Wildcats Eye Win in Big 12 Finale
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- The Wildcats end the regular season looking to finish strong against the Texas Tech Red Raiders and avoid losing consecutive matches for the first time this year. Kansas State and Texas Tech will take to the court at 7 p.m. at the United Spirit Arena while the Red Raiders are looking to avoid the third winless conference slate in Big 12 history.
Texas Tech is 0-19 in Big 12 Conference action and has lost 38 straight dating back to last season. The Red Raiders have come close to getting off the snide recently with a close loss to Baylor in five sets.
The last time K-State and Tech met, the Wildcats got the sweep in Manhattan with K-State besting the Red Raiders 25-18, 25-12, 25-17. Rita Liliom had 11 kills in the win and the Wildcats combined to hit .397 for the match. Tech hit below .100 en route to the loss.
Kansas State has now won seven in a row over Texas Tech -- the most in the series.
Kansas State leads the all-time series with the Red Raiders 21-8 and have won the last seven. The last time Texas Tech defeated K-State was in Manhattan in 2004 in five sets.
The Wildcats are 19-6 in the series since the inception of the Big 12 Conference and have put together a winning streak of seven matches against the Red Raiders. Texas Tech has won consecutive matches against the Wildcats just twice and swept the Wildcats only once. Texas Tech’s lone sweep came 2-0 in 1983 by the score of 17-15, 15-6.
The longer the match against Texas Tech, the more often the Red Raiders end up the victor. Half of Texas Tech’s wins against Kansas State have come in five sets. Each team has won four matches that went the distance in the series.
Kansas State: Suzie Fritz (Florida Atlantic 94) is in her eighth season leading the Wildcats. She became the school’s winningest coach with her 169th career win against Colorado (11/19).
Texas Tech: Nancy Todd (Arizona State 95) is coaching the Red Raiders for the eighth year after serving as an assistant for eight years as well. Todd has a career record of 61-140 and is 17-111 in conference play.
On the Airwaves
Saturday’s match will be broadcast on 1350 KMAN with Rob Voelker calling the action. Fans can also hear the match on the station’s Web site www.1350kman.com.
On the Web
Live stats will be available for fans to follow at www.texastech.com.
Scouting the Red Raiders
Texas Tech enters Saturday’s regular season finale without a win in conference play. The Red Raiders are hoping to avoid becoming the third team to go winless in Big 12 action for a season. Texas Tech’s last conference win came in its conference opener last season -- making the current losing streak 38 matches.
The Red Raiders have come up just short in a number of matches this season. Tech is 0-5 in five-set matches -- four in conference play. In those matches, the largest margin of defeat in the final set was five points. Against Colorado (10/25) the final set went to extra points before the Buffaloes got the win in Lubbock 19-17. Recently, Tech fell to Baylor at home 15-13 in the fifth set.
Tech is led by Amanda Dowdy with 2.74 kills per set and a .288 hitting percentage. Brandi Hood leads the Red Raiders in blocks with 0.84 per set. As a team, Tech is hitting .171 while opponents are hitting .267 against the Raiders.
Catching Up with the Cats
The Wildcats dropped their home finale of the season against Iowa State on Senior Night at Ahearn Field House on Wednesday. It marked just the third time this season and first at home Kansas State has been swept. The Cyclones built early leads in the first and second sets and K-State never tied the score. K-State had the early lead in the third, but Iowa State reclaimed it and never surrendered the lead.
The loss to Iowa State marked the first time this season no player for the Wildcats reached double digits in kills. Nataly Korobkova led K-State with eight kills. Outside hitter Rita Liliom had her streak of 31 consecutive matches with at least 10 kills snapped as well.
Kansas State is looking to tally the second highest win total in the Suzie Fritz era. The Wildcats record of 23-7 is one win shy of claiming the No. 2 spot. The highest win total in Fritz’s tenure as head coach is 30 set in the Big 12 Championship season of 2003. Last season, the Wildcats won 23 matches for the second most since 2001.