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No. 20 K-State Travels To Texas A&M Sunday

GO WILDCATS Senior OH Jennifer Pollard has 18 aces during the Wildcats' 11-match winning streak.
Senior OH Jennifer Pollard has 18 aces during the Wildcats' 11-match winning streak.

Nov. 14, 2002

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#20 KANSAS STATE (17-6, 13-2 Big 12) VS. [RV] TEXAS A&M (18-7, 10-6 Big 12)

Sunday, November 17, 2002 * G. Rollie White Coliseum (7,800) * College Station, Texas * 3 p.m.

Radio: 1350 AM KMAN in Manhattan area or over internet at www.k-statesports.com or www.1350kman.com. Brian Smoller handles play-by-play, while Liz Wegner does analysis.

Rankings: Kansas State jumped five spots to No. 20 in the latest AVCA/USA Today Top 25 poll on Monday. Texas A&M is receiving votes.

Coaches: Kansas State's Suzie Fritz is 37-14 (.726) in her second year. She is 2-1 versus Texas A&M. Texas A&M's Laurie Corbelli is 233-82 (.740) in her 10th season and 333-188 (.639) in 17 years overall. She is 6-7 against Kansas State.

Series: The series is tied, 7-7, in this, the 15th meeting. Both teams have split the previous six home-and-home meetings with the home team winning all 12. K-State is 0-6 all-time on the road against Texas A&M dating back to 1996. Last Time Out...

KANSAS STATE def. BAYLOR, 30-25, 30-15, 30-16

Saturday, November 9, 2002 * Ahearn Field House (823) * Manhattan, Kan. * 12 p.m.

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Kansas State held its third straight opponent to a hitting percentage below .100, as the Wildcats eased past injury-plagued Baylor in three games... K-State owned the statistics across the board, totaling 17 more kills and 11 more digs, while posting a .301 hitting percentage with nine service aces... It marked the seventh time hitting over .300.

#20 K-STATE LOOKS TO CONTINUE STREAKS, WHILE BREAKING AN OLD ONE AT TEXAS A&M... Holding not only the second-longest winning streak in school history, but the ninth-longest current streak in the nation, No. 25 Kansas State (17-6, 13-2 Big 12) looks to break a winless streak against Texas A&M (18-7, 10-6 Big 12) in College Station on Sunday, as the Wildcats travel to face the Aggies at G. Rollie White Coliseum beginning at 3 p.m. K-State will have two streaks on the line in the trip to Texas A&M, which is a near-perfect 13-1 at home this season. The Wildcats are currently riding an 11-match winning streak dating back to a 3-2 win over Texas Tech on Oct. 2, while the team has won 11 straight road Big 12 matches dating back to a 3-0 win over Kansas on Oct. 31, 2001. Kansas State's current 11-match winning streak, which includes a perfect 8-0 mark in the month of October, ranks as the second-longest winning streak in school history behind the school-record 13-match streak posted from Sept. 24 to Oct. 8, 1977. The 11-match winning streak is also the longest since the program began playing under the NCAA structure in 1982. The streak began in a 3-2 win over Texas Tech at home on Oct. 2 and has been severely tested on the road at Kansas, Colorado, Texas Tech and Missouri. The team has lost just five games during the stretch, including four to one team (Texas Tech). One of the most competitive rivalries in the Big 12, the two teams are tied 7-7 in the all-time series in a rivalry that dates back to 1981. However, neither team has been able to win on the road in the series with the Wildcats holding a 7-0 record in Manhattan and the Aggies holding a 6-0 mark in College Station. The two teams haven't met since Kansas State posted a 30-21, 30-21, 32-30 win in Manhattan on Oct. 19, which ranks as just the team's second sweep in series history and the first since 1997. The Wildcats held the Aggies to a season-low .087 hitting percentage in win despite the fact that the team was outperformed statistically in most major categories. Kansas State returns to Big 12 action on Wednesday, as the Wildcats host Oklahoma (5-19, 3-13 Big 12) at Ahearn Field House beginning at 7 p.m. K-State has won seven straight in the series, including the first meeting in 2002 by scores of 30-20, 30-20, 30-19 on Oct. 9 in Norman.

RECAPPING LAST WEEK... Kansas State went 2-0 for the fifth straight week, as the Wildcats posted a 30-26, 30-24, 30-28 win at No. 20 Missouri on Wednesday before sweeping Baylor at home on Saturday by scores of 30-25, 30-15, 30-16... The two wins extended K-State's winning streak to a season-best 11, which ranks as the second-longest winning streak in school history. Kansas State swept a ranked Missouri squad for the second time in two weeks, as the Wildcats held the Tigers to a season-low .026 hitting percentage in a 3-0 win in Columbia... K-State swept the season series for the second straight season and has won 17 of the last 18 meetings, including eight of the last nine played in Columbia ... The win also extended the team's school-record road conference winning streak to 11 matches. Kansas State held its third straight opponent to a hitting percentage below .100, as the Wildcats held Baylor to .054 hitting in the three-game sweep... K-State, which owns an 11-4 lead over Baylor in the all-time series, swept the season series for the Bears for second straight year... The Wildcats dominated the statistics, totaling 17 more kills and 11 more digs, while posting 47 kills on .301 hitting with nine service aces... The team hit over .300 for the seventh time this season.

'CATS IN THE BIG 12 STATISTICS... Kansas State had several players show up in the latest individual conference statistics... MB Lauren Goehring ranks 5th in hitting percentage and 6th in blocks... MB Lisa Martin is 9th in blocks... L Laura Downey-Wallace leads the Big 12 in digs per game with a 5.37 per game average, while senior OH Jennifer Pollard is tied for 8th with a 3.13 per game average... Pollard is also 9th in aces (0.34) ... Downey-Wallace also ranks 3rd nationally... She also leads the category in league-only matches with a 5.94 average... Goehring is 3rd in blocks (1.26), 4th in hitting percentage (.343), 6th in points (4.62) and 10th in aces (0.32) in Big 12-only matches... OH Cari Jensen is 6th in kills (3.88), while Martin is 5th in blocks (1.23) and 7th in hitting percentage (.339) in league-only matches... S Gabby Guerre is also 10th in hitting (.312).

'CATS JUMP FIVE SPOTS TO No. 20 IN AVCA POLL... On the strength of an 11-match winning streak, Kansas State advanced five spots to No. 20 in the AVCA/USA Today Top 25 poll on Nov. 11... The Wildcats, who recorded the biggest leap in this week's rankings, jumped back into the poll on Nov. 4 for the first time since Sept. 9 at No. 25... The ranking is the highest of the season and the highest since finishing the 2001 season at No. 18... The Wildcats were ranked in the first three polls of 2002, including ranking 22nd in the preseason, but fell out on Sept. 23 after four straight losses.

QUICK STRIKE... Kansas State has shown an ability to strike quickly on its opponents, as 14 of the team's 17 wins have come in three-game sweeps, including eight of the last 10 wins... In the sweep of Missouri, the Wildcats swept a Top-20 opponent for the second time this season and for the just the third time since 1997... On Oct. 19, the team swept Texas A&M for just the second time in series history and first since 1997 ... During the team's current 11-match road league winning streak, the 'Cats have won eight of the last nine in three games... This year, the team has swept Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Missouri on the road... The 14 sweeps are the most since the 2000 team had 16.

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 15 of their 23 opponents to a hitting percentage below .200, including 10 of their 15 conference foes... The team held Baylor to a paltry .054 hitting percentage on Nov. 9, marking the sixth time this season that they have held a team under .100 hitting... K-State has capitalized on this trend by winning 14 of those 15 matches, including 14 straight... The team ranks 2nd in the Big 12 in opponent hitting percentage with a .166 average... Kansas State is 17-1 when outhitting its opponent, including 9-0 when hitting over .300 in a match and 14-3 when hitting over .200 in a match.

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 13 of their last 15 Big 12 matches, including 11 in a row, due to their tough serving and strong defense... In fact, the Wildcats pace the Big 12 in digs (18.34 per game) and aces (1.60) in conference-only matches and rank 2nd in opponent hitting percentage (.161) and total blocks (2.80)... K-State has produced 21 more aces and one fewer service error against its 15 league opponents to go with 53 more digs and 31 more blocks... In the last 11 wins, the Wildcats have held their foes to a .145 hitting percentage, while adding more digs per game (19.21-17.66) and blocks per game (2.93-1.92)... The 11 have also posted 14 less aces and six 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 80 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 204-118-5 (.634) since that season, including a 61-15 (.803) mark over the last six years... In all, the Wildcats have upset 14 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 33 of its last 38 home matches over the last three years.

ROAD WARRIORS... Kansas State has shown an ability to win in some tight situations the last two seasons, winning 11 straight road Big 12 matches dating back to a 3-0 win over Kansas on Oct. 31, 2001... The Wildcats are a perfect 7-0 on the road in conference play this season, winning at such tough environments as Kansas, Colorado, Texas Tech and Missouri... The win at Tech was the first since 1997, while the victory at Missouri snapped its nine-match winning streak.

SMARTY PANTS... For a program that believes that the 'student' is just as important as 'athlete', Kansas State once again distinguished itself in the classroom, as four players earned nominations to the Verizon Academic All-District VII team in mid-October... Junior OH Cari Jensen was one of six players to earn first team Academic All-District VII honors and will advance to the national ballot, while senior OH Jennifer Pollard and juniors Laura Downey-Wallace and Lauren Goehring were all nominated for the team, as they list a cumulative GPA of above 3.7 in their chosen majors... The team also had seven players meet the criteria for first team Academic All-Big 12 honors, including five of the team's six starters.

A LOOK AT TEXAS A&M... Texas A&M enters the match on Sunday with an 18-7 overall record and 10-6 mark in Big 12 play... The team has won six of the last seven matches since losing 3-0 on the road to K-State, including four in a row since Oct. 30... Nebraska and Kansas State are the only teams to sweep Texas A&M this season... The Aggies are coming off a 3-2 win over Kansas on the road on Wednesday... Freshman OH Laura Jones led the attack with 22 kills on .318 hitting and eight digs, while sophomore OH Melissa Munsch added a double-double with 16 kills and 13 digs... The Aggies have five players that average at least two kills per game and five players that average at least two digs per game... Jones and Munsch average 3.80 and 3.54 kills per game, respectively, while Munsch leads the team with a 3.44 digs average... Sophomore S Lexy Beers paces with a 12.66 assists average.

JENSEN BECOMES A FORCE FOR 'CAT OFFENSE... One of the key elements in Kansas State's recent success has been the play of junior OH Cari Jensen, who has totaled double-digit kills in 18 of the Wildcats' 23 matches, including 12 of the last 14 matches dating back to Baylor on Sept. 21... During the current 11-match winning streak, Jensen is the team leader in kills (4.00 per game) and is second in points (162.5)... She has broken her season-high in kills in twice this season, totaling 17 kills on .389 hitting against Kansas on Oct. 16 before recording 20 kills on .400 hitting with 10 digs in the win over No. 19 Missouri on Oct. 23... In the last eight matches, she has amassed 114 kills (4.38 per game) on just 31 hitting errors on 251 total attacks for a .331 hitting percentage. In being chosen Big 12 Player of the Week for the third time in her career on Oct. 28, Jensen averaged 5.67 kills per game on .362 hitting with a 1.83 digs per game and 0.17 blocks per game in wins over No. 19 Missouri and Colorado... She currently leads the team in kills (285) and kills per game (3.61), while she is 2nd in points (323) and 4th in aces per game (0.24) and hitting (.243)

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 5.37 digs per game... The average also ranks 3rd nationally... She has posted double-digit dig totals in 22 of the 23 matches thus far, including 20 or more on nine occasions. On Oct. 12, she posted 30 or more digs for the second time 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 15 Big 12 matches this year, she is averaging a league-best 5.92 digs per game, including her 32-dig effort against Texas Tech (10/2)... Her 296 digs in league play are nearly 100 more than the second place total of 199 by A&M's Melissa Munsch, who has played in six more games. Her 424 digs on the season already ranks 3rd on the school's single-season list and she needs just 32 to break Kim Zschau's mark of 455 (1998).

GABBY THE GREAT... Sophomore S Gabby Guerre continues to show her tremendous all-around ability as a volleyball player, as she has a team-leading 10 double-doubles, including four in the last six matches... In those last six matches, Guerre has posted four or more kills in each match, including a conference-high nine kills against Baylor (11/9), and totaled double-digit digs in four contests... During the stretch, she is averaging 1.60 kills per game on .262 hitting with a 12.05 assists per game, 2.50 digs per game and 0.80 blocks per game... She posted nine kills on a season-best .615 hitting with 31 assists and team-high four blocks against Baylor (11/9)... She missed her first career triple-double against CU (10/12) by just two digs, as she posted 10 kills on .421 hitting with 41 assists, eight digs and three blocks. She has posted five or more kills in 15 matches this year... With her five kills against Missouri (10/23), she became just the fourth setter in school history to tally 100 kills in a single-season, joining Renee Whitney (1984-95) and Kristin Martin (1989)... She needs just 60 to break Martin's school-record of 188 set in 1989.

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 first or second on the team in eight categories, including leading in overall points (338), Big 12-only points (231), hitting percentage (.353), block solos (19), total blocks (87) and blocks (1.10 per game). She turned in a career-tying 19 kills on a .515 hitting percentage in the 3-0 win against Colorado on Oct. 26... She also had 19 kills against Texas Tech on Oct. 2 and versus Arkansas in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament. She ranks among the top 10 in the Big 12 in hitting percentage in both overall and conference-only matches after hitting .350 or better in eight of the last 11 matches... In that span, she has hit over .400 on six occasions... 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 Wildcat 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 10th in the Big 12 in league-only aces (0.32 per game)... Of her total of 20, she ranks second with 16 in league play, 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 537-461-11 (.538) in 1,008 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 180 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 straight 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.