Notes: K-State Opens Big 12 Slate with Sunflower Showdown at No. 15 KU

MATCH PREVIEW
SEPT 23, 6:30 PM

Horejsi Family Athletics Center
Lawrence, KS

NR
K-STATE
WILDCATS
8-4 (0-0 Big 12)

15
KU
JAYHAWKS
12-0 (0-0 Big 12)

ESPN3/Cox Channel Kansas/TWCSC
1350 KMAN

AT A GLANCE
Finishing out its non-conference schedule with an 8-4 record, K-State will now gear up for its 16-match Big 12 schedule as the Wildcats open up at No. 15 KU on Wednesday, September 23 at 6:30 p.m. in Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
The Wildcats enter the contest stuck in a three-match losing streak while the Jayhawks are undefeated on the year (12-0).
Prior to the losing stretch, the Wildcats had won six straight, four of which were sweeps.
The Wildcats are opening up their non-conference schedule at KU for the first time since 2007 (W, 3-0).
In 2010, K-State hosted the Jayhawks for its Big 12 opener (W, 3-1).

SUNFLOWER SHOWDOWN
Wednesday will be the 111th all-time meeting between K-State and KU, with the first meeting taking place in 1974.
The Wildcats hold the lead in the series, 63-46-1 (.577).
Since 2012, though, K-State has lost five of the last six contests.
Last season, the Wildcats split the season series, with K-State beating KU in five sets in Lawrence on Oct. 1 and then losing in three in Manhattan on Nov. 12.
The Wildcats are 29-13 (.690) all-time in Lawrence, and 10-4 under head coach Suzie Fritz.
Each of K-State’s last eight wins in the series have been in four or more sets, including three five-setters.
Since 2006, only six of the matchups, out of 18, have been decided in straight sets.
This Wednesday will also be the first time K-State has faced KU when the Jayhawks were ranked since November 16, 2013 (L, 3-1).
The Wildcats are 0-3 all-time against a ranked KU.

OFFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT
K-State finished out its non-conference schedule with at least eight wins for the fifth straight season, helped by an improved offense.
In regular season non-conference action, K-State is averaging 14.62 kills/set on a .267 hitting percentage, up from last year’s marks of 13.84 and .258.
The Wildcats’ kills/set is their highest in regular season non-conference action since 2007 when they averaged 16.09 kills/set (563 kills, 35 sets).
The hitting efficiency is K-State’s best since 2012 (.275).

ALL AROUND
Brooke Sassin enters the KU matchup with a streak of six consecutive double-doubles, giving her a Big 12-best nine this season.
The junior, who has 10 career double-doubles, has the most double-doubles in a season by a Wildcat outside hitter since Rita Liliom had 11 in 2008.
Sassin is pacing the Wildcats in kills with 176 while she is third on the team in digs with 141.
In the Big 12, Sassin is fourth in kills/set (3.74) and 11th in digs/set (3.00).

20-20
Katie Brand has eight double-doubles this season, which are second-most on the team and in the Big 12.
Of her eight double-doubles, two are 20-20 double-doubles, making her the first Wildcat with multiple 20-20 double-doubles in a campaign since 1999.
In 1999, Dawn Cady (6) and Liz Wegner (3) each had multiple 20-20 double-doubles.
Brand notched her most recent 20-20 double-double on September 20 at Creighton, totaling 57 assists and 24 digs.
The 24 digs matched her career-high.
Brand’s first 20-20 double-double was on August 29 vs. Illinois State when she had 56 assists and 24 digs.
Brand is the only player in the Big 12 to rank in the conference’s top-10 in both assists (3rd) and digs (9th) per set.
Brand is the only Wildcat in the rally-scoring era (since 2001) to have even one 20-20 double-double.
Brand’s 39 career double-doubles are the sixth-most in school history.

DOUBLE-DOUBLES
Sophomore Bryna Vogel trails Sassin and Brand for the Big 12 lead in double-doubles as she has six this season.
With the help of Brand, Sassin, Vogel and Katie Reininger (1), K-State has tabulated 24 double-doubles this year - while the rest of the Big 12 has 41 among 23 different players.
Last season, K-State had 27 double-doubles, including 20 by Brand.

BLOCK IT UP
Katie Reininger is coming off her second career 10+ block match as the redshirt junior had a season-high 10 stuffs (1 solo, 9 assists) at Creighton on September 20.
The middle blocker, who had a career-high 13 blocks on September 19, 2014 at Michigan, is now in K-State’s all-time top-10 for career matches with double-digit blocks (T-7th).
Reininger is 7th in the Big 12 this season with a team-best 1.15 blocks/set.
She has 5 or more blocks in three of the last four contests and five total matches this year.

DIGGIN’ IT
The back row defense for the Wildcats has proven crucial as K-State is first in the Big 12 in digs/set (16.57).
K-State is the only school entering the week with three players in the Big 12’s top-11 in digs/set.
Kersten Kober (5th in the Big 12) leads the way with 3.98 digs/set, followed by Katie Brand (9th) and Brooke Sassin (11th).
Outside hitter Bryna Vogel is not far behind as she is averaging 2.91 digs/set.
Last season, K-State averaged 14.84 digs/set, including 15.6 digs/set in non-conference action.

20 AND UP
Kersten Kober, the team leader in digs, registered two 20-dig efforts this past weekend, bringing her season and career total to three and six, respectively.
The junior is now tied for eighth in school history with six career 20-dig matches.
Over the last three contests, Kober is averaging 4.29 digs/set.
Kober has amassed 816 digs so far in her career, which are the ninth-most in program history during the rally-scoring era.

BALANCED ATTACK
The K-State offense is balanced mostly across four attackers, as the Wildcats are the only team in the Big 12 with four different players averaging 2.6 or more kills per set.
Brooke Sassin (3.74 kills/set), Alyssa Schultejans (2.77), Bryna Vogel (2.70), and Katie Reininger (2.66) make up the quartet, combining for 80% of the team’s kills (550/687).
The Wildcats are also the only Big 12 team with four attackers totaling 120 or more kills at this point in the season.
KU is the next closest team as it has three attackers with 120 or more kills.
K-State (14.62) trails KU (15.46) for the top spot among Big 12 teams in kills/set.
K-State is ninth in the country in kills/set and 27th in hitting efficiency (.267).

ACE IS THE PLACE
A pair of Wildcats are featured in the Big 12’s top-10 for aces/set as Alyssa Schultejans (5th, 0.30) and Mattie Batchelder (6th, 0.29) have combined for 20 of K-State’s 53 aces this season.
Schultejans leads the team with 13 aces as well as four matches this season with two or more.
Batchelder has three aces over the last two matches, helping her total seven on the season.
Batchelder did not record any aces as a redshirt freshman in 2014.
As a team, K-State is sixth in the Big 12 with 1.13 aces/set.

BIG 12 OPENERS
In the Big 12 era (since 1996), K-State is 10-9 in conference openers.
The Wildcats have lost three straight Big 12 openers, with their last win occurring in 2011 vs. Baylor (3-0).
In conference road openers, K-State is 12-7 in the Big 12 era.
The Wildcats have won three of their last five Big 12 road openers.