Wildcats Open Homestand Against Coyotes

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats return home to take on the South Dakota Coyotes and begin a five-match homestand. K-State enters the contest after winning the BYU Nike Classic with three quality wins. The Wildcats hope to keep that momentum moving with them as they take on the Coyotes at 7 p.m. in Ahearn Field House. South Dakota and K-State have met just once previously in volleyball with the Wildcats getting the win in 1983.

Tuesday's match marks five straight for the Wildcats at home as they host the Varney's Kansas State Invitational this weekend and then open Big 12 Conference play against Oklahoma next Wednesday.

The match will be the final chance for season ticket holders to select their seats for reserved seating. Doors open early at 5:30 for season ticket holders to provide them an opportunity to select their reserved seats in select areas. Season tickets can still be purchased for $50 to see all the exciting action at Ahearn Field House.

The Series
This is just the second time the Wildcats and Coyotes have met on the court to play volleyball. K-State won the only previous meeting 2-0 in 1983 by the score of 15-5, 15-3.

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 (175) and winning percentage (.684).

South Dakota: Matt Houk (UW-Milwaukee '02) is in his second year leading the Coyotes. In his first season he took South Dakota to a 23-4 record and a runner-up finish at the National Transitional Tournament.

Scouting the Coyotes
South Dakota is coming off a solid 2008 season during the Coyotes' transition year into NCAA Division I volleyball. Last year, the Coyotes finished second at the National Transitional Tournament for teams making the transition to D-I volleyball.

The Coyotes are led by Kristin Kritenbrick with 3.35 kills per set and 1.59 digs. Kritenbrick had eight kills in South Dakota's last match - a win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi. The Coyotes opened the year 0-3 and have gone 3-1 since.

As a team, the Coyotes are hitting just .173 while opponents are hitting against them at a .243 clip. South Dakota has proven to be an aggressive team on the service line averaging 1.46 aces per set led by Jenna Hatfield with 12. Jillian Fields sures up the defense with 3.00 digs per set, and Tahnee Reed leads in blocks averaging 0.88 per set.

South Dakota has had to play two long matches already this season losing in five to Valparaiso and defeating Drake in five as well. The decisive fifth set was tightly contested in both matches with South Dakota beating Drake 15-11 and falling to Valpo 15-12.

Catching Up with the 'Cats
K-State enters a five match homestand on Tuesday after an impressive weekend at the BYU Nike Classic. The Wildcats won all three matches in Provo, Utah, to take home the championship trophy. K-State battled back and forth with host BYU on Saturday before building a large lead early in the fifth set to put the match out of reach for the Cougars.

The Wildcats placed three players on the all-tournament team to lead all teams competing at the event including the tournament MVP Kelsey Chipman.

K-State has won four straight matches now including last week's home opener against UMKC, and the Wildcats are looking to ride a wave of momentum from the BYU Nike Classic into the homestand that will include tonight's contest against South Dakota as well as the Varney's Kansas State Invitational with No. 17 Kentucky, Purdue and Portland and then Oklahoma next Wednesday to open Big 12 Conference play.

The solid play by the Wildcats in Utah helped pull them up in the statistical comparisons in the Big 12. K-State now ranks second in service aces averaging 1.48 per set. The Wildcats are fifth or sixth in nearly every other statistical category among Big 12 teams.

- k-statesports.com -