Wildcats Eye First Big 12 Win

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats return home to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Wednesday night seeking their first win in Big 12 Conference play. The Wildcats open league action last week with losses to Oklahoma at home and on the road to No. 24 Baylor.

The Wildcats are 0-2 to begin Big 12 play for just the third time. In 1997, K-State lost its first two conference matches and responded with a win against Kansas. During the 2006 season, the Wildcats struggled to an 0-9 opening in Big 12 action before getting off the snide against the Red Raiders.

Both teams will be looking for their first win in conference play as Texas Tech has fallen victim to Nebraska and Texas A&M to open league action. The Red Raiders were swept by both and battled the Cornhuskers to a tight 25-23 second set in Lincoln.

Texas Tech is looking to snap a 41-match losing streak in conference play as the Red Raiders have struggled in Big 12 action the last two seasons after going 0-20 last year and 1-19 in 2007.  In 2007, Tech won its first conference match and ended the year with 19 straight losses.

The Red Raiders have a new coach in 2009 in Trish Kissiar-Knight who brings a strong junior college resume with her to the Tec program. Knight built Missouri State West Plains into a top contender on the juco level during her time there with a .798 winning percentage.

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

Online
Live stats will be available through k-statesports.com for fans wanting to track the action live on the web. A live webcast is also available through the Powercat Passport subscription service on the site.

The Series
This is the 29th meeting between the Wildcats and Red Raiders with K-State holding a 20-8 advantage. The two teams had met four times before the creation of the Big 12 Conference splitting those matches.

In Big 12 action, K-State is 18-6 against Tech and has won eight straight after last falling at home to the Raiders in 2004. That loss snapped a six-match winning streak against Tech after previously losing in 2001 on the road. The win by Tech at Ahearn in 2004 is the only time the Raiders have defeated the Wildcats on their home floor as K-State is 12-1 against Tech at home.

The shorter the match against Tech the better it is for K-State as the Wildcats have never been swept by the Red Raiders. K-State is 10-0 against Tech in three-set matches while holding a 6-3 record in four sets and 4-4 in five.

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 (.676).

Texas Tech: Trish Kissiar-Knight (Southwest Missouri State '80) takes over the Texas Tech program this year after a successsful career at the juco level. Knight had a 676-170-3 record at Missouri State West Plains.

Scouting the Red Raiders
The Red Raiders are 2-9 on the season and 0-2 in Big 12 Conference play while being led by sophomore middle blocker Amanda Dowdy. Dowdy leads the team in kills per set at 3.28 while hitting .134. Dowdy also digs nearly two balls per set and leads the team with 16 service aces. Dowdy also participated for the ranked Texas Tech track and field team in the high jump finishing fifth at the indoor conference championship and sixth during outdoor.

Newcomer Barbara Conceicao has made an impact on the team leading in blocks and hitting percentage among regular players. Conceicao is hitting .269 and blocking 1.44 balls. She transferred to Tech from Iowa Western Community College.

The Red Raiders are a solid blocking team averaging 2.42 per set and rank fourth in the conference. Tech struggles, however, when not blocking opponent attacks as the Raiders rank last in the conference in digs per set at 10.72. Tech's opponents are hitting .263 -- the highest in the conference -- as well.

Catching Up with the 'Cats
K-State is 0-2 in Big 12 play for just the third time in history of the league and looking to get back on the right track against a team they have only lost to once at home in Texas Tech.

The Wildcats had a battle with inconsistency at No. 24 Baylor on Saturday losing in four sets. K-State fell 25-10 in the opening set after falling behind 10-3 and responded with a 25-20 win in the second set hitting .256. Baylor answered back with a dominating 25-13 win in the second set and the Wildcats held the advantage in the fourth set 22-21 but stumbled allowing Baylor to win four straight points and win the match.

In their Big 12 opener, the Wildcats lost in four sets to Oklahoma with the Sooners holding K-State to a .098 hitting percentage. The match was highlighted by strong defensive play on both sides of the net as Oklahoma tallied an amazing 101 digs to K-State's 93.

- k-statesports.com -