Wildcats Open Home Schedule

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Aug. 31, 2010

 

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State volleyball plays its first home match of the 2010 season on Wednesday when the Wildcats play host to the South Dakota Coyotes in Ahearn Field House at 7 p.m. The Wildcats will be looking to bounce back after dropping three matches to some of the nation's top teams at the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational to open the season in Hawaii. It will also be the first chance for fans to see the newly improved seating at the field house as K-State Athletics Director John Currie announced the completion of the renovations on Tuesday.

K-State is a perfect 9-0 in home openers under the direction of 10th-year head coach Suzie Fritz. Wednesday's match will be the start of a four-game homestand as the Wildcats prepare to host the annual Varney's Kansas State Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The four matches over four days following the trip back from Hawaii will help the Wildcats prepare for the grind of Big 12 Conference action beginning in two weeks.

Last season when K-State hosted South Dakota, the Wildcats got the best of the Coyotes in four sets winning 25-22, 25-15, 23-25, 25-14. Kristen Kritenbrink had a double-double for South Dakota with 10 kills and 14 digs. For the Wildcats, JuliAnne Chisholm pounded out 21 kills while hitting an impressive .463.

On The Airwaves
K-State's match against South Dakota can be heard on KMAN1350 with Brian Smoller calling the action. It can also be heard on the station's Web site www.kman1350.com. The pregame show starts 30 minutes prior to first serve.

Online
Live stats will be available through kstatesports.com for fans wanting to track the action live on the web. Live video streaming of the match will also be available through K-State's site with the radio call for audio.

The Series
This will be the third meeting between the Wildcats and Coyotes. K-State has won the previous two coming in 1983 and last season.

The Coaches
Kansas State: Suzie Fritz (Florida Atlantic '94) is in her 10th year as head coach of the Wildcats she is the winningest coach in the program's history in terms of wins (183) and is no far off of the best winning percentage in school history as well at .647.

South Dakota: Matt Houk (UW-Milwaukee `03) is in his third year heading the South Dakota Coyotes. He led the team to a 13-17 record last season and 6-6 in Great West Conference action. He has a career record of 36-21 all at South Dakota.

Scouting the Coyotes
South Dakota enters Wednesday nights contest after splitting matches against College of Charleston, Oakland, Chicago State and Northern Illinois in a tournament hosted by UNI. The Coyotes are a young team with just one senior and two juniors on the roster.

Senior outside hitter Kristen Kritenbrink leads the way again this season for the Coyotes and is averaging 2.64 kills per set at a .165 hitting clip. She is joined up front by Kim Bulaga, who is averaging 2.00 kills and hitting .244 as a sophomore for USD. Setter Tori Kroll has proven to be a contributor in multiple ways so far this season as she also provides nearly a kill a set offensively, second on the team in aces and averages 1.64 digs.

Catching up with the `Cats
The Wildcats opened their season at the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational as they faced three of the nation's top programs. K-State fell in three sets to No. 16 UCLA and then to host No. 5 Hawaii. On the final day of action K-State dropped to No. 22 San Diego in four sets.

The weekend was not without excitement as the Wildcats battled closely with the Rainbow Wahine throughout most of the match as the large crowd gave mutliple standing ovations following long rallies no matter which team scored the point. K-State saw a number of freshman receive extended playing time, three started every match as well.

Middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger highlighted the group of freshman as she was named to the All-Tournament Team. Dakota Kaufman and Courtney Traxson also made the starting rotation at outside hitter. Defensive specialist Tristan McCarty played a big role off the bench in the back row serving and passing in Kaufman's spot. McCarty tallied an ace and posted 13 digs over the three matches.

Killer Kaitlynn
Freshman middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger started her career strong and got better as the weekend of action continued at the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Classic. In her first action she posted five kills and two digs. She then put on a performance that would highlight her selection to the All-Tournament Team against host No. 5 Hawaii.

Pelger was a wall against the Rainbows stuffing attack after attack. She totaled 10 block assists, which ties for second in school history for a three-set match. She also posted four kills against Hawaii. Then, in the final match of the tournament against No. 22 San Diego, Pelger's offense came to form with 13 kills and a .329 hitting percentage. She also added a solo block, three more block assists, two digs and an ace.