Wildcats Return Home to Face Roadrunners

The Kansas State Wildcats return home after playing their first seven matches of the season on the road. Kansas State will play host to Cal State Bakersfield to open a six-match home stretch before traveling to Texas A&M on September 24.

The Wildcats have not lost a home opener since falling to Toledo to begin the 1992 season. Kansas State has lost just three home openers dating back to the 1977 season posting a 28-3 (.903) record. Head coach Suzie Fritz has won all seven of her home openers since taking the reins of the program in 2001.

K-State is 56-3 at home against teams outside the Big 12 Conference since 1994. Only one of those losses came in the regular season when K-State fell to No. 5 Minnesota in 2005 during the Varney’s Kansas State Invitational. K-State is 173-27-4 (.848) in 33 years of non-conference volleyball in Ahearn Field House. Head coach Suzie Fritz is 28-3 (.903) against nonconference opponents in Ahearn Field House.

After opening the year on the road for two tournaments at Purdue and Portland, the Wildcats have posted a 6-1 record with their only loss coming at the hands of then-ranked No. 25 Purdue. The Boilermakers bested K-State in four sets.

The Wildcats are again among the top teams in the Big 12 ranking second in kills per set and third in team hitting percentage. K-State also leads the conference in assists per set. Individually a number of Wildcats rank among the top of the competition with Rita Liliom leading the Big 12 in kills per set at 4.35. Nataly Korobkova joins her in the top 10 tied for seventh. Kelsey Chipman (3rd) and Megan Farr (7th) are among the top hitting percentages in the league. Farr is also tied for third in blocks per set at 1.50.

The Series
This is the first-ever meeting between the Wildcats and Roadrunners.

The Coaches
Kansas State: Suzie Fritz (Florida Atlantic 94) enters her eighth season leading the Wildcats. She holds the highest winning percentage in school history and is 20 wins shy of taking the top spot at K-State. Her next win will be No. 150.

Cal State Bakersfield: John Prince (Cal State Northridge 83) has led the Roadrunners to a 3-4 record to start the season and is 203-110 during his 11 years at Cal State Bakersfield. He is 215-117 for his career.

On the Airwaves
Tonight’s contest between the Wildcats and Roadrunners will be broadcast on 1350 KMAN with Brian Smoller calling the action. KMAN’s Rob Voelker will assist with color commentary.

The match will also be webcast and fans can catch the action by logging into the Powercat Passport at www.k-statesports.com. Fans can also sign up for the service on the site and monthly packages are available.

SCOUTING THE Roadrunners
Cal State Bakersfield comes to the Little Apple after finishing second at the Schocker Classic hosted by Wichita State this weekend. The Roadrunners swept Idaho State to open the tournament and followed it with a 3-1 win over Lamar. Ohio State bested the Runners in four sets, and Cal State Bakersfield ended the tournament with a four-set win over Coastal Carolina.

CSUB is led by Rosemary Stribling who paces the team in kills and blocks. Stribling is averaging 3.33 kills per set and 0.63 blocks per set. Setter Barbie Thistle is averaging 10.93 assists per set while adding 1.85 digs to rank fourth on the team. She also contributes 1.11 kills per set for the Roadrunners. Mystie McNaughton leads the team defensive with 5.93 dps.

The Runners have proven to be tough servers averaging 2.0 aces per set with 24 more aces than their opponents through seven matches. CSUB is nearly even with its opponents attacking at a .202 clip while opponents are hitting .201. The Runnners opened the season with three losses at a tournament hosted by Fresno State.

Against Coastal Carolina, the Runners showed they have a number of weapons with three players reaching double digits in kills. Stribling, Sarah Warner and Lindy DeGeare all made the mark.

Catching Up with the 'Cats
The Wildcats return after winning the Nike Portland Invitational with a perfect 4-0 record. The team marked its highest total for kills in a match this season with 69 against UC Irvine in four sets. It is also the highest kill total in the Big 12 so far. K-State’s 67 assist in the match also are a conference high this year.

K-State place three players on the all-tournament team at Portland, including MVP Nataly Korobkova. She averaged 3.5 kps during the tournament including a 17-kill performance against UC Irvine to open the event. She hit .333 for the weekend and also was a force at the net with 14 total blocks. She had a season-high seven block assists in a 3-0 win over host Portland and hit .444 against the Pilots. It was Korobkova’s second all-tournament team this season after being selected to the Mortar Board Premier team at Purdue.

Rita Liliom continued her fast start to the 2008 season with her second all-tournament recognition. She averaged 4.85 kps for the weekend including a season-high 22 against UC Irvine. Liliom hit for a .258 clip. Against Portland she struggled with a number of errors but came in late in the match to close the door with five kills on five swings. In the closing stretch she pulled her hitting percentage from negative numbers up to .304.

Kelsey Chipman also earned all-tournament from the coaches at the Nike Portland Invitational. The junior middle blocker was perfect for the weekend without a single hitting error. Chipman had 35 kills on the weekend and hit an outstanding .515 over the four-match stretch. She also contributed heavily at the net with 18 total blocks, including two solo stuffs. Chipman also had three aces, two of which came in a late stretch against South Florida to help seal the win.

Against the Anteaters of UC Irvine, the Wildcats dropped the first set only to ride a wave of momentum on the heels of libero Lauren Mathewson. The sophomore helped spark an 11-0 run to close the second set and take command of the match. The Cats won 10 straight points with Mathewson at serve with her knotching three aces in the run, including one right on the back line for the final point.

The Wildcats again went on a point streak against Arizona State as the team trailed 15-10 at one point in the second set. K-State pulled off five consecutive points and extended the rally to 15-5 to close the set against the Sun Devils.

In a sweep over the host Portland Pilots, the Wildcats held Portland to just a .083 hitting percentage as a team while the Cats hit .318. Liliom led the way with 11 kills in the match as Portland did not have any players reach double digits.

Fritz Gets No. 150
In the first match of the Portland Invitational, head coach Suzie Fritz got her 150th career win. The milestone victory put her just 18 behind the all-time mark at K-State. She is the second winningest coach in school history and has the highest winning percentage of any K-State volleyball coach.