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K-State Continues Homestand Against Texas Tech

GO WILDCATS MB Lauren Goehring has 13 of her team-leading 14 service aces in the last five matches.
MB Lauren Goehring has 13 of her team-leading 14 service aces in the last five matches.

Sept. 30, 2002

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KANSAS STATE (6-6, 2-2) VS TEXAS TECH (6-6, 1-2)

Wednesday, October 2, 2002 * Ahearn Field House (5,000) * Manhattan, Kan. * 7 p.m.

Radio: Brian Smoller 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.

Rankings: Neither team is ranked.

Coaches: Kansas State's Suzie Fritz is 26-14 (.650) in her second year. She is 1-1 versus Texas Tech. Texas Tech's Jeff Nelson is 158-87 (.645) in his eighth year. He is 5-7 against Kansas State.

Series: K-State leads the all-time series, 9-7. However, the two teams have split the last eight meetings, including last year. The Wildcats are 6-0 against the Red Raiders in Manhattan.

K-STATE CONTINUES HOMESTAND AGAINST TEXAS TECH... On the heels of an uncharacteristic performance in the 3-0 loss to Texas on Saturday at home, Kansas State (6-6, 2-2 Big 12) looks to get back on the winning track on Wednesday, as the Wildcats play host to Texas Tech (6-6, 1-2 Big 12) at Ahearn Field House beginning at 7 p.m. The contest will be the last for this week, as the team takes a much-needed break this weekend before resuming league play on Wednesday, Oct. 9 against Oklahoma. Kansas State saw its two-match winning streak end on Saturday, as the Wildcats dropped a 30-27, 30-26, 30-16 decision to Texas, snapping the team's six-match winning streak in the series that dated to 1999. The loss was just the fifth in the last 32 home matches for the Wildcats and first to someone other than Nebraska since a 3-2 loss to Colorado on Nov. 3, 1999. It was also just the fourth time that the team has been swept at home since 1998 and first time by someone other than Nebraska since Texas did it on Oct. 25, 1997. The Wildcats posted a near season-worst .104 hitting percentage in the match, the lowest since hitting .103 in the opener against Colorado State on Aug. 30, while the Longhorns' .301 hitting percentage was the highest allowed by an opponent this season. Senior co-captain Jennifer Pollard and junior OH Cari Jensen each tallied 11 kills to pace the Wildcat offense, while sophomore S Gabby Guerre barely missed a double-double with 32 assists and nine digs. This will be the 17th meeting with Texas Tech, as the Wildcats hold a narrow 9-7 series advantage. Kansas State has played Texas Tech more times (16) than any other school from Texas. The series began on Oct. 16, 1982 with the Wildcats taking a 15-8, 15-10 win at the Oral Roberts Invitational in Tulsa, Okla. K-State won the four of the first five meetings in Big 12 play before Tech snapped the four-match winning streak with a 3-1 win in Lubbock in 1998. The two team have now split the last eight meetings with each squad winning on its home court, including last season's split. The Wildcats are 6-0 all-time at home against the Red Raiders with four of those six meetings at Ahearn Field House going four or more games. K-State returns to action on Wednesday, Oct. 9, as the Wildcats travel to face Oklahoma (4-8, 2-2 Big 12) at 7 p.m.

RECAPPING LAST WEEK... Kansas State went 1-1 last week by splitting a pair of three-game matches, winning 3-0 on the road against Iowa State on Wednesday before dropping a 3-0 decision to Texas at home on Saturday... The Wildcats are 2-2 after four Big 12 matches for the first time since 1998 when they opened with wins at home against Oklahoma and Kansas before losses to Texas and Texas A&M on the road. On Wednesday, the Wildcats ran their winning streak over the Cyclones to 13 matches in a 30-25, 30-24, 31-29 victory at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa... K-State has won 12 of the 13 contests against ISU in three games dating back to 1996, including 39 of 40 games... The Cyclones hit just .177 in the contest, marking the seventh time this season that the Wildcats have held an opponent below a .200 hitting percentage... Senior OH Jennifer Pollard led a balanced attack with her team-tying fifth double-double, as she posted 13 kills and 11 digs. Kansas State saw its two-match winning end on Saturday, as Texas broke a six-match losing streak in the series with a 30-27, 30-26, 30-16 win at Ahearn Field House... The loss was just the fifth in the last 32 home matches for the Wildcats and the first to someone other than Nebraska since a 3-2 loss to Colorado on Nov. 3, 1999... K-State posted a near season-worst .104 hitting percentage in the match - the lowest since hitting .103 in the season opener against Colorado State.

'CATS IN THE BIG 12 STATISTICS... Kansas State had several players show up in the individual conference statistics released on Monday... S Gabby Guerre ranks 6th in hitting percentage (.367) and 7th in assists (11.51)... L Laura Downey-Wallace still continues to lead the Big 12 in digs per game with a 4.56 per game average, while senior OH Jennifer Pollard remained 7th with a 3.02 per game average... Downey-Wallace also ranks 9th nationally... She also leads the category after just two league matches with a 4.92 average... MB Lauren Goehring ranks 3rd in aces (0.83) in Big 12-only matches, while MB Lisa Martin is third in blocks (1.33) in league-only contests.

'CATS RANK 17TH IN NATIONAL ATTENDANCE... Kansas State is ranked 17th nationally in home attendance with an average of 1,246 fans per match in four matches this season... This is nothing new for Kansas State, which has finished among the national Top 15 in home attendance the last five seasons... The Wildcats are one of six Big 12 schools to rank among the national Top 30 in attendance... Nebraska ranks second with a 5,009 per match average, while Missouri (19), Texas A&M (20), Texas (21) and Colorado (28) all trail Kansas State... The 2,876 fans that attended Kansas State's match with Nebraska on Sept. 18 ranked as the 22nd-largest crowd in the NCAA this year and the 12th-largest on the mainland.

GABBY THE GREAT... Sophomore S Gabby Guerre continues to show her tremendous all-around ability as a volleyball player, as she has collected double-doubles in four of the last seven matches, including all three matches at the USF Invitational on Sept. 13-14... She saw her streak of four straight double-doubles end on Sept. 21 at Baylor, but she still displayed her tremendous abilities with six kills on .667 hitting to go with 30 assists, two service aces and six blocks... She narrowly missed her sixth double-double of the season on Saturday in her 32-assist, nine-dig effort against Texas. She currently ranks 6th in the Big 12 in hitting percentage with a .367 percentage, while she ranks 7th with an 11.51 assists per game average... She also averages 1.51 kills per game, 2.12 digs per game and 0.66 blocks per game. Guerre narrowly missed her first career triple-double and first by a Wildcat since 1998 with her performance against Georgia Tech (9/14)... She posted nine kills on .350 hitting with 52 assists and 10 digs against the Yellow Jackets... 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. She ran her streak of double-doubles to four, as she added 33 assists and 11 digs in the 3-0 loss to No. 5 Nebraska (Sept. 18).

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 and Big 12-best 4.56 digs per game... The average also ranks 9th nationally... She has posted double-digit dig totals in 11 of the 12 matches thus far, including 20 or more on four occasions. She has surpassed her 2001 dig total of 107. In the first two Big 12 matches of the year, she is averaging a league-best 4.92 digs per game, including a 21-dig performance against Baylor last Saturday... Her 59 digs in four league matches represent nearly 32 percent of the team's total of 187 and are nearly three times as many as second place total of 25 (Guerre & Sleichter). She tallied an amazing 5.17 digs per game during the USF Invitational (Sept. 13-14), including back-to-back 20-dig efforts against No. 19 Michigan State and Georgia Tech on Sept. 14... She had a career-best 25 digs versus the Jackets. With her 4.56 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.

POLLARD, CARI JENSEN PACE WILDCAT OFFENSE... Senior co-captain Jennifer Pollard and junior OH Cari Jensen have become the most effective 1-2 punches for the Wildcat offense this season... Together, they have combined to account for 43 percent of the team's kills (258 out of 605) and 40 percent of the team's points (303.5 out of 769) this season... Jensen paces the squad in kills (3.24 per game), aces (0.34 per game) and points (160.5), while Pollard is second in kills (3.05 per game) and digs (3.02 per game) and third in points (143.0)... Jensen has totaled double-digit kills in nine of the first 12 matches, including seven in the last eight matches... Pollard, who has 10+ kills in 23 of the last 37 matches, has totaled double-digit kills in eight matches and double-digit digs in seven contests this season... Pollard has started 58 of the last 68 matches in her career.

A LOOK AT TEXAS TECH... Texas Tech enters Wednesday's match with a 6-6 overall record and 1-2 mark in Big 12 play... The Red Raiders dropped both league matches last week, falling 3-0 at home to No. 5 Nebraska on Wednesday before losing 3-0 at Kansas on Saturday... Tech opened Big 12 play with a 3-0 win at Iowa State on Sept. 21... The Red Raiders opened the season with three straight victories to win the Hofstra/Asics Classic... Sophomore OH Kelly Johnson leads the team in kills (4.18 per game), aces (0.36 per game) and points (188.5)... Senior OH Melissa McGehee and junior OH Angela Mooney average 3.79 and 3.00 kills per game, respectively, while Mooney posts a team-best .323 hitting percentage... Sophomore libero Jessy Herrera boasts a team-leading 3.67 digs per game average... The team as a whole is hitting .239, while opponents manage just a .178 percentage... The team returns nine letterwinners and two starters from 2001... The Red Raiders are coached by eighth-year head coach Jeff Nelson, who has 158-87 record at Texas Tech.

A LOOK AT OKLAHOMA... Oklahoma enters the match on Wednesday, Oct. 9 with a 4-8 overall record and 2-2 mark in Big 12 play... The Sooners host Texas A&M on Oct. 2 before traveling to Colorado on Oct. 5... Oklahoma started the season with five straight losses, but has rebounded to win four of its last seven... The Sooners have already equaled their Big 12 win total (2) of 2001 in Saturday's 3-1 over Baylor... Senior transfer Megan O'Connell leads the team in both kills (3.34 per game) and hitting percentage (.284)... Junior OH Christina Barlow and sophomore OH Candice Woods average 3.03 and 2.37 kills per game, respectively, while Woods adds a team-best 1.16 blocks per game... Senior S Jessica Barney paces the team in assists (9.71 per game) and aces (0.47 per game)... The team returns seven letterwinners and five starters from 2001... The Sooners are coached by third-year head coach Kalani Mahi, who has 14-59 mark at Oklahoma and 52-112 overall.

GOEHRING BECOMES AN ALL-AROUND THREAT... Junior MB Lauren Goehring has developed into one of the Wildcats' top all-around offensive threats in 2002... She currently ranks second on the team in four categories, including hitting percentage (.333), blocks (0.78 per game) and points (156.5). Although she has seen her hitting percentage fall in the last couple of weeks, she has again surfaced as one of the team's best servers... The team leader in 2001 with 37 aces, she is currently tied for the lead with 14... Of these 14, 13 have come in the last five matches, including three each against Nebraska (9/18) and Baylor (9/21). 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 more 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 198-118-5 (.627) since that season, including a 55-15 (.786) 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 32 home matches over the last three years.

'CATS GO WINLESS AT USF ADIDAS INVITATIONAL... Kansas State dropped three matches at the USF Adidas Invitational Sept. 13-14, falling in four games to host South Florida, No. 19 Michigan State and Georgia Tech... It was the longest losing streak for the Wildcats since 1999. 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.

'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. 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.