K-State Set to Host Top-Ranked Nebraska on Monday
Sept. 30, 2001
Manhattan - Fresh off a pair of impressive victories this past week over Missouri and 23rd-ranked Texas, the Kansas State women's volleyball team faces its toughest test of the season, as the Wildcats play host to top-ranked Nebraska at Ahearn Field House at 7 p.m.
The two teams were originally scheduled to open the Big 12 season on Wednesday, Sept. 12, but the contest was postponed after the terrorist attacks on New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11.
The match will be the Cornhuskers' fourth in the last seven days, while the Wildcats will be playing for the fourth time in eight days.
Kansas State enters the week with a 7-3 overall record and 3-1 mark in Big 12 Conference play after earning impressive wins over Missouri and 23rd-ranked Texas last week. Senior Liz Wegner helped pace the Wildcats to their seventh straight home victory over the Tigers, as she broke two school records, including Kansas State's all-time kills mark, with a season-tying 26 in the five-game victory. K-State then used a season-best 21.5 team blocks on Saturday to upset the Longhorns in four games. The block total was the fourth-highest in school history and was a mere two blocks shy of the school mark of 23.5 set in a five-game victory against Wichita State on Oct. 24, 1986.
Despite seeing its 36-match winning streak end on Sept. 1 in a four-game loss at Long Beach State, top-ranked Nebraska has continued where it left off last season, posting a 10-1 overall record and 3-0 mark in Big 12 play. The Cornhuskers have swept eight straight opponents since its loss to the 49ers, including wins over national powers UC Santa Barbara, Pepperdine, Notre Dame and UCLA. Back from a redshirt year in 2000, senior outside hitter Nancy Metcalf paces the team across the board, leading the Huskers in kills per game (4.40), service aces per game (.49) and digs per game (3.26).
The match will also be special for Kansas State's three seniors - Wegner, Lisa Mimick and Jayne Christen - who are all Nebraska natives. In all, the two teams combine for 13 players from the state of Nebraska. The Wildcats have five, including four of their six starters, while the Huskers have eight, including two starters. The match will also pit former high school teammates, as Christen and Nebraska junior Lindsay Wischmeier went to Lewiston High School in Tecumseh, Neb. and Kansas State freshman Katie Stanzel and Husker junior Amy Sibbernsen went to Marian High School in Omaha. Stanzel and Sibbernsen were teammates on Marian's 1999 state championship team.
Kansas State enters the contest a perfect 6-0 at home this season. The Wildcats have won 21 of their last 22 matches at home with their lone loss in that span coming to the top-ranked and eventual national champion Cornhuskers on Nov. 25 of last year.
Last season, the two teams played one of the best matches in the history of the Big 12 Conference, as Kansas State were one of just four teams to take the unbeaten and eventual national champions to five games in a 15-10, 9-15, 14-16, 15-6, 15-12 loss on Nov. 25. Playing before a school-record 5,225 fans, the loss snapped the Wildcats' school-record 15-match winning streak in Ahearn Field House. Wegner paced a season-best five Wildcats in double-digit kills, including three players with 20 or more kills, as she posted her 11th double-double of the season with a team-high 25 kills and 15 digs. Mimick tallied her first career 20/20 double-double with 21 kills and 29 digs.
Nebraska overwhelmingly leads the all-time series with Kansas State, 61-1, in this, the 63rd meeting between the two schools. In fact, the Cornhuskers have won 48 of the 62 meetings in three games or less, however, the Wildcats have closed the gap, upsetting the fourth-ranked Huskers in 1999 and pushing them to four or more games in four other meetings. In the program's only win in 1999, K-State came from two games down to halt Nebraska's 59-match winning streak against conference opponents.
It will be "Pack the Field House" night at Ahearn Field House with each fans wearing purple receiving a free schedule cup. Kansas State drew a school-record 5,225 fans against Nebraska last season and has averaged nearly 4,500 fans for each of the last five visits by the Cornhuskers. In fact, four of the largest crowds in school history have been against the Cornhuskers, including the three largest.