No. 19 K-State Travels To Face Texas Saturday
Nov. 22, 2002
#19 KANSAS STATE (19-6, 15-2 Big 12) VS. [RV] TEXAS (21-7, 12-6 Big 12)
Saturday, November 23, 2002 * Gregory Gym (4,400) *Austin, Texas * 7 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 one spot to No. 19 in the latest AVCA/USA Today Top 25 poll on Monday. Texas is receiving votes.
Coaches: Kansas State's Suzie Fritz is 39-14 (.736) in her second year. She is 2-1 versus Texas. Texas' Jerritt Elliott is 38-21 (.644) in his second season and 88-33 (.727) in four years overall. He is 1-2 against K-State.
Series: Texas leads the all-time series, 9-6, in this, the 16th meeting. Kansas State had a six-match winning streak in the series until Texas posted a 3-0 win in Manhattan on Sept. 28. The Longhorns won the first eight meetings from 1981-98 and has a 4-3 mark in Austin.
Last Time Out...
KANSAS STATE def. OKLAHOMA, 30-20, 30-25, 30-23
Wednesday, November 20, 2002 * Ahearn Field House (673) * Manhattan, Kan. * 6 p.m.
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Kansas State held its fifth straight opponent to a hitting percentage below .200, as the Wildcats recorded its record-tying 16th sweep of the season in a 3-0 win over Oklahoma. K-State dominated the statistics, across the board with 18 more kills and 16 more digs, while totaling its second-highest hitting percentage of the season at a .341 clip.
K-STATE HAS A CHANCE TO BREAK LONGEST WINNING STREAK, FACES THE LAST TEAM TO DEFEAT THEM... With a chance to break the longest winning streak in school history at 14 matches, No. 19 Kansas State (19-6, 15-2 Big 12) looks to continue to build momentum toward an anticipated seven straight NCAA Tournament appearance, as the Wildcats travel to Austin, Texas to face fourth-place Texas (21-7, 12-6 Big 12) at Gregory Gym on Saturday evening beginning at 7 p.m. A win against Texas would not only break the school-record for consecutive wins at 14, but could also accomplish a few other milestones for the Wildcat program. - Give the program 20 wins for the fourth consecutive season, which would be a first in school history. - Guarantee sole possession of second place in the league standings, which would tie the 2000 squad for the highest conference finish in school history. - Break the school record for conference wins (16) set just a year ago in 2001. - Extend the road conference winning streak to 13 matches, which dates to a win over KU on Oct. 31, 2001. K-State, which tied the 1977 squad for the longest winning streak in school history with a win over Oklahoma, will face the last team to defeat them in the Longhorns, who earned a 30-27, 30-26, 30-16 win in Manhattan on Sept. 28. The match-up should be closely contested, as the two teams rank among the conference's Top 4 in hittting percentage, opponent hitting percentage, aces and blocks. Kansas State's current 13-match winning streak, which includes a perfect 8-0 mark in the month of October, is tied with Pepperdine for the seventh-longest current streak in the nation, trailing Florida (23), Nebraska (22), College of Charleston (19), American (16), Western Kentucky (16) and Northern Iowa (15). The 13-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 (3-0), Colorado (3-0), Texas Tech (3-2), Missouri (3-0) and Texas A&M (3-0). The team has lost just five games during the stretch, including four to one team (Texas Tech). The Wildcats have won 16 straight games dating back to a win in game five at Tech.
RECAPPING LAST WEEK... Kansas State went undefeated for the sixth straight week, as the Wildcats posted a 30-21, 30-23, 30-26 win at Texas A&M on Sunday in its lone match of the week... The win extended K-State's winning streak to a season-best 12, which ranks as the second-longest winning streak in school history. Kansas State swept the season series from Texas A&M for the first time since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1996, as the Wildcats held the Aggies to its second lowest hitting percentage (.117) of the season in a 3-0 win in College Station... K-State became just the second team in 10 years to sweep Texas A&M at home and first since No. 5 Nebraska did it in 1996... The win also extended the team's school-record road conference winning streak to 12 matches. Kansas State held its fifth straight opponent to a hitting percentage below .200, as the Wildcats held the Aggies to a .117 hitting in the three-game sweep... K-State has now held 16 of its 24 opponents to a hitting percentage below .200, including 11 of its 16 conference foes... The Wildcats have capitalized on this trend by winning 15 of those 16 matches, including 15 in a row.
'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 both hitting percentage and blocks... MB Lisa Martin is 6th in blocks... L Laura Downey-Wallace leads the Big 12 in digs per game with a 5.48 per game average, while senior OH Jennifer Pollard is tied for 6th with a 3.18 per game average... S Gabby Guerre is 7th in assists... Downey-Wallace also ranks 3rd nationally... She also leads the category in league-only matches with a 6.04 average... Goehring is 4th in blocks (1.25), 5th in hitting percentage (.356), 7th in points (4.67) and 10th in aces (0.30)... OH Cari Jensen is 6th in kills (4.00), while Martin is 2nd in blocks (1.27) and 8th in hitting percentage (.332) in league-only matches... Pollard is 5th in aces (0.39) and Guerre is 6th in assists (11.86) and 7th in hitting (.338).
'CATS JUMP ONE SPOT TO No. 19 IN AVCA POLL... On the strength of its first-ever win at Texas A&M, Kansas State advanced one spot to No. 19 in the AVCA/USA Today Top 25 poll on Nov. 18... The Wildcats 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 placing 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 16 of the team's 19 wins have come in three-game sweeps, including 10 of the last 12 wins... In the sweep of Texas A&M, the Wildcats became just the second team in 10 years and the first since Nebraska in 1996 to sweep the Aggies at home... In sweeping Missouri on Nov. 6, the Wildcats swept a Top-20 opponent for the second time this season... During the team's current 12-match road league winning streak, the 'Cats have won 10 of the last 12 in three games... This year, the team has swept Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Missouri and Texas A&M on the road... The 16 sweeps is currently tied for the school-record also set in 2000.
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 17 of their 25 opponents to a hitting percentage below .200, including 12 of their 17 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 16 of those 17 matches, including 16 straight... The team ranks 2nd in the Big 12 in opponent hitting percentage with a .164 average... Kansas State is 19-1 when outhitting its opponent, including 10-0 when hitting over .300 in a match and 16-3 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 15 of their last 17 Big 12 matches, including 13 in a row, due to their tough serving and strong defense... In fact, the Wildcats pace the Big 12 in digs (18.66 per game) in conference-only matches and rank 2nd in both opponent hitting percentage (.159) and total blocks (2.87) and 4th in aces (1.55)... K-State has produced 23 more aces and two fewer service errors against its 17 league opponents to go with 62 more digs and 40.5 more blocks... In the last 13 wins, the Wildcats have held their foes to a .143 hitting percentage, while adding more digs per game (19.50-17.95) and blocks per game (3.00-1.91)... The 13 have also posted 16 less aces and seven 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 205-118-5 (.635) since that season, including a 62-15 (.805) 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 34 of its last 39 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 12 straight road Big 12 matches dating back to a 3-0 win over Kansas on Oct. 31, 2001... The Wildcats are a perfect 8-0 on the road in conference play this season, winning at such tough environments as Colorado, Texas Tech, Missouri and Texas A&M... The win at Tech was the first since 1997, while the victory at A&M was the first in seven tries in College Station.
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 earn first team Academic All-Big 12 honors on Nov. 19, including five of the team's six starters.
A LOOK AT TEXAS... Texas enters the match on Saturday with a 21-7 overall record and 12-6 mark in Big 12 play... The Longhorns have rebounded to win three in a row since Nov. 13 after dropping four of its previous five matches, including three straight... Texas is coming off a 3-0 win at Iowa State on Wednesday, in which the team posted an impressive .370 hitting percentage... Sophomore MB Bethany Howden paced the attack with 18 kills on .552 hitting, while junior MB Kathy Hahn added 14 kills on .379 hitting... The team played without leading hitter Mira Topic... Topic leads the team in kills (4.68) and points (5.43) and is second in aces (0.40) and digs (2.60)... Hahn paces the squad in both hitting percentage (.334) and blocks (1.12), while is third in kills (3.41)... Howden is second in kills (3.72) on .293 hitting and adds 0.36 aces and 0.70 blocks per game... Sophomore S Caron Blotch leads with a 12.34 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 20 of the Wildcats' 25 matches, including 14 of the last 16 matches dating back to Baylor on Sept. 21... During the current 13-match winning streak, Jensen is the team leader in kills (4.14 per game) and is second in points (197)... She had a near career-high .516 hitting percentage on 19 kills in the win over Oklahoma, which is one short of season-high 20 against No. 19 Missouri on Oct. 23...In the last 10 matches, she has amassed 125 kills (4.50 per game) on just 36 hitting errors on 313 total attacks for a .345 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 (315) and kills per game (3.71), while she is 2nd in points (357.5) and 4th in aces per game (0.24) and hitting (.256)
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 5.48 digs per game... The average also ranks 3rd nationally... She has posted double-digit dig totals in 24 of the 25 matches thus far, including 20 or more on 11 occasions. On Nov. 20, she broke the Kansas State single-season mark for digs with her 456th in game two against Oklahoma... She posted 20 against the Sooners for a season total of 466, which also ranks as the second-most by a player in a single-season in Big 12 Conference history... She is 92 short of Baylor's Elisha Polk (557, 1999). She has posted 30 or more digs on four occasions, including 31 against Colorado, which ranks as the second-most digs in a four-game match in school history, and 32 against Texas Tech, which ranks as the third-most in a five-game match. In 17 Big 12 matches this year, she is averaging a league-best 6.04 digs per game, including her 32-dig effort against Texas Tech (10/2)... Her 338 digs in league play are 100 more than the second place total of 228 by A&M's Melissa Munsch, who has played in eight more games.
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 11 double-doubles, including five in the last eight matches... In those last eight matches, Guerre has posted four or more kills in each match, including a conference-high 11 kills - on zero errors - against Oklahoma (11/20), and totaled double-digit digs in five contests... Following her stellar performances against Baylor and Texas A&M, she picked up her first career triple-double against the Sooners with 11 kills on .524 hitting with 44 assists and 11 digs... It was the first triple-double by a Wildcat since 1998 and the first by a setter since 1995. She has posted five or more kills in 17 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 43 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 (368.5), Big 12-only points (261.5), hitting percentage (.362), block solos (21), total blocks (94) and blocks (1.11 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 10 of the last 13 matches... In that span, she has hit over .400 on eight 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 (0.30 per game)... Of her total of 21, she ranks second with 17 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 539-461-11 (.539) in 1,010 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.