Wildcats Set to Battle Buffaloes at Home
Colorado vs. No. 18 Kansas State
K-State comes into the weekend matchup following a 1-3 loss to No. 2 Nebraska. The Wildcats are leading the Big 12 in kills at 14.24 per set and have the second-highest hitting percentage. The Cats are hitting at a rate of .273 behind the .316 of the No. 3 Texas Longhorns. Colorado ranks seventh in kills and sixth in hitting percentage among Big 12 teams.
Colorado: Pi’i Aiu (Colorado 89) has led the Buffaloes for 11 years and is the program’s winningest coach. He is seven wins shy of reaching the 200 milestone. Colorado has reached the NCAA Tournament every year but two under Aiu.
On the Airwaves
The match will also be webcast and fans can catch the action by logging into the Powercat Passport at www.k-statesports.com. Fans can sign up for the service on the site and monthly packages are available. Live stats will be available for all matches on the athletic department’s site as well.
Scouting the Buffaloes
The Buffaloes opened Big 12 play with a win over Kansas in five sets on the road. Colorado claimed the first set and lost the next two by scores of 28-26 and 25-15. The Buffs responded with 26-14 and 15-12 wins to snatch the victory away from the Jayhawks and keep them from winning three in a row over the Buffaloes.
Colorado is led by Alex Buth offensively as she is hitting .291 and averaging 3.08 kps. The pair of Lauren Schaefer and Emilee Sisco are averaging 2.55 and 2.47 kps to help Colorado post 13.28 kps as a team. Schaefer posted one perfect match on the season getting eight kills on eight attacks against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Schaefer also ranks eighth in school history in career blocks.
Kaitlyn Burkett coordinates the attack as the setter averaging 10.22 assists per set. She also has the ability to make the attack herself averaging 1.03 kps. Callie Webster paces the team defensively from the libero position with 3.72 digs per set. She has posted back-to-back matches with at least 20 digs with a season-high 25 against North Carolina dn 23 against Kansas.
Colorado has been able to distribute the attack around with four players averaging at least 2.10 kps. Buth Schaefer and Sisco are joined by Alex Penewell at 2.10 kps as Penewell has tallied 21 kills in limited action off the bench. The freshman had a career-high 14 kills against KU and hit at a .600 clip for the match.
The Buffaloes are undefeated in three-set matches but have struggled as the matches extend. Colorado is 1-3 in matches going four sets and won their only five-set match of the season.
Catching up with the Cats
The loss to Nebraska was just the third time the Wildcats have lost their Big 12 opener under head coach Suzie Fritz. Two of those loses have come to Nebraska.
Against the Cornhuskers, senior outside hitter Rita Liliom had her fourth double-double of the season with 11 kills and 10 digs. It was fellow senior Nataly Korobkova, however, who led the attack with 15 kills. Lauren Mathewson had her fifth match with at least 15 digs posting 17 for the match.
Liliom is leading the Big 12 in kills averaging 4.34 kps. Iowa State’s Victoria Henson is closest behind her at 4.17 kps. Liliom also ranks 10th in the nation individually in the category. As a team, the Wildcats rank seventh in the nation.
K-State is among the top teams in the nation in a number of other categories coming in at 19th in blocks per set averaging 2.72 bps. The team’s .291 hitting percentage at the start of the week ranks 13th.
A number of individuals also rank among the best with their competitors. Middle blocker Megan Farr is 12th in the nation in hitting percentage and 25th in blocks.