K-State Hosts No. 5 Nebraska On Wednesday
Sept. 17, 2002
(RV) KANSAS STATE (4-4) vs. (5) NEBRASKA (7-1)
Wednesday, September 18, 2002 * Ahearn Field House (5,000) * Manhattan, Kan.
First Serve: 7 p.m. (CST)
TV: Metro Sports on a taped delayed basis. Ben Boyle has play-by-play with analyst Patti Phillips. Curtis Lorenz is the producer. The match will air Friday, Sept. 20 at 12 noon and Sunday, Sept. 22 at 4 p.m. in Kansas City area.
Radio: Can be heard on the radio at 1350 AM KMAN in the Manhattan area or over the internet at www.k-statesports.com or at www.1350kman.com. Brian Smoller will handle the play-by-play with Lori Martini providing the analysis.
Records: Kansas State dropped to 4-4 on the season after losing three in a row over the weekend at the USF Adidas Invitational... Nebraska boasts a 7-1 record and has reeled off five straight wins since losing 3-0 to current No. 1-ranked USC on Sept. 2.
Rankings: Kansas State fell out of the AVCA/USA Today Top 25 poll on Monday for the first time this season... Nebraska dropped one spot from No. 4 to No. 5.
K-State Coach Suzie Fritz: Fritz (Florida Atlantic, '94) is 24-12 (.667) in her second year at K-State. Fritz is 0-2 versus Nebraska.
NU Coach John Cook: Cook (San Diego, '79) is 72-3 (.960) in his third year at Nebraska. He is 233-76 (.754) in 10 years as a coach. Cook is 5-1 against Kansas State.
Series: Nebraska leads the all-time series with Kansas State, 64-1, in this, the 66th meeting between the two schools. K-State is 0-28 against the Huskers at home.
K-STATE LOOKS TO BREAK THREE-MATCH LOSING STREAK AS #5 NEBRASKA VISITS
The Kansas State women's volleyball team (4-4, 0-0 Big 12) will attempt to make history and, in the process, break its longest losing streak since 1999, as the Wildcats host reigning Big 12 champion Nebraska (7-1, 0-0 Big 12) in the conference opener on Wednesday at Ahearn Field House beginning at 7 p.m. K-State will be looking for its first victory over Nebraska in 29 visits by the Huskers to Ahearn Field House since the teams began playing in 1975. The Cornhuskers are the only team to beat the Wildcats at home the last two years, where the team is 25-3 (.893) since 2000. This will be 66th meeting between Kansas State and Nebraska with the Huskers holding a 64-1 series record. The teams have met at least twice every year since 1981, including three meetings in 2001. Last season, the Cornhuskers swept the Wildcats in three games during the regular season before earning a 30-25, 28-30, 30-26, 30-19 victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament before 2,990 fans at Ahearn Field House. Kansas State is 8-12 all-time in conference openers dating back to 1982, including 4-1 since the start of the Big 12 Conference in 1997. K-State and Nebraska have met twice previously in league openers with each team winning on the other's home court. The Huskers won 15-7, 15-7, 15-6 in the 1991 conference opener in Manhattan, while the Wildcats came from a 2-0 deficit to pull a 9-15, 14-16, 18-16, 15-7, 17-15 upset of No. 4 Nebraska in the 1999 league starter in Lincoln. K-State is the only Big 12 team to beat the Cornhuskers at home during the past three years. Kansas State is coming off a disappointing 0-3 effort at the USF Adidas Invitational in Tampa, Fla., where the team lost four-game matches to host South Florida, No. 19 Michigan State and Georgia Tech. The three-match losing streak is the longest for the team since dropping three in a row from Oct. 27-Nov. 3, 1999 against Texas Tech, Nebraska and Colorado. Before this past weekend, K-State had not lost back-to-back matches since opening the 2001 season with losses to No. 5 Hawai'i and No. 7 UCLA. Kansas State hits the road for the first time in Big 12 play on Saturday, as the Wildcats travel to face Baylor (6-4, 0-0 Big 12) at the Ferrell Center beginning at 2 p.m.
RECAPPING THE WEEKEND... Kansas State dropped three matches at the USF Adidas Invitational over the weekend, falling in four games to host South Florida, No. 19 Michigan State and Georgia Tech... It is the longest losing streak for the Wildcats since 1999. In fact, it marked the first time the team has lost consecutive matches since opening of the 2001 season. For the tournament, Kansas State was outhit .252 to .225 and was outblocked 33.5-17.5 by its three opponents... In addition, they committed 41 service errors compared to just 32 by its opponents, while tallying just 13 service aces... Going into the tournament, the Wildcats had tallied 40 service errors in five matches. A member of the all-tournament team, sophomore MB Lisa Martin paced the Wildcats offensively, averaging 3.00 kills per game on .453 hitting with a team-best 0.75 blocks per game... Junior OH Cari Jensen (3.33 kpg.) and senior co-captain Jennifer Pollard (3.25 kpg.) paced six Wildcats that averaged at least two kills per game for the weekend... Junior libero Laura Downey-Wallace continued to excell in her new position, averaging 5.17 digs per game. The team committed a season-worst 17 service errors in the 30-24, 25-30, 24-30, 28-30 loss to South Florida on Sept. 13. The Wildcats outhit the Bulls, .252 to .242, marking first time since losing to No. 5 Hawai'i on Aug. 31, 2001 that the team has lost despite outhitting its opponent. Junior OH Cari Jensen led five Wildcats with double-digit kills with a season-best 16 on .364 hitting. K-State continued its struggles in a 29-31, 25-30, 30-22, 27-30 loss to No. 19 Michigan State on Sept. 14. The team was outblocked 14.5-7.0. Jensen again paced the offense with 13 kills on the day, while sophomore S Gabby Guerre posted a career-high 12 kills on .529 hitting and 46 assists for her second straight double-double. In the final match on Sept. 14, the team was again plagued by poor serving with 10 errors in a 30-28, 24-30, 26-30, 26-30 loss to Georgia Tech. Lisa Martin broke her career-high with 16 kills, while Jennifer Pollard added her second double-double with 16 kills and 21 digs.
'CATS FALL OUT OF AVCA TOP 25 AFTER SKID... After dropping three in a row at the USF Adidas Invitational over the weekend, Kansas State fell out the AVCA/USA Today Top 25 on Monday for first time since Oct. 29, 2001... The Wildcats had been ranked in eight straight polls dating back to Nov. 5, 2001... K-State began the year ranked No. 22 in the preseason poll, but fell three spots to No. 25 in the first regular season poll after losing the season opener at No. 18 CSU... The team moved to No. 24 on Sept. 9 after back-to-back wins.
MARTIN EXCELS AT USF INVITATIONAL... One of the bright spots for Kansas State came in the play of sophomore MB Lisa Martin, who was the lone Wildcat named to the USF Adidas Invitational All-Tournament team on Sept. 14... Martin averaged 3.00 kills per game on a .453 hitting percentage in the three-match tournament with a team-best 0.75 blocks per game.... Martin broke her career-high in kills in back-to-back days, as she totaled 11 on .526 against South Florida on Sept. 13 before tallying a career-best 16 on .444 hitting against Georgia Tech on Saturday... She also set a career-high with 27 attempts against the Jackets. Martin has gradually increased her play since the opener against Colorado State... Since hitting negative against the Rams, she has posted 61 kills on a .359 hitting percentage... She has turned in hitting percentage above .300 in five of the last seven matches, including a career-best .526 percentage against South Florida.
'CATS IN THE BIG 12 STATISTICS... Kansas State had several players show up in the individual conference statistics released on Monday... MB Lauren Goehring dropped from first to sixth in overall hitting percentage at .375, while S Gabby Guerre joined the Top 10 with a .374 percentage... Guerre also ranks eighth in the league with an 11.52 assists per game average... For the second straight week, Laura Downey-Wallace and Jennifer Pollard were represented in the top 10 in digs per game... Downey-Wallace is second in the Big 12 with a 4.41 average, while Pollard is fifth with a 3.45 average.
A LOOK AT NEBRASKA... Nebraska currently lists a 7-1 record on the season... The Cornhuskers have won five straight since losing 3-0 to current No. 1-ranked USC on Sept. 2... Of those five wins, three have come against ranked competition, including No. 11 Arizona, No. 13 Pepperdine and No. 22 Santa Clara... NU won its own US Bank/Arby's Classic over the weekend, sweeping Santa Clara, Michigan and Alabama in three games... Senior OHs Laura Pilakowski leads the team in kills (3.88 per game) and points (114), while averaging 2.68 digs per game and a .309 hitting percentage... Senior MB Amber Holmquist paces the team in blocks (1.80 per game) and is second in kills (3.04 per game) and points (101.5)... Senior S Greichaly Cepero runs the offense, averaging 11.92 assists per game and 2.16 digs per game ... The team returns eight letterwinners and four starters from 2001, in which, the Huskers posted a 31-2 record en route to their second straight Final Four appearance... The Huskers are coached by third-year head coach John Cook, who has a 72-3 (.960) mark at Nebraska and is 233-76 (.754) in 10 years as a head coach. He is 5-1 against Kansas State.
SERIES WITH NEBRASKA... Nebraska leads the all-time series with Kansas State, 64-1, in this, the 66th meeting between the two schools... The team have met at least twice every year since 1981, including three meetings in 2001... The Huskers have won 50 of the 65 meetings in three games or less... The Wildcats' lone victory in the series came in a heartstopping come-from-behind 9-15, 14-16, 18-16, 15-7, 17-15 win in Lincoln, Neb., in 1999, the only Big 12 loss the Huskers have had at home in three years... K-State is 0-28 against the Huskers at home... NU is the only team to beat the Wildcats at home in the last two years.
GABBY THE GREAT... Sophomore S Gabby Guerre continued to show her tremendous all-around ability as a volleyball player, as she collected double-doubles in each of the three matches at the USF Invitational on Sept. 13-14... She has a team-tying four double-doubles on the season after a stellar freshman season when she tallied a freshman-best 12 in 2001. Guerre narrowly missed her first career triple-double and first by a Wildcat since 1998 with her performance against Georgia Tech... She posted nine kills on .350 hitting with 52 assists and 10 digs against the Yellow Jackets... Val Wieck was the last Wildcats with a triple-double with 10 kills, 20 digs and 15 blocks against Colorado on Nov. 27, 1998... She also turned in a career-high 12 kills on .529 hitting against No. 19 Michigan State with 46 assists and six digs... She also had the 'standard' double-double by a setter against South Florida with 50 assists and 10 digs. Guerre averages 1.59 kills per game on .374 hitting, along with 11.52 assists per game, 2.14 digs per game and 0.62 blocks per game.
DOWNEY-WALLACE ADJUSTING TO NEW LIBERO... When the AVCA adopted the libero for the 2001 season, the organization could not have found a better person for the position than junior Laura Downey-Wallace... A setter/defensive specialist for the Wildcats last season, she has made an instant impact for the team in 2002, averaging a team-best 4.41 digs per game... The average also ranks second-best in the Big 12 Conference... She has posted double-digit dig totals in seven of the eight matches thus far, including 20 or more on three occasions. She has already surpassed her 2001 season dig total of 107. She tallied an amazing 5.17 digs per game during the USF Invitational, including back-to-back 20-dig performances against No. 19 Michigan State and Georgia Tech on Sept. 14... She had a career-best 25 digs against the Yellow Jackets. With her 4.41 digs average, she is on pace to break both Kim Zschau's single-season marks for both average (4.17) and total (455) set in 1998.
LAUREN LIGHTING IT UP... Junior MB Lauren Goehring has developed into one of the Wildcats' top offensive threats in 2002... She currently leads the team in hitting percentage (.375) and blocks/game (0.83) and is second to Cari Jensen in kills/game (3.10) and points (107.0). Although she hit a pedestrian .244 in the three matches at the USF Invitational, she still ranks among the conference's best in hitting percentage with a .375 average. On the strength of a .543 hitting percentage against Arkansas State and Wichita State, Goehring became the Big 12 leader in hitting percentage with a .490 clip (58 K-10 E/98 TA) on Sept. 9... Against Arkansas State (9/8), she turned in a season-best 17 kills on .652 hitting - the highest hitting percentage by a Wildcats since Goehring posted a .857 mark against Air Force (9/9/00) at the Wildcat Classic... In being named the MVP of the CSU University Park Classic on Aug. 31, Goehring posted the fifth-highest hitting percentage in the 16-year history of the tournament with a .460 average.
NEARING 200 WINS AT AHEARN... With just two wins, Kansas State can achieve 200 wins at Ahearn Field House this season... One of the toughest home courts in the nation, the 'Old Barn' has been the home to Wildcat volleyball since its inaugural season in 1974... The program has compiled an impressive 198-116-5 (.631) since that season, including a 55-13 (.809) mark over the last five years... In all, the Wildcats have upset 13 ranked teams in Ahearn since 1997 and have a streak of 34 consecutive wins at home over non-conference foes dating back to 1994... K-State was 13-2 at home last season and has won 27 of its last 30 home matches over the last three years.
WICHITA STATE/ARKANSAS STATE RECAP... Kansas State went undefeated in its brief two-match homestand on Sept. 3 & 8, sweeping matches against in-state rival Wichita State (30-20, 30-14, 30-21) and Arkansas State (30-15, 30-21, 30-23) at Ahearn Field House... With the wins, K-State extended its home non-conference winning streak to 34 matches dating back to the 1994 season... The Wildcats used stellar defensive play to key the two victories, holding the two teams to a combined .052 hitting percentage.
'CATS FINISH AS RUNNER-UP AT CSU CLASSIC... Kansas State finished as the runner-up to host Colorado State at the University Park Holiday Inn Classic held Aug. 30-31 in Fort Collins, Colo. ... The Wildcats posted a 2-1 record, losing a five-game heartbreaker to the host Rams before sweeping matches against Connecticut and Western Michigan to conclude the tournament... The loss to CSU marked the second straight year that the team opened the year with a 3-2 loss to a nationally-ranked opponents on their own floor. For their stellar efforts, junior MB Lauren Goehring and junior L Laura Downey-Wallace were named to the all-tournament team with Goehring garnering most valuable player honors... Goehring posted 3.18 kills/game on .460 hitting percentage in the three-match tournament, the fifth-highest hitting percentage by a player in the 16-year history of the tournament... Downey-Wallace was the tournament's top libero, averaging a tournament-best 3.82 digs/game.
WHAT'S BACK FOR KANSAS STATE... Kansas State returns eight letterwinners, including three starters, from the 2001 season... The Wildcats return a number of proven performers, including starters - senior OH Jennifer Pollard, junior MB Lauren Goehring and sophomore S Gabby Guerre - to go along with key reserves in junior libero Laura Downey-Wallace, junior OH Cari Jensen and solid defensive specialists, junior Kris Jensen and sophomore Jami Sleichter... However, the team must overcome the loss of three starters, including two-time All-American OH Liz Wegner and all-conference selection Lisa Mimick. From a statistical standpoint, the 'Cats return 44 percent of their kills, 68 percent of their aces, 65 percent of their digs and 49 percent of their blocks from the 2001 totals.
RULES CHANGES... After adding the rally scoring format last season, the NCAA adopted several more rules changes for the 2002 season, most notably adding the libero (pronounced LEE-bah-ro), a designated back-row played intended to be used as a ball-control specialist Other changes for the 2002 are the use of the pursuit rule and changes sides at eight points in the deciding fifth game The pursuit rule allows players to retrieve a ball that has crossed the centerline outside the court after a team's first contact or block The teams must now switch sides at eight points in game five that goes to 15 points in rally score.
POLLARD, DOWNEY-WALLACE NAMED CO-CAPTAINS... Prior to the start of preseason drills, senior OH Jennifer Pollard and junior libero Laura Downey-Wallace were named as co-captains by head coach Suzie Fritz Pollard has started 48 of 58 matches over the last two years at outside hitter and was the team co-leader in double-doubles (14) in 2001 Downey-Wallace averaged 2.56 digs/game in 14 matches last season and will man the new libero position for the Wildcats.
ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL ALUMNI MATCH... Before the annual Purple and White scrimmage on Aug. 24, Kansas State held its Alumni match, which attracted a number of former players, including including Jayne Christen (1998-2000), Kelli Luther (1995-96), Lisa Mimick (1998-2001), Julie Thomas (1997-2000) and Val Wieck (1995-98)... Also in attendance were five members of the 1969-70 Wildcat squad - Susan Koehn-Buck, Susan Drews-Horton, Kathy Teahan-Jantch, Susan Haas and Julie Blasi-Watts. Although the program only achieved varsity status in 1974, the university has had a volleyball team dating back to early 1960s.
'CATS RANKED No. 22 IN PRESEASON AVCA POLL... For the fourth consecutive year, Kansas State earned a ranking in the preseason American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA)/USA Today Top 25 poll released August 12, as the Wildcats checked in at No. 22 The Wildcats received 232 total points from the 65-member coaching panel Overall, the poll featured four Big 12 teams - No. 2 Nebraska, No. 17 Texas A&M, No. 21 Colorado and No. 22 K-State - along with four others - Texas, Missouri, Baylor and Texas Tech - who received nine or more points K-State earned its first-ever preseason ranking in 1999 when the AVCA ranked the Wildcats at No. 23 in its annual poll, while the program received its highest-ever preseason ranking in 2000 at No. 17 Last year, the Wildcats started the season ranked at No. 19.
'CATS PICKED FIFTH IN BIG 12... In a vote of the league head coaches, Kansas State was picked to finish fifth in the 2002 Big 12 Conference race on August 13 The Wildcats received 67 votes to finish fifth behind four-time defending league champion Nebraska (100), second-place Texas A&M (86) and two teams that finished in a third-place tie, Colorado (72) and Missouri (72) The Wildcats were followed in the poll by Texas (64), Baylor (45), Texas Tech (40), Kansas (31), Iowa State (14) and Oklahoma (14) The Cornhuskers garnered every first-place vote possible Despite Nebraska's unanimous selection to repeat as champion, there was a tight race for spots two through six with 22 points separating the positions, including just eight for three through six The coaches' poll was based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 system with a first-place vote receiving 10 points.
RECAPPING 2001... Kansas State posted a 20-8 overall record and 15-5 mark in Big 12 Conference play last year, highlighted by its sixth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament... It was the program's seventh straight season of at least 19 wins and third consecutive 20-win season... 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 NCAA champion Nebraska... After defeating the Lady Razorbacks to advance to the second round for the fourth straight season, the Wildcats lost to the eventual Final Four participant Huskers in four games... K-State ended the year ranked 18th in the final AVCA polls, its fourth straight final Top 25 ranking.
TEAM EARNS PRESTIGIOUS ACADEMIC HONOR... Kansas State was recently named as one of a record-number 177 volleyball programs nationally to receive the 2001-02 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA)/Molten Team Academic Award... The award, which has been given annually since 1992-93, honors college and high school teams that displayed excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale during the school year. Among the 47 Division I schools, Kansas State was one of just six that advanced to NCAA Tournament last season, including NCAA champion Stanford and Final Four participant Nebraska. The Huskers joined the Wildcats as the only Big 12 schools to earn the honor... Kansas State posted the third-highest grade-point average (3.59) of the 47 Division I schools selected, trailing only Belmont (Tenn.) University (3.69) and Liberty (Va.) University (3.64). Five of the 13 players on the team earned cumulative 4.0 GPAs during the 2001-02 academic year, including current players Laura Downey-Wallace, Cari Jensen and Kris Jensen. It marked the second time the program has received this honor and first time since 1996-97.
29 YEARS OF KANSAS STATE VOLLEYBALL... The 2002 campaign marks the 29th season of intercollegiate competition for the Wildcats K-State owns an all-time mark of 520-455-11 (.533) in 986 matches The match against Oklahoma on October 9 will represent the 1,000th in school history... After posting just a 24-66 record from 1991-93, Kansas State has reeled off eight straight winning seasons, including 20-win seasons in six of the last seven years... In fact, the 163 wins that the Wildcats have tallied since 1994 are more than the program recorded the entire decades of the 1980s and 1990s... K-State started its streak of eight straight winning seasons in 1994 with their first winning record in five years... The team followed that success with the first of three 20-win seasons in 1995 and the program's first in 10 years... The Wildcats continued its upward spiral in 1996, as the team set the school record for wins in a single-season with a 26-9 record, including a 13-7 mark in the first year of the Big 12 Conference... After a 19-12 mark in 1998 snapped its streak of 20-win seasons, the program has since strung together three consecutive 20-win campaigns.
TOUGH SLATE AWAITS 'CATS... Ten NCAA Tournament teams, including Final Four participant Nebraska, highlight the 2002 Kansas State University volleyball schedule... In addition to matches with the Cornhuskers, the 28-match schedule features battles with 2001 NCAA Tournament participants Baylor, Colorado, Colorado State, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech... In all, the schedule includes 17 matches with 2001 NCAA Tournament teams and eight contests with teams that were ranked in the final USA Today/AVCA Top 25... The 18 teams on the schedule had a composite record of 281-196 (.588) in 2001 and have combined for 125 appearances in the NCAA Tournament... In 2001, 14 of the 18 squads had winning records, including seven that recorded 20 or more wins... In addition, Kansas State will play eight matches against five teams ranked in the preseason AVCA poll, including three against two teams ranked in the organization's Top 15 In all, the team will play 18 matches against 11 teams that received votes in the preseason poll
MOVING FROM THE COURT TO THE BENCH... Head coach Suzie Fritz will have a little extra help on the bench this season, as former standouts Lisa Mimick and Liz Wegner will serve the team as student assistant coaches as they finish their degrees Wegner, the program's only two-time All-American, holds 21 school career, single-season and single-match records, including the record for career kills (1,907) Mimick was a first team All-Big 12 selection as a senior in 2001 and ranks in the top 10 in several career categories, including third in 20-dig matches (10) In all, the two combined to start 195 matches (and 229 matches) with 2,457 kills on 6,451 total attempts with 2,259 digs and 432 blocks.