#19 K-State Ends Regular Season at Missouri
Nov. 20, 2001
THIS WEEK IN WILDCAT VOLLEYBALL
#19 Kansas State (18-7 / 14-5 Big 12) vs. [RV] Missouri (20-8 / 10-8 Big 12)
Wednesday, November 21 * 7 p.m. CST * Hearnes Center (13,545) * Columbia, Mo. TV: None * Radio: KMAN 1350 AM (Brian Smoller calls the action) * Live Stats: mutigers.com
K-State Coach: Suzie Fritz (Florida Atlantic, '94) * School: 18-7/1 yr. * vs. Missouri: 1-0 (7-1 as assistant)
MU Coach: Susan Kreklow (SW Missouri, '84) * School: 44-15/2 yrs. * Career: 553-125/12 yrs. * vs. KSU: 1-2
Series: K-State leads 28-26 * In Big 12 play: K-State leads 10-1 * Win Streak: K-State has won 2
First Meeting in 2001: K-State earned a 30-22, 19-30, 30-25, 23-30, 15-13 victory in Manhattan on Sept. 26
K-State vs. Missouri in Columbia: 11-8 (Missouri has won 1 in a row)
#19 K-STATE LOOKS TO CONTINUE STREAK AS THE 'CATS TRAVEL TO MISSOURI
Having won 10 of its last 12 matches, including a season-high six-match winning streak, Kansas State (18-7, 14-5 Big 12) looks to break the school record for conference wins Wednesday, as the Wildcats travel to play Missouri (20-8, 10-8 Big 12) in the regular season finale at the Hearnes Center. Riding high off its upset of 13th-ranked Texas A&M on Saturday, Kansas State continued to move up the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top 25 on Monday, moving 3 spots to No. 19 after ascending 3 spots last week to No. 22. It is the highest ranking of the season for the Wildcats since being ranked No. 19 in the preseason AVCA poll released on August 19. By virtue of its win over the Aggies, K-State clinched at least a tie for 3rd place in the Big 12 standings with a 18-7 overall record and a 14-5 mark in league action. The team can claim a share of 2nd place with a win against Missouri on Wednesday and a loss by Texas A&M to either Texas or Texas Tech this week. A win over the Tigers clinches 3rd place outright for the Wildcats. Kansas State will make its 6th consecutive appearance in NCAA Tournament when the bracket is announced Monday, Nov. 26 at 2 p.m. There is still a chance that the Wildcats will host first/second rounds at Ahearn Field House Nov. 30-Dec. 1. Missouri enters Saturday's contest having won 4 of its last 6 matches, including 2 in a row, since a 3-1 loss to No. 2 Nebraska at home on Oct. 24. The Tigers will be well-rested for its second meeting with the Wildcats after taking last Saturday off. In its last outing a week ago, MU swept the season series from Texas Tech with a 3-0 win in Lubbock, Texas. It will be the final home match of the season for Missouri, as it says farwell to 6 seniors, including starters Naaron Branson, Krista Johnson, Rachael Taylor and Katie Sowers. The Tigers travels to Baylor on Saturday to conclude the regular season. Missouri is 8-4 at home this season, including 5-4 mark in league play at the Hearnes Center. Kansas State narrowly leads the all-time series, 28-26, with Missouri, including a 30-22, 19-30, 30-25, 23-30, 15-13 victory on Sept. 26 in Manhattan. Last season, the Wildcats saw their 12-match winning streak against the Tigers end in Columbia, as MU swept KSU in three games. However, the Wildcats have won 14 of the last 15 meetings with the Tigers, including 6 of 7 at the Hearnes Center. On Monday, Kansas State placed the second-most selections of any league school on the Academic All-Big 12 first team, as 7 Wildcat players earned recognition to the conference's academic team. Seniors Jayne Christen, Lisa Mimick, Liz Wegner were joined by junior Jenny Pollard and sophomores Lauren Goehring, Cari and Kris Jensen.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS
The veteran team relies on an all-around attack that features three seniors (Christen, Mimick and Wegner), a junior (Pollard), sophomore (Goehring) and freshman (Guerre) in the starting lineup... The Wildcats have 6 players averaging over 1.75 kills per game and 6 with two or more digs per game, while 8 have tallied double-digit total blocks this season... As a whole, the team is averaging 15.78 kills per game on .227 hitting with 13.68 assists per game and 18.12 digs per game. The team also averages 1.64 aces per game and 2.63 blocks per game. The Wildcats rank among the top 5 in the Big 12 in 3 categories - aces (5th), digs (2nd) and blocks (5th). This balanced offense is led by one of the nation's best outside hitters, Liz Wegner, who ranks 3rd in the Big 12 with a 4.51 kills per game average on .206 hitting. After becoming K-State's all-time kills leader on Sept. 26 against Missouri, she became the fifth player in school history to tally 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career against Iowa State... She was a preseason All-Big 12 selection and a 2000 first team honoree... Another pair of threats on the outside, both senior Lisa Mimick and junior Jenny Pollard have continued to evolve into solid compliments to the hard-hitting Wegner... Mimick and Pollard rank 6th and 10th in the Big 12 in digs/game with 3.47 and 3.25 averages... Mimick adds 2.88 kills/game and 0.88 blocks/game, while Pollard posts 2.83 kills/game to go along with a team-high 13 double-doubles... Sophomore Cari Jensen earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors on Nov. 5 with double-doubles in wins over Kansas and Iowa State.. Anchoring the middle for the Wildcats is senior Jayne Christen and sophomore Lauren Goehring.... Both average nearly a block/game, with Christen edging Goehring for the team lead, 1.22 to 1.01... Christen adds 1.91 kills/game on a team-best .337 hitting... Goehring does a little of everything, averaging 1.99 kills/game and 2.58 digs/game... She leads the team and ranks 7th in the Big 12 with a 0.40 aces/game average. The reigning Big 12 Player of the Week, true freshman Gabby Guerre has performed well since being thrust into the starting lineup on Sept. 26... She has 11 double-doubles in 17 starts, including a near triple-double in the 3-0 win at Texas Nov. 7... Laura Downey, Kris Jensen and Jami Sleichter have all seen action in the back row.
Missouri (20-8, 10-8 Big 12) has won 4 of its last 6 matches, including 2 in a row, since a 3-1 loss to second-ranked Nebraska at home on Oct. 24... The Tigers will be well-rested for its second meeting with the Wildcats after taking last Saturday off... In its last outing a week ago, MU swept the season series from Texas Tech with a 3-0 win on the road... The Tigers' offensive attack is led by the duo of junior MB Christi Johnson (3.40 kpg) and sophomore OH Mary Lauren Smith (2.67 kpg)... However, the team's leading offensive weapon, junior OH Lisa Morris, went down with a season-ending shoulder injury 4 matches ago... Senior OH Naaron Branson leads in digs (3.43), while Johnson paces in blocks/game (1.23)... Sophomore S Chrissy Elder averages 12.53 assists/game and 2.28 digs/game.
LAST MEETING WITH MISSOURI (9/26)
Senior OH Liz Wegner became Kansas State's all-time kills leader with a season-high 26 kills in guiding the Wildcats to a heart-stopping five-game battle with Missouri, 30-22, 19-30, 30-25, 23-30, 15-13 at Ahearn Field House... In the decisive fifth game, K-State battled back from a 7-3 deficit to tie the match at 10-all, then with the score 13-all, sophomore OH Lisa Martin gave the Wildcats the victory with her career-high 6th block and 7th kill on the night... Wegner added 16 digs to her impressive performance, while freshman S Gabby Guerre posted her first double-double with 57 assists and 14 digs.
STREAKING THE LAST 12 MATCHES
After a slow start in Big 12 over the first half, Kansas State has turned it up, winning 10 of its last 12 against conference foes, including 6 in a row... The most impressive part about the streak is that 7 of the 12 matches were played on the road where the Wildcats have traditionally struggled... The 2 losses in the streak have been at 14th-ranked Texas A&M at second-ranked Nebraska... During the stretch, the Wildcats have relied on solid serving and defense to win matches... The team is hitting just .236 in the stretch, but has held their foes to a paltry .154... The team has also posted 33 more service aces than their opponents (77-44), while they have outdug (860-852) and outblocked (127-98) foes... A very balanced team in the stretch with 5 players averaging two kills/game and 7 averaging nearly two digs/game, including 3 with over three digs/game... Senior MB Jayne Christen is averaging 1.47 blocks.
SAYING GOOD-BYE TO THREE SENIORS
It was an emotional final match of the season on Saturday, as Kansas State said good-bye to 3 seniors - Jayne Christen, Lisa Mimick and Liz Wegner - in its 3-2 win over 13th-ranked Texas A&M... The 3 have helped the Wildcats forge a 80-37 overall record the last 4 years, including a program-best 54-25 mark in Big 12 Conference play... They have helped the team to victories over 18 Top 25 teams, including the program's first-ever wins over Nebraska and Texas...They will become just the third senior class in school history to reach the NCAA Tournament all four years... All 3 were named first team Academic All-Big 12 on Monday.
'CATS MAKE IT THREE IN A ROW, AS GUERRE NAMED BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
True freshman setter Gabby Guerre was named the Big 12 Conference Volleyball Player of the Week on Monday afternoon after she totaled back-to-back double-doubles (assists-digs) in helping Kansas State to victories over Baylor and 13th-ranked Texas A&M this past week. This marks the third straight week that a Wildcat student-athlete has received the honor following senior Lisa Mimick and sophomore Cari Jensen's selections on Nov. 5 and 12, respectively. Guerre averaged 12.12 assists per game and 3.12 digs per game in helping the Wildcats take the season series from Baylor before upsetting 13th-ranked Texas A&M. She also added 1.38 kills per game on .292 hitting and 0.88 blocks per game. In the Wildcats' first victory over the Bears in Waco, Texas since 1998, she tallied her 10th double-double of the season with 42 assists and 10 digs to go with four kills in a three-game sweep. In a hard-fought five-game victory over the 13th-ranked Aggies, she had a complete all-around effort with seven kills on .429 hitting to go along with 55 assists, 15 digs and a career-high five blocks. Since Guerre took over the starting setter role from the injured Laura Downey on Sept. 26, she has led the Wildcats to a 14-3 record, including victories over three Top 25 teams. She paces the team with an 11.77 assists per game average, while she is second in hitting percentage (.305), third in digs per game (2.94) and fourth in blocks per game (0.65). She has totaled 11 double-doubles this season and was a mere dig short of her first career triple-double against Texas on Nov. 7.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
Before the 6th-largest crowd in school history (4,889) in a 3-2 win over 13th-ranked Texas A&M, Kansas State completed its second straight 12-1 season at home... During the last three and half years, the Wildcats have posted a 42-8 overall record and have won 27 of their last 29 matches with both losses in that span coming to Nebraska... The team is 74-18 at home since 1995... KSU has ranked among the top 15 in attendance since 1997... The Wildcats currently ranked 12th nationally in home attendance with a 1,774 average.
LET'S GET DEFENSIVE
One of the team's biggest strengths this season has been its play on the defensive end. The Wildcats rank 2nd in the Big 12 in digs/game (18.12) and 4th in block/game (2.63), while they rank 2nd in the league in opponent hitting percentage with a .174 average. The team is just as consistent in conference-only matches, ranking 2nd in both digs/game (18.69) and opponent hitting percentage (.173) and 3rd in blocks/game (2.73). The team's 2.73 blocks/game average is the highest in more than 4 years for the team, while its digs/game average is on track to be the highest in school history, surpassing 1999 average of 17.39.
WEISER PULLS 'INTERIM' TAG OFF FRITZ, WATSON NAMED ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH
After leading Kansas State to an impressive 10-5 record despite playing one of the nation's toughest schedules, head coach Suzie Fritz was upgraded from interim status on Oct. 11 by Athletics Director Tim Weiser... In addition, second-year assistant coach Jason Watson was elevated to associate head coach for volleyball. "Suzie has done a wonderful job in preparing our student-athletes for competition...," said Weiser. "We think she is the right person to lead the Wildcat volleyball program and now and into the future." Fritz took over as interim head coach just before the season when Jim McLaughlin left in August to take the head-coaching job at the University of Washington. Fritz has directed preseason practice and has led the Wildcats to a position near the top of the Big 12 over the first six weeks of the season. A former All-American setter at BYU, Watson is in his second year on the Wildcat bench after spending two years as an assistant at Arkansas State.
MIMICK ACHIEVES 1,000-DIG MILESTONE
Fellow senior co-captain Lisa Mimick earned her 1,000th career dig on Oct. 27 with her 7-dig performance at Nebraska... She becomes just the sixth player in Kansas State history to tally 1,000 career digs and the second this season (Liz Wegner accomplished the feat at Iowa State on Oct. 10)... One of the team's toughest competitiors, Mimick has totaled double-digit digs in 17 of the Wildcats' 21 matches this season... She has 49 matches of 10 or more kills in her career... She has totaled 15 or more digs on a team-best 7 occasions this year and had tallied more than 20 digs twice... Since a 3-1 loss at Texas Tech on Sept. 22, Mimick is averaging a team-best 3.78 digs/game for the Wildcats, including a season-high 24 in a 3-1 win over the Red Raiders on Oct. 24... She has also become an offensive threat for the team... She had career-best 22 kills on .333 hitting in the loss at Texas A&M after adding 19 kills vs. Iowa State and 14 against Baylor... She ranks second in double-doubles with 9 on the year.
WEGNER CONTINUES TO SET RECORDS
Senior OH Liz Wegner became the fifth player in Kansas State history to tally 1,000 digs in a career with her 12-dig performance against Iowa State on Oct. 10... With the accomplishment, Wegner also became the fifth player to accumulate at least 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in her career... With the mark, she joins Mary Kinsey (1984-87), Shawnee Call (1985-88) and former teammates Kim Zschau (1995-98) and Dawn Cady (1996-99) as the only members of the double-grand club in school history... On Sept. 26, the senior broke Kansas State's all-time career kills record with her 1,647th kill in an amazing 26-kill performance in a five-game win over Missouri.... She also set the school mark for 20-kill matches with the 27th of her career... An honorable mention All-American and first team All-Big 12 selection as a junior, Wegner already holds 19 school career and single-season records... She earned her 20th school record against 21st-ranked Colorado on Nov. 10, as she became the school's all-time total attacks leader with 4,743.
GUERRE EXCELS IN SETTER SPOT AFTER INJURY TO STARTER DOWNEY
Since replacing the injuried Laura Downey on Sept. 26, true freshman Gabby Guerre has been nothing short of sensational... Since taking over against Missouri on Sept. 26, she has tallied 11 double-doubles against the likes of Missouri, No. 23 Texas, Kansas and #13 Texas A&M and is averaging 11.77 assists/game, 2.94 digs/game and 1.17 kills/game... In just her second start and third appearance this year, Guerre poured in a season-best 57 assists and 14 digs in a thrilling five-game victory over Missouri... Last week, she continued her impressive play as she was named the Big 12 Player of the Week... She tallied her 10th double-double with 42 assists and 10 digs in a three-game win over Baylor, while she had seven kills on .429 hitting against Texas A&M with 15 digs and 5 blocks.
'CATS REPEAT AS WILDCAT CLASSIC CHAMPS, WEGNER NAMED MVP
After dropping tough, hard-fought matches to Top 10 powers Hawai'i and UCLA, Kansas State rebounded to take all three matches at its own Wildcat Classic en route to its second straight tournament title... The Wildcats earned wins over Arkansas and Houston by 3-1 scores followed by a 3-0 win over 26th-ranked Washington State in the final... With the three-match sweep over the weekend, the Wildcat have won 31 consecutive non-conference matches at home dating back to 1994... Senior Liz Wegner was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player for the second straight year after averaging 5.82 kills/game on .276 hitting with 0.64 aces/game and 2.73 digs/game... Junior OH Jenny Pollard and sophomore MB Lauren Goehring were also named to the all-tournament team.
'CATS PERFORM WELL IN HAWAII, FRITZ GETS FIRST-EVER COACHING WIN
After coming so close in losses to No. 5 Hawai'i and No. 7 UCLA, Kansas State earned its first victory of the season with a three-game sweep of Michigan, a 2000 NCAA Tournament participant, a the 14th annual Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic... The victory was also the first for first-year head coach Suzie Fritz... All-Tournament selection Liz Wegner led the team for the third straight match with 16 kills and 10 digs... On the first day, the Wildcats couldn't hold a 2-0 games lead in a five-game loss to host Hawai'i, while after tying the match at one-game apiece on day two, UCLA came back to win, 3-1.
'CATS RANK #19 IN PRESEASON POLL
For the third consecutive year, Kansas State earned a ranking in the preseason AVCA/USA Today Top 25, as the Wildcats checked in at No. 19 in the annual poll released Aug. 14... K-State earned its highest-ever preseason ranking in 2000 with a No. 17 ranking, while the program received its first-ever preseason nod in 1999 with a No. 23 ranking...The team received 354 total points from the 65-member coaching panel to become one of three Big 12 teams to earn a ranking in the preseason poll.
COACHES PICK 'CATS 4TH IN BIG 12, WEGNER NAMED ALL-BIG 12
Despite returning four starters and seven letterwinners from a team that finished a program-best second in the Big 12 in 2000, Kansas State was picked by the league coaches to finish in a fourth-place tie with Missouri in its preseason voting... The Wildcats followed top-ranked Nebraska, Texas A&M and Colorado in the voting... For the second consecutive year, Liz Wegner was selected to the preseason all-conference team.
TOUGH SCHEDULE AWAITS 'CATS
Ten NCAA Tournament team, including defending national champion Nebraska and Final Four participant Hawai'i, highlight arguably the toughest schedule in school history... In addition to matches with the Cornhuskers and Wahine, the 26-match schedule features battles with 2000 NCAA Tournament participants Colorado, Houston, Michigan, Missouri, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA and Washington State... In all, the schedule features 15 matches with 2000 NCAA Tournament teams and 8 contests with teams that were either ranked or received votes in the final USA Today/AVCA Top 25, including three in the Top 10.
28 YEARS OF WILDCAT VOLLEYBALL
The 2001 campaign marks the 28th season of intercollegiate competition for the Wildcats... K-State owns an all-time mark of 518-454-11 (.533) in 979 matches... Last season, Kansas State earned its 500th victory, as the Wildcats shocked host and 15th-ranked Pepperdine, 3-1, in the NCAA Tournament to earn its first trip to Sweet 16.