More Ranked Team to Face K-State

Caitlyn Donahue

Sept. 8, 2010

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MANHATTAN, Kan. -- The Wildcat volleyball team continues its strong nonconference schedule this weekend as Kansas State travels to participate in the UK Invitational hosted by the Kentucky Wildcats. The tournament will feature two of the nation's top teams in No. 16 Kentucky and No. 17 Florida State. Virginia Commonwealth rounds out the field as K-State prepares to open Big 12 Conference action next week.

The trip to Lexington comes after Kentucky traveled to Manhattan last season to play in the annual Varney's Kansas State Invitational and winning the tournament. Kentucky's home tournament boasts two NCAA Tournament teams as Kentucky reached the Regional Semifinals before being eliminated by Florida State. The Seminoles went on to lose to Minnesota in the Regional Finals.

K-State opens the tournament against Florida State at 11 a.m. Eastern on Friday from Memorial Coliseum before taking on VCU at 5 p.m. The tournament will close with a Wildcat showdown as K-State and Kentucky meet on the court at 5 p.m. Saturday.

On The Airwaves
K-State's matches this weekend can be heard on KMAN1350 with Brian Smoller calling the action. They can also be heard on the station's Web site www.1350kman.com. The pregame show starts 30 minutes prior to first serve. Friday night's match against VCU will be tape delayed due to other live coverage. Saturday's match will be tape delayed but will be live online at kstatesports.com and 1350kman.com.

Online
Live stats will be available through kstatesports.com and ukathletics.com for fans wanting to track the action live on the web. Live video when K-State takes on Kentucky will also be provided through ukathletics.com.

The Series
Friday morning will be the third meeting between the Wildcats and Seminoles. K-State has won both previous matches in sweeps. The first meeting was in 2003 at a tournament hosted by FSU. K-State also swept the Seminoles in 2005 at the Varney's Kansas State Invitational.

K-State's match against VCU will be the first time the two teams have tangled on the court.

Saturday night will be just the second time the two Wildcat squads have met. Kentucky won the first meeting last season at the Varney's Kansas State Invitational in four sets.

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 (187) and is not far off of the best winning percentage in school history as well at .652.

Florida State: Chris Poole (Arkansas Tech `83) is in his third year leading the Seminoles taking FSU to the Elite Eight in his second year. Last season, FSU went 31-3 and won the ACC title.

Kentucky: Craig Skinner (Ball State `93) leads Kentucky into his sixth year as a head coach after taking the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament each of his first five. The 2005 appearance was the team's first since 1993.

VCU: James Finely (Sul Ross State `83) is in his sixth year coaching the Rams. Last year he led VCU to the Colonial Athletic Association regular season title going 12-2 in conference play and ending the season 27-9 overall.

Scouting the Seminoles
The Seminoles have played a challenging nonconference schedule in 2010 playing host to New Mexico State before facing Oklahoma and Tennessee in a tournament hosted by Houston. Florida State fell 0-3 to No. 17 Tennessee and defeated NMSU 3-1 and Oklahoma 3-0 while those two teams were receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Poll.

Florida State returns six starters from last year's Elite Eight team losing only the starting libero. That experience has helped the Seminoles jump out to a 5-1 record this season and hold steady in the polls at No. 16. Florida State also boasts a strong international influence on its roster with a total of eight players from outside the United States. Visnja Djurdjevic hails from Serbia and leads the team with 3.70 kills per set and is hitting .372 for the year.

Scouting the Wildcats
Kentucky opened the season at No. 14 in the AVCA Coaches Preseason Poll and have dropped slightly after taking losses to some of the nation's top teams with a difficult nonconference schedule. The Wildcats opened the year at the prestigious Runza/AVCA Showcase against Nebraska and Iowa State with two losses.

The Wildcats return four starters from last year's team after losing their libero and All-American setter Sarah Rumely.  This year's squad is led by Whitney Billings with 3.11 kills a set. Three more players average more than two kills a set. Kentucky has already played a number of long matches this season with three of the Wildcats' seven contests going the distance. The Wildcats are 2-1 in five-set matches this season recently falling at Cincinnati.

Scouting the Rams
The Rams also have a challenging nonconference schedule this season after VCU opened at a tournament hosted by Ohio where the Rams took on three teams that were at least receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Preseason Poll. Ohio and Ohio State both were NCAA Tournament teams in 2009 and received votes in the first poll. Dayton opened the season at No. 21 to give VCU three straight NCAA Tournament teams to start its campaign. VCU then traveled to Penn State last weekend to take on Colgate, Seton Hall and three-time defending NCAA champion Penn State.

VCU is led by Mariel Frey on offense with 3.04 kills a set, and Kristin Boyd adds 2.09. Frey is also second on the team in digs averaging 1.92 per set while Marisa Low leads with 3.46. The Rams are hitting .145 as a team while opponents are hitting .282 against them