Wildcats Travel to Battle Bears

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats travel to take on the No. 24 Baylor Bears this weekend in their first Big 12 Conference road match of the season. K-State is looking to rebound from a home loss to Oklahoma on Wednesday while Baylor is coming off its first loss of the season to No. 2 Texas with first serve set for 1 p.m. from the Ferrell Center.

Baylor will be the fourth ranked opponent K-State has played this season as the Bears cracked the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll this week at No. 24. It marks the first ranking for Baylor since 2001 - which is also the last time the Bears went to the NCAA Tournament.

The last time these two teams met it was a barn burner in Waco, Texas, as K-State battled back from two sets down to force a final fifth set. Baylor edged the Wildcats in the first set 26-24 and again in the second 25-20. K-State rolled in the third set hitting .619 compared to Baylor's .050 to win 25-13. The fourth set was more of the same with Baylor hitting for a negative percentage en route to a 25-17 win for K-State.

The fifth set was an up-and-down ride with 12 ties and nine lead changes alone in the set. Baylor was able to fight off the first match point of the night when K-State led 14-13 with an attack error by Rita Liliom. K-State missed on its next match point opportunity, but the Wildcats would perform its own fight out of the corner facing three match points for the Bears.

The match would finally end with three straight points by K-State trailing 19-18 when a service error by Anna Breyfogle put the Wildcats in the driver's seat. Katie Sanders had back-to-back errors for Baylor sealing the comeback for K-State and spark a run for the Wildcats winning eight of their next 10 matches.

On The Airwaves
K-State's match against Baylor can be heard on 1350 KMAN with Brian Smoller calling the action. This broadcast will also be available on the station's Web site www.1350kman.com.

Live stats will be available through k-statesports.com and baylorbears.com for fans wanting to track the action live on the web.

The Series
This is the 28th meeting between the Wildcats and Bears with K-State holding a 21-6 advantage. The two teams had met just once before the inception of the Big 12 with Baylor getting the 3-0 win in 1993. K-State has dominated the series since and lost back-to-back matches to the Bears just once.

A win on Saturday would be the sixth straight for K-State over Baylor and tie the longest winning streak over the Bears the Wildcats have. Head coach Suzie Fritz is 14-2 against Baylor with losses coming in 2003 and 2006.

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 (177) and winning percentage (.681).

Baylor: Jim Barnes (McNeese State '94) is in his sixth season at the helm at Baylor with a 88-82 record in that time. He has led the Bears to their first AVCA Top 25 ranking in eight years as they are currently No. 24 in the nation.

Scouting the Bears
The Baylor Bears are ranked for the first time since the 2001 season as they cracked the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll this week at No. 24. The 2001 season also is the last time Baylor reached the NCAA Tournament.

Baylor is currently 11-1 after dropping its Big 12 Conference opener to No. 2 Texas on Wednesday night in Austin. The Bears went undefeated in nonconference play with eight 3-0 wins. Baylor defeated the Purdue Boilermakers in five sets when Purdue visited the Bears for their home tournament.

Offensively the Bears are led by Katie Sanders with 3.24 kills per set and Anna Breyfogle with a .395 hitting percentage. The pair combines for 42-percent of Baylor's kill production. Ashlie Christenson is another main weapon of setter Taylor Barnes averaging 2.78 kills. Barnes dishes out 10.02 assists per set and is one of the top servers in the Big 12 with 17 aces. Barnes is a four-year starter for the Bears and has led the conference in aces her first three years.

Baylor has proven to be an efficient attacking team with a team hitting percentage of .270 which ranks third among Big 12 teams and 18th in the nation.

- k-statesports.com -