K-State Travels To Face Surging Kansas Wednesday
Oct. 14, 2002
NR/RV KANSAS STATE (9-6, 5-2 Big 12) AT RV/NR KANSAS (14-2, 5-2 Big 12)
Wednesday, October 16, 2002 * Horejsi Family Athletic Center (1,300) * Lawrence, 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: Kansas is receiving votes in the USA Today/AVCA poll... K-State is not ranked.
Coaches: Kansas State's Suzie Fritz is 29-14 (.674) in her second year. She is 2-0 versus Kansas. Kansas' Ray Bechard is 77-62 (.554) in his fifth year. He is 0-8 against K-State.
Series: K-State leads the all-time series, 48-35-1. The oldest rivalry in school history, the Wildcats have won 15 of the last 16 meetings, including 14 straight dating back to 1995.
NR/RV KANSAS STATE VS. NR/RV TEXAS A&M (11-5, 3-4 Big 12)
Saturday, October 12, 2002 * Ahearn Field House (5,000) * Manhattan, Kan. * 2 p.m.
Rankings: Texas A&M is receiving votes in USA Today/AVCA poll... K-State is not ranked.
Coaches: Kansas State's Suzie Fritz is 29-14 (.674) in her second year. She is 1-1 versus Texas A&M. A&M's Laurie Corbelli is 226-80 (.739) in her 10th year and is 326-186 (.637) in 17 years overall. She is 6-6 against K-State.
Series: Texas A&M leads the all-time series, 7-6. However, neither team has won on the road in the series with identical 0-6 marks.
K-STATE BEGINS TOUGHEST STRETCH OF YEAR, AS IT RENEWS OLDEST RIVALRY AT KANSAS... Facing one of the toughest stretches of the season, Kansas State (9-6, 5-2 Big 12) will put its three-match winning streak on line on Wednesday against archrival Kansas (14-2, 5-2 Big 12) when the Wildcats and Jayhawks tangle at the Horejsi Family Athletic Center in Lawrence, Kan., beginning at 7 p.m. The match will be the first of three straight against team either ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA/USA Today Top 25 poll. The oldest rivalry in each teams' respective histories with 84 meetings since 1974, Kansas State leads the all-time series, 48-35-1, and has won 15 of the last 16 contests, including 14 straight dating back to 1995. The series began in 1974 with the Wildcats winning 15-10, 15-10 on Oct. 4, however, the Jayhawks won five of the next six meetings that year and continued their streak until 1976. More recently, KU won 10 straight meetings from 1989-93 before K-State's current stretch of victories. The Wildcats are 19-9 on the road against the Jayhawks, including 3-0 at the Horejsi Family Athletic Center. Two major streaks will be on the line in the match, as Kansas enters the week with a perfect 8-0 record at home, including 4-0 in Big 12 play, while Kansas State enters the contest with a seven-match winning streak on the road in conference play, including five consecutive wins in three games. This will also be the third career meeting between teacher and student, as K-State head coach Suzie Fritz meets her former college coach and mentor in Kansas' Ray Bechard. Fritz played for Bechard at NJCAA power Barton County Community College from 1990-91 then served as an assistant coach under him at Barton from 1995-96 before coming to K-State as an assistant in 1997. Kansas State used a balanced attack with six players totaling five or more kills, as the Wildcats posted a 30-23, 30-24, 17-30, 30-23 win over Colorado on Saturday. K-State was outperformed across the board in the stats, but did tally a higher hitting percentage and twice as many blocks. Kansas State returns to action on Saturday, as the Wildcats play host to Texas A&M (11-5, 3-4 Big 12) beginning at 2 p.m. The Aggies lead the series, 7-6, but neither team has won on the road with identical 0-6 marks.
RECAPPING LAST WEEK... Kansas State went 2-0 this past week, as the Wildcats posted a three-game sweep at Oklahoma on Wednesday before earning a four-game win over Colorado on Saturday at home... The win over CU at home was the 200th at Ahearn Field House since 1974. A well-rested Kansas State squad posted a season-best .331 hitting percentage en route to 30-20, 30-20, 30-19 win over Oklahoma on Wednesday... The win was not only the seventh in a row on the road in conference play, but the fifth straight in three games... The Wildcats, who have now won seven straight meetings with the Sooners since 1999, also held its ninth opponent to a hitting percentage below .200, as Oklahoma hit just .167 for the match. In the 30-23, 30-24, 17-30, 30-23 win over Colorado on Saturday, Kansas State won for the first time this season and for the first time since a 3-2 win over Texas A&M on Nov. 10, 2001 when being outkilled and outdug in a match... However, the Wildcats posted a higher hitting percentage and twice as many blocks (10-5) and took advantage of 11 Buffalo service errors... Junior MB Lauren Goehring and junior OH Cari Jensen led six players with five or more kills on the night with 13 kills each... Sophomore S Gabby Guerre missed a triple-double by two digs, as she collected 10 kills on .421 hitting with 41 assists, eight digs and three blocks.
'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 3rd in hitting percentage (.383) and 7th in assists (11.26)... L Laura Downey-Wallace still continues to lead the Big 12 in digs per game with a 5.00 per game average, while senior OH Jennifer Pollard remained 7th with a 3.21 per game average... Downey-Wallace also ranks 7th nationally... She also leads the category in league-only matches with a 5.71 average... MB Lauren Goehring is 10th in hitting percentage (.313) and points (4.31) in Big 12-only matches... MB Lisa Martin is 6th in league-only blocks (1.21), while OH Cari Jensen is tied for 2nd in aces (0.50).
'CATS RANK 24TH IN NATIONAL ATTENDANCE... Kansas State is ranked 24th nationally in home attendance with an average of 1,130 fans per match in five 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 4,745 per match average, while Texas (15), Texas A&M (18), Missouri (23) and Colorado (28) all join Kansas State in the rankings... The 2,876 fans that attended Kansas State's match with Nebraska on Sept. 18 ranked as the 35th-largest crowd in the NCAA this year and the 22nd-largest on the mainland.
QUICK STRIKE... Kansas State has shown an ability to strike quickly on its opponents, as seven of the team's nine wins have come in three-game sweeps... During the team's season-best four-match winning streak, the Wildcats won all four matches in three games... The three remaining sweeps have come on the road in Big 12 play against Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma... In 2001, the team earned nine wins in three games.
GETTING DEFENSIVE... A trademark for Kansas State over the years has been its ability to frustrate its opponents and force them into making unforced errors... The Wildcats have continued that trend in 2002, as they have held nine of their 15 opponents to a hitting percentage below .200, including their first three opponents... The team narrowly missed No. 10 on Saturday, as Colorado hit .206... K-State has capitalized on this trend by winning eight of those nine matches... The team ranks sixth in the Big 12 opponent hitting percentage with a .181 average... The Wildcats held back-to-back opponents under a .100 hitting clip in matches against Wichita State (9/3) and Arkansas State (9/8) and almost did against Baylor (.104, 9/21)... K-State got outkilled and outdug for the first time this year against Colorado, but forced the Buffs into 30 attack errors en route to a paltry .206 hitting percentage.
SERVING AND DEFENSE KEY TO RECENT SUCCESS... The old saying that 'the best offense is a good defense' was never more true than with Kansas State's recent success in Big 12 play... The Wildcats have won five of their first seven Big 12 matches, including three in a row, due to their tough serving and strong defense... In fact, the Wildcats pace the Big 12 in aces (1.75 per game) and digs (17.00 per game) in conference-only matches and rank fourth in opponent hitting percentage (.192) and blocks (2.60 per game)... K-State has produced 10 more aces and six fewer service errors against its seven league opponents to go with 12 more digs and 7.5 more blocks... In the last three wins, the Wildcats have held their foes to a .164 hitting percentage, while adding more digs per game (18.42-16.92) and blocks per game (2.83-1.58)... The three also posted three less aces and 11 more errors.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE, PART I... Don't tell the Kansas State players there is no such thing as a home court advantage... Not only have the Wildcats won 79 percent of their home matches over the last five years, they have done it in some tight situations... With the 3-2 win over Texas Tech at home on Oct. 2, Kansas State has now won five straight five-game home matches dating back to Sept. 26, 2001. In fact, the program has won seven of the last nine five-game matches it has played at home since 1998.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE, PART II... With the 3-1 win over Colorado on Oct. 12, Kansas State earned its 200th win at Ahearn Field House this season... The 'Old Barn' has been the home to Wildcat volleyball since its inaugural season in 1974... The program has compiled an impressive 200-118-5 (.629) since that season, including a 57-15 (.792) 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 29 of its last 34 home matches over the last three years.
A LOOK AT KANSAS... One of the hottest teams in the Big 12 this season, Kansas enters the match on Wednesday with a 14-2 overall record and 5-2 mark in Big 12 play... The Jayhawks won both of its matches this past week, defeating Iowa State in 3-1 at home on Wednesday before sweeping injury-plagued Baylor on Saturday... KU is a perfect 8-0 at home this year with both losses coming on road at Texas A&M (9/18) and at Texas (10/5)... The Jayhawks started the season 8-0 before the loss to the Aggies... Like K-State, KU has beaten Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Baylor in Big 12 play... A very young team with two freshman and a sophomore in the starting line-up... Seven players are hitting over .300... Freshman OH Josiane Lima leads the team in kills (4.08 per game), is second in aces (0.37 per game) and third in hitting percentage (.319) and digs (2.76 per game)... Sophomore MB Ashley Michaels averages 3.00 kills per game on a team-best .412 hitting to go with 1.14 blocks per game... Freshman S Andi Rozum paces the team in assists (12.63 per game) and aces (0.37 per game)... The team returns 11 letterwinners and five starters from 2001.
A LOOK AT TEXAS A&M... Texas A&M enters Saturday's match with a 11-5 overall record and 3-4 mark in Big 12 play... The Aggies had a bye over the weekend, but plays Texas Tech at home on Wednesday... A&M is coming off back-to-back losses to No. 5 Nebraska and Texas... The 3-4 league mark is deceiving because the Aggies have played some of their hardest matches first, losing at Colorado, Missouri and Texas... Another young team with two sophomores and a freshman in the starting line-up... Sophomore MB Melissa Munsch paces the team in kills (3.66 per game), aces (0.56 per game), digs (3.25 per game) and points (272.5)... Freshman OH Laura Jones is averaging 3.63 kills per game on .305 hitting with 248.5 points... The offensive is ran by sophomore S Lexy Beers, who is averaging 12.18 assists per game and 2.16 digs per game... The team returns 10 letterwinners and just two starters from a 2001 club that advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight.
DOWNEY-WALLACE EXCELLING AT 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... She has made an instant impact for the team in 2002, averaging a team and Big 12-best 5.00 digs per game... The average also ranks 7th nationally... She has posted double-digit dig totals in 14 of the 15 matches thus far, including 20 or more on six occasions. On Saturday, she posted 30 or more digs for the second in three matches with 31 against Colorado, the second-most digs in a four-game match in school history... She posted a career-best 32 digs against Texas Tech on Oct. 2, the third-most digs in a five-game match. In the first seven Big 12 matches of the year, she is averaging a league-best 5.71 digs per game, including her near record-setting 32-dig effort against Texas Tech (10/2)... Her 137 digs in six league matches are nearly twice as many as second place total of 70 (Pollard). With her 5.00 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.
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 five of the last nine matches, including all three matches at the USF Invitational on Sept. 13-14... In wins this past week over Oklahoma and Colorado, Guerre posted a double-double and near triple-double, as she averaged 2.71 kills per game on .459 hitting with a 9.86 assists per game, 1.71 digs per game and 0.86 blocks per game... In the Wildcats' seventh straight win over the Sooners, she posted a .500 hitting percentage with nine kills on zero attack errors on 18 swings to go with 28 assists, four digs and three blocks... She missed her first career triple-double against the Buffs by just two digs, as she posted 10 kills on .421 hitting with 41 assists, eight digs and three blocks... She currently ranks 3rd in the Big 12 in hitting percentage with a .364 percentage, while she ranks 7th with an 11.26 assists per game average... She also averages 1.64 kills per game, 2.04 digs per game and 0.75 blocks per game. The team leader in double-doubles with six, she has posted five or more kills in 10 matches this year... She needs just seven kills to surpass her 2001 total of 94, while she is in reach of Kristin Martin's school-record for kills by a setter of 188 set in 1989... With 13 more kills, she would be just the fourth setter in school history to tally 100 or more kills in a single-season, joining Renee Whitney (1984-95) and Martin (1989).
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 41 percent of the team's kills (324 out of 782) and 38 percent of the team's points (382.5 out of 995) this season... Jensen paces the squad in kills (3.23 per game) and aces (0.36 per game), while Pollard is second in digs (3.21 per game) and third in kills (2.89 per game) and points (177)... Jensen has totaled double-digit kills in 12 of the first 15 matches, including 10 in the last 11... Pollard, who has 10+ kills in 24 of the last 40 matches, has totaled double-digit kills in nine matches and double-digit digs in 10 matches this season.
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 leads the team in both overall points (210.5) and Big 12-only points (103.5), while she places 2nd on the team in four categories, including hitting percentage (.346), blocks (0.91 per game) and aces (0.28 per game). She broke out of her hitting slump against Texas Tech, as she turned in a career-tying 19 kills on a .484 hitting percentage in the 3-2 win... The 19 kills were the most by the junior since she also had 19 against Arkansas in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament. She re-entered the Big 12 rankings in hitting percentage in both overall and conference-only matches this past week after solid performances against Oklahoma and Colorado... She was the league leader in hitting percentage on Sept. 9 after she posted a combined .543 hitting percentage against Wichita State and Arkansas State... Against ASU (9/8), she turned in 17 kills on .652 hitting - the highest hitting percentage by a Wildcats since Goehring posted a .857 mark against Air Force (9/9/00)... In being named the MVP of the University Park Classic on Aug. 31, she posted the fifth-highest hitting percentage in the history of the tournament with a .460 average. She has also surfaced as one of the team's best servers... The team leader in 2001 with 37 aces, she is ranks 4th in the Big 12 in conference-only aces (0.45 per game)... Of these 15, 14 have come in the last eight matches, including three each against Nebraska (9/18) and Baylor (9/21).
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, while Downey-Wallace will staff the new libero position for the Wildcats.
'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 represented 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.