No. 22 K-State Travels To No. 5 Nebraska Saturday
Nov. 30, 2002
#22 KANSAS STATE (20-7, 16-3 Big 12) at #5 NEBRASKA (27-1, 19-0 Big 12)
Saturday, November 30, 2002 *Nebraska Coliseum (4,030) *Lincoln, Neb. * 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 fell three spots to No. 22 in the latest AVCA/USA Today Top 25 poll on Monday. Nebraska is ranked No. 5.
Coaches: Kansas State's Suzie Fritz is 40-15 (.727) in her second year. She is 0-3 versus Nebraska. Nebraska's John Cook is 92-3 (.968) in his third season and 253-76 (.769) in 10 years overall. He is 6-1 against K-State.
Series: Nebraska leads the all-time series, 65-1, in this, the 67th meeting. The Wildcats have only played Kansas (86) more times than the Huskers. NU has won seven straight in the series, including two straight in Lincoln. K-State is the last Big 12 team to win in Lincoln (1999).
Last Time Out...
KANSAS STATE def. KANSAS, 30-27, 30-27, 30-14
Wednesday, November 27, 2002 * Ahearn Field House (1,673) *Manhattan, Kan. * 7 p.m.
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Kansas State ran its winning streak over archrival Kansas to 16 in a row in a 3-0 win in the home finale. The win not only broke the school record for conference victories (16) and sweeps (17), but also assured the team sole possession of second place. The Wildcats dominated the statistics, totaling more kills (55-42), digs (63-40) and blocks (14.5-5.5).
#22 K-STATE ENDS REGULAR SEASON ON ROAD, AS THE 'CATS TRAVEL TO FACE #5 NEBRASKA... Fresh off clinching sole possession of second-place with its school-record 16th conference victory of the season in the 3-0 win over Kansas, No. 22 Kansas State (20-7, 16-3 Big 12) ends the regular season on Saturday evening, as the Wildcats travel to Lincoln, Neb., to face No. 5 Nebraska (27-1, 19-0 Big 12) at the Nebraska Coliseum beginning at 7 p.m. The Cornhuskers are not only riding a 69-match conference winning streak, but also have won 25 straight matches dating back to a 3-0 win over Pepperdine on Sept. 6. In addition, Nebraska has won 59 in a row at home, including all 13 in 2002. The Wildcats were the last team to beat the Huskers in Lincoln in a 3-2 win on Sept. 22, 1999. Kansas State is coming off a 30-27, 30-27, 30-14 win over archrival Kansas in the home season finale on Wednesday. The Wildcats not only broke the school record for conference wins with their 16th of the season, but also clinched sole possession of second place, which matches the 2000 squad for the highest finish in school history. The win also gave the program 20 wins for the fourth consecutive season, which is a first in the program's history. The sweep was also the 17th of the season, a new record. Nebraska leads the all-time series with Kansas State, 65-1, in this, the 67th meeting between the two teams. The Wildcats have only played Kansas (86) more times than the Cornhuskers in the program's 29-year history, as the series dates to the 1975 season. Nebraska has won the last seven meetings since 1999 with losses in just three games in that span. The two teams haven't met since the Huskers posted a 30-25, 30-16, 30-27 win in the conference opener on Sept. 18 in Manhattan. Senior co-captain Jennifer Pollard led the Wildcats with 13 kills, while juniors Lauren Goehring and Cari Jensen added seven kills apiece. Sophomore S Gabby Guerre had a double-double with 33 assists and 11 digs with six kills on .333 hitting. Kansas State will find out its postseason destination on Sunday, Dec. 1, as the NCAA unveils its 64-team bracket on ESPNEWS at 8 p.m. CST. The Wildcats will be making their eighth straight postseason appearance, including their seventh consecutive to "Big Dance". K-State is 8-8 all-time in the postseason, including 6-6 in the NCAA Tournament, and have won first round matches in each of the past four seasons. Both fans and media are invited to the team's Watch Party set for Willie's Bar and Grill located at 307 Seth Child in Manhattan.
RECAPPING LAST WEEK... Kansas State went 1-1 last week, as the Wildcats posted a 30-20, 30-25, 30-23 win at home against Oklahoma on Wednesday before losing 30-24, 20-30, 22-30, 25-30 at Texas on Saturday... The loss snapped both K-State's 13-match overall winning streak and its 12-match road conference winning streak. Kansas State tied the 1977 squad for the longest winning streak with its 13th straight win and claimed its school-record tying 16th sweep of the season in the 3-0 win over Oklahoma... The Wildcats dominated the statistics, totaling 59 kills on .341 hitting -- the second highest hitting percentage of the season -- while holding its fifth straight opponent to a hitting percentage below .200 hitting. Kansas State posted its fourth lowest hitting percentage of the season (.153) and totaled double-digit service errors (13) for the first time in 20 matches, as the Wildcats dropped a tough 3-1 loss at Texas... It was the lowest hitting percentage since hitting .104 against the Longhorns on Sept. 28... The Wildcats were also outblocked 14-6.5 in the match... It was the team's first loss since dropping a 3-0 decision to Texas on Sept. 28.
BALANCE IS THE NAME OF THE GAME... One of the biggest reasons for Kansas State's success this season has been its balance on offense... The Wildcats have seven players that average at least one kill per game on the season, while four players average over two kills per game... It marks the the third straight year that the team has had seven players average at least one kill per game... In addition, K-State has two players that average over three kills per game with Cari Jensen (3.72) and Lauren Goehring (3.48)... It marks just the 10th time in school history that two players have averaged over three kills per game, but the seventh time since 1995... This season, the team has had at least five players tally at least five kills in a match in 19 of the 27 matches... The Wildcats are 15-4 in those contests, including 11 straight wins dating back to a win over Baylor on Sept. 21... Also, three or more players have totaled 10 or more kills in 12 of the 27 matches.
'CATS FALL THREE SPOTS TO No. 22 IN AVCA POLL... After seeing its 13-match winning streak end at Texas on Saturday, Kansas State dropped three spots to No. 22 in the AVCA/USA Today Top 25 poll on Nov. 25... The Wildcats jumped back into the poll on Nov. 4 for the first time since Sept. 9 at No. 25... The No. 19 ranking on Nov. 18 was the highest of the season... 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 17 of the team's 20 wins have come in three-game sweeps, including 11 of the last 13 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 12-match road league winning streak, the 'Cats won 10 of the 12 matches in three games... This year, the team has swept Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Missouri and Texas A&M on the road... The 17 sweeps break the school-record of 16 set during the 2000 season.
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 18 of their 27 opponents to a hitting percentage below .200, including 13 of their 19 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 17 of those 18 matches, including 17 straight... The team ranks 2nd in the Big 12 in opponent hitting percentage with a .166 average... Kansas State is 20-1 when outhitting its opponent, including 9-0 when hitting over .300 in a match and 17-3 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 16 of their last 19 Big 12 matches, including 13 in a row at one point, due to their tough serving and strong defense... In fact, the Wildcats pace the Big 12 in digs (18.73 per game) in conference-only matches and rank 2nd in both opponent hitting percentage (.160) and total blocks (2.90) and 5th in aces (1.49)... K-State has produced 23 more aces and one more service error against its 19 league opponents to go with 91 more digs and 44 more blocks... In the last 14 wins, the Wildcats have held their foes to a .144 hitting percentage, while adding more digs per game (19.60-17.66) and blocks per game (3.12-1.90)... The 14 have also posted 19 less aces and seven more errors.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE, PART I... With the 3-1 win over Colorado on Oct. 12, Kansas State earned its 200th win at Ahearn Field House... The 'Old Barn' has been the home to Wildcat volleyball since its inaugural season in 1974... The program has compiled an impressive 206-118-5 (.636) since that season, including a 63-15 (.808) 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... The win over Kansas gave K-State at least 10 home victories for the seventh time in the last eight years, while the team has won 35 of its last 40 home matches over the last three years.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE, PART II... Talk about 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.
ROAD WARRIORS... Although Kansas State saw its 12-match road Big 12 Conference winning streak end in a 3-1 loss at Texas, the Wildcats have still shown an ability to win in some tight situations the last two seasons... K-State has won 12 of its last 13 road league contests dating back to a 3-0 win over Kansas on Oct. 31, 2001... The Wildcats are 8-1 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 NEBRASKA... Nebraska enters the match on Saturday with an 27-1 overall record and 19-0 mark in Big 12 play... The Huskers are not only riding a 69-match conference winning streak, but also have won 25 straight matches dating back to a 3-0 win over Pepperdine on Sept. 6... Nebraska has also won 18 consecutive games since losing the first game at Texas on Nov. 9... The team has won 59 in a row at home, including 13 in 2002... NU averages 16.91 kills per game on .326 hitting with 1.72 aces per game and 3.68 blocks per game... The Huskers are paced by the 1-2 punch of seniors OH Laura Pilakowski and MB Amber Holmquist, who each hit over .340 and average over three kills per game... Holmquist adds a team-best 2.04 blocks per game.
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 22 of the Wildcats' 27 matches, including 16 of the last 18 matches dating back to Baylor on Sept. 21... During the team's 13-match winning streak, Jensen was the team leader in kills (4.14 per game) and was second in points (197)... She had a season-high .516 hitting percentage on 19 kills in the win over Oklahoma, which is one short of her season-high of 20 versus No. 19 Missouri (10/23)... In the last 12 matches, she has amassed 139 kills (4.36 per game) on just 53 hitting errors on 382 total attacks for a .318 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 (342) and kills per game (3.72), while she is 2nd in points (389.5) and 4th in aces per game (0.22) and hitting (.247)
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 5.47 digs per game... The average also ranks 3rd nationally... She has posted double-digit dig totals in 26 of the 27 matches thus far, including 20 or more on 12 occasions. On Nov. 20, she broke the Kansas State single-season mark for digs with her 456th in game two against Oklahoma... She posted 15 against Kansas for a season total of 503, which also ranks as the second-most by a player in a single-season in Big 12 Conference history... She is 55 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 19 Big 12 matches this year, she is averaging a league-best 5.95 digs per game, including her 32-dig effort against Texas Tech (10/2)... Her 375 digs in league play are 100 more than the second place total of 255 by A&M's Melissa Munsch, who has played in nine 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 12 double-doubles, including six in the last 10 matches... In those last 10 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 six 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 Wildcat setter since 1995. She has posted five or more kills in 19 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 28 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 (402.5), Big 12-only points (295.5), hitting percentage (.368) and block solos (21). She is second in kills (3.48) and blocks (1.07). 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 12 of the last 15 matches... In that span, she has hit over .400 on 10 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 23, she ranks second with 19 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. n'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 540-462-11 (.539) in 1,012 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.