting percentage on Friday (min. of 10 kills). Pelger has three matches this season with a .300+ hitting percentage ... The Wildcats limited Cal Poly to a .124 hitting percentage, including two sets of sub-.100 clips. K-State enters Saturday second among Big 12 teams with a .159 opponent hitting percentage ... Dakota Kaufman had 10 kills on Friday, her fourth match in her last six contests in which she has recorded nine or more kills.
K-State (8-1) at Cal (7-0)
Haas Pavilion - Berkeley, Calif.
1 pm PT/3 pm CT
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