Wildcats Ready to Wrangle Red Raiders

Dakota Kaufman

Sept. 17, 2010

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State looks to open Big 12 Conference play with back-to-back wins as the Wildcats travel to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders at noon on Saturday. K-State hopes to ride the momentum gained from its win over in-state rival Kansas on Wednesday night into the match in Lubbock.

K-State has been steadily improving throughout the season thanks to a challenging nonconference schedule that saw the Wildcats take on five ranked opponents and six NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago. The Wildcats pushed No. 16 Kentucky and No. 17 Florida State to five sets each.

The Wildcats opened Big 12 play with a commanding 3-1 win over KU complete with a come-from-behind rally in the fourth set to energize the crowd and roll into Lubbock with a win over a quality opponent. During the trip to Lubbock, K-State will hope to keep its recent success against the Red Raiders going with the Wildcats winning 10 straight over Tech and holding a 22-6 record in the Big 12 era overall.

Saturday’s match is a chance for the Wildcats to start conference action with back-to-back wins for the fifth time in the Suzie Fritz era. The last time K-State won its first two conference matches was 2007 when the Wildcats swept Kansas and Baylor to open the campaign.

On The Airwaves
Saturday’s match will be tape delayed on KMAN 1350 due to coverage of K-State football but can be heard live online at kstatesports.com and 1350kman.com with Brian Smoller on the call.

Online
Live stats will be available through kstatesports.com for fans wanting to track the action live on the web. Live audio of KMAN’s broadcast will also be provided through kstatesports.com. Live video will also be available through texastech.com.

The Series
Kansas State has controlled the series with Texas Tech winning 24 of the 32 meetings between the Wildcats and Red Raiders. Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference, K-State is 22-6 against Tech with the last win by the Red Raiders coming in 2004 in Manhattan in five sets. Head coach Suzie Fritz has lost just twice to Texas Tech.

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 (189) and is not far off of the best winning percentage in school history as well at .649.

Texas Tech: Trish Knight (Southwest Missouri State ‘80)) is in her second year coaching the Red Raiders. Before taking over in Lubbock, Knight saw great success on the junior college level at Missouri State-West Plains where she took her team to 10 straight NJCAA National Volleyball Championship Tournaments.

Scouting the Red Raiders
Texas Tech has a new look this year with a number of newcomers to the roster. Five freshman and two transfers round out the recruiting class for the Red Raiders to go with some returning experience at the middle blocker positions.

Junior middle/outside hitter Amanda Dowdy leads the Red Raiders again in 2010 after being the go-to player a year ago. Dowdy currently is pounding out 3.65 kills per set while adding 2.06 digs a set to help out on defense. No other player on Tech’s roster is averaging more than 2.00 kills a set, and Dowdy has more than 200 more attempts than any other player as the Raiders rely heavily on her for production. Dowdy also is one of only two players to play in every set this season for Tech.

Barbara Conceicao is another experienced player for Tech at the middle blocker position. This season Conceicao is leading the Raiders in hitting percentage at .281 and is a force at the net stuffing 1.21 blocks a set. The Red Raiders are one of the top blocking teams in the conference early in the season averaging 2.44 to stand in fourth.

In their last match, freshman setter Brandy Huskey led the Red Raiders in assists with 32 in a 3-0 loss to Missouri and posted a double-double with 11 digs seeing her first significant time at setter since Tech’s opening weekend. Karlyn Meyers has been Tech’s primary setter this season averaging 8.57 assists per set.

Tech is looking for its first Big 12 Conference win in more than three years. The last time the Raiders won a conference match was their Big 12 opener in 2007 - a streak of 60 matches.