K-State Battles Top Teams in Hawaii

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The 25th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats will look to remain perfect on the season as they take on some of the nation’s top teams at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic starting on Friday, Aug. 31st. The Cats will first face the tournament host, No. 16 Hawaii, with the opening round at 12 a.m. Central Time. K-State will battle with Louisville, who is receiving votes, on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m. CT. and complete the tournament with a match-up against No. 5 UCLA on Sunday.

K-State will be looking for the first win in the series against both Hawaii and UCLA, while it hopes to remain undefeated in the Louisville series.

Action from the matches can be found on 1350 KMAN live except for the Louisville which will immediately follow the football broadcast. For live stats, visit http://www.hawaiiathletics.com/. A complete recap of events will be posted online at http://www.kstatesports.com/ at the conclusion of each match.

Rewind: Home Opener
After starting the 2007 season with a 3-0 record and a tournament title at the Best Western Shocker Volleyball Classic, Kansas State hosted its first home contest as the Cats welcomed the Houston Cougars to Ahearn Field House on Tuesday, Aug. 28th. Competing for the first time since receiving their 25th-ranking, the Cats were looking to remain undefeated and quickly pulled ahead 2-0 in the match.

The Cougars fought to deny the Cats of the sweep as they were ahead much of the third game, which featured five lead changes. K-State took control towards the end to capture the win and move to 4-0. KSU won in games of 30-18, 30-16, 30-23.

K-State had a number of contributers, including kill-leader Rita Liliom, who put down 11 kills on 23 attempts for .391 hitting. Kelsey Chipman, Jenny Jantsch and Nataly Korobkova each added eight kills on .300 hitting or better. Chipman and Jantsch combined for five of the team’s 12 service aces, with Stacey Speigelberg and Angie Lastra each adding three.

Lastra contributed 18 digs to the Cats’ defense. The number brought Lastra’s career total digs to 1,530, making her the all-time leader in school history. She also moved to within four of fifth-place for service aces in a career.

Cats on the Islands
Kansas State will be making the trip to a Hawaii-hosted tournament for the fourth year with the first dating back to the 1997 season. The Cats have a record of 3-5 (.375) while competing in Hawaii. In the 1997 tournament, K-State went 2-1 and finished 1-2 in 2001 and 2003.

K-State will be looking for its first win against a ranked opponent at the tournament, as well as a first victory over Hawaii.

Cats in Hawaii
8/29/97 Illinois State W, 3-1
8/30/97 San Francisco W, 3-0
8/31/97 No. 11 Hawaii L, 3-0
8/31/01 No. 5 Hawaii L, 3-2
9/1/01 No. 7 UCLA L, 3-1
9/2/01 Michigan W, 3-0
8/22/03 Hawaii L, 3-0
8/23/03 Florida L, 3-1

Return to the Polls
After defeating one ranked squad and another that received votes in the preseason polls, Kansas State returned to the rankings after the first week of action, debuting at No. 25 on the CSTV/AVCA Coaches Poll. The Wildcats received 148 votes to return to the poll for the first time since Sept. 13, 2006 when K-State was ranked 24th.

Scouting Report: Hawaii
No. 16 Hawaii finds itself in unfamiliar territory at the beginning of this season with a 1-2 record and two losses to unranked teams. The Rainbow Wahine opened the season with a loss to Michigan, 2-3, in front of a home crowd of 7,343. They returned to the court the following day to defeat Colorado State 3-2. In the final match of the tournament, Hawaii again fell in surprise to Oregon State in a sweep.

Having a preseason ranking of No. 10, Hawaii fell to 16th after the opening weekend losses.

Leading in kills for the Rainbow Wahine is Jamie Houston, who has knocked down 40 to average 4.00 per game. Stephanie Brandt leads in assists with 136 (11.33 apg). Defensive leaders include Tara Hittle with 40 digs (3.08 dpg) and Juliana Sanders and Kari Gregory with 12 blocks (0.92 bpg).

Scouting Report: Louisville
Louisville enters with an undefeated record, as the Cardinals have won against Memphis, Coastal Carolina and Tennessee Tech, all coming from their home tournament opening weekend.

Statistical leaders include Jana Matiasovska with 46 kills (4.18 kpg) and nine service aces (0.82 sapg) and Samantha Dabbs in assists with 83 (9.22 apg). Defensive leaders are Lindsey Mango in digs with 46 (4.18 dpg) and Lecia Brown in blocks, having put back 21 (1.19 bpg).

Scouting Report: UCLA
The UCLA Bruins enter the Hawaiin Airlines Wahine Classic with a 1-1 record and a No. 5 ranking. UCLA finished the AVCA Showcase the first weekend having swept then No. 21 Utah and losing to No. 1 Nebraska in four.

Leading the Bruins in assists is All-American Nellie Spicer, who is averaging 13.00 assists per game, along with 4.14 digs and 1.00 blocks. Ali Daley is leading in kills with 30 and a 4.29 average.