Wildcats Set to Slow Surging Cyclones

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State volleyball looks to knock off a second ranked opponent on Saturday as the Wildcats play host to No. 8 Iowa State at 7 p.m. in Ahearn Field House. The Cyclones enter the contest off a 3-0 win at Texas A&M on Wednesday and holding a one-game lead over Nebraska for second place in the Big 12 Conference standings.

The match is part of the Ultimate Wildcat Weekend with K-State hosting six home events in four days in Manhattan. K-State's volleyball match will be the third event on Saturday alone as the Wildcats host Missouri in football at 11:30 a.m. and women's basketball takes on Indiana State at 5 p.m. Fan can get into the volleyball match for just $3 with their ticket stub to the football game.

In the first match between the two teams this season in Ames, the Cyclones defended their home court with a 3-0 win over the Wildcats. K-State struggled to find a rhythm on offense early in the match falling 25-15 in the first set but keeping it close in the next two 25-22, 25-23. That win sparked an 11-match winning streak for the Cyclones.

The Wildcats are looking to get back on the winning track after falling in straight sets at Kansas on Wednesday. The loss snapped a two-match winning streak in which K-State defeated its first ranked opponent in more than two years besting No. 23 Texas A&M 3-2.

On The Airwaves
K-State's match against Iowa State can be heard on KMAN1350 with Rob Voelker on the call. It can also be heard on the station's Web site www.kman1350.com.

Live audio and stats will be available through k-statesports.com for fans wanting to track the action live on the web. An audio only feed is through the Wildcat Audio Package.

Wildcat Camper Nights
Young Wildcat fans who attended Wildcat Volleyball Camp this summer can get into the three remaining home matches for free. Campers must give their names at the ticket window to get free entry. For more information on Wildcat Camper Nights please call 785-532-6911.

Familiar Faces
Saturday's match with the Iowa State Cyclones will pit the Wildcats against some long-time friends. Senior middle blocker Kelsey Chipman will see her high school teammate Kaylee Manns on the other side of the net. Manns is a senior for the Cyclones and leads the Big 12 in assists per set and is sixth in the nation.

On the bench one of K-State's greatest players will be looking for a win over her alma mater. Iowa State Assistant Coach Dawn (Cady) Sullivan is in her fifth year on staff with the Cyclones. Sullivan is one of five players in K-State history to tally 1,000 kills and digs for her career and was named AVCA All-America Second Team in 1999.

The Series
This is the 66th meeting between the Wildcats and Cyclones and K-State has a chance to even the series record. Iowa State took the edge in the last meeting with its 38th win. K-State has dominated the series in the Big 12 era; the Wildcats are 22-5 against the Cyclones with Iowa State winning five of the last seven.

The Wildcats began the Big 12 era with 20 straight wins over the Cyclones ending the longest losing streak against Iowa State at 14 matches. Head coach Suzie Fritz is 12-5 against Iowa State in her nine years leading the program.

The Coaches
Kansas State: Suzie Fritz (Florida Atlantic '94) is in her ninth year as head coach of the Wildcats she is the winningest coach in the program's history in terms of wins (181) and winning percentage (.658).

Iowa State: Christy Johnson-Lynch (Nebraska '96) has taken Iowa State to new heights in her four years with the program. The Cyclones have been the last three NCAA Tournaments and garnered their first-ever Top 25 ranking in 2007.

Scouting the Cyclones
The Cyclones have gone from bottom dweller in the Big 12 to contenders in a few short years under Johnson-Lynch. Iowa State has climbed into the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll in the last two years and made a run to the Regional Finals of the NCAA Tournament in 2008. Iowa State is currently ranked No. 8 being led by an experienced group of players as six of seven starters return from last year's squad.

Senior setter Kaylee Manns directs the offense to a .235 hitting percentage with the team averaging 14.59 kills a set. Manns leads the Big 12 in assists averaging 12.06. She also is second on the team in digs with 3.20 per set.

The Cyclones dig a number of balls with three players averaging more than three digs a set and a fourth coming just short averaging 2.96. Defending Big 12 Libero of the Year Ashley Mass leads the way with 5.43 digs a set. She recently set a Big 12 record for digs in a five-set match posting 42 in a win against Baylor. That mark lasted a week before being challenged by K-State's Lauren Mathewson when she posted 41 digs against Texas A&M to come just short of the tying the record.

With Manns holding down the defensive effort, the Cyclones are holding their opponents to a .148 hitting percentage and put together an 11-match winning streak during conference play. During that stretch, Iowa State Posted wins over a number of ranked teams: No. 22 Texas A&M, No. 5 Nebraska (Iowa State's first-ever win over NU), No. 22 Baylor and No. 2 Texas.

That winning streak ended at the hands of Nebraska in front of more than 10,000 volleyball fans at Hilton Coliseum in Ames. Iowa State rebounded with a win at Texas A&M on Wednesday in a tightly contested match 25-22, 25-22, 31-29.

- k-statesports.com -