Cats, Tigers Meet in Midweek Match

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State’s conference season continues when the 18th-ranked Wildcats take on the Missouri Tigers (7-5; 0-3 Big 12) on Wed., Sept. 26th, from Ahearn Field House. The K-State squad (11-3, 3-1 Big 12) will return to its home court after rallying to a victory in Boulder, Colo., over the Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday. Missouri’s Saturday match ended in a 3-2 loss at Iowa State by scores of 30-27, 24-30, 26-30, 30-26, 14-16.

The Wildcats will be looking to deny the Tigers of their first conference win after losses to Texas, Kansas and Iowa State. The first serve of the KSU/MU match is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, which features the Buck-a-Brat promotion.

Kansas State Pre-Match Report
Kansas State enjoyed a road victory at Colorado on Saturday, marking the first win in Boulder since 2003. The win in scores of 30-24, 24-30, 27-30, 30-27, 15-12 improved the Cats’ record to 11-3 overall and 3-1 in the Big 12. Despite having their lowest hitting since the fifth match of the year (at Hawaii), the Wildcats united to win 3-2 after being down 2-1.

K-State finished with .197 hitting on 72 kills, 34 errors and 193 attempts, while CU had .297 with 72 kills and 32 errors on 176 attempts. It was the third time in the 2007 season that the Wildcats were outhit by their opponent (Cal Poly, UCLA). The KSU attack had four members with double-digit kills, including Rita Liliom with a team-high 18 kills. The junior added two service aces and a trio of blocks for the Cats. With her second career double-double Kelsey Chipman had 16 kills on .394 hitting and 11 blocks (one solo, 10 assisted). Megan Farr also finished with .394 hitting after she tallied 15 kills and two errors on 33 attempts. The product of Manhattan, Kan., added eight blocks (one solo, seven assisted). Nataly Korobkova had her third double-double with 12 kills and a career-high 10 blocks.

Stacey Spiegelberg finished with a season-high 62 assists. She also continued a streak of aces with one on the night. Angie Lastra led in digs with 20, while Lauren Rosenthal recorded a season-high 12.

Korobkova and Liliom, who have led the Cats individually in kills through 10 matches, lead the team in the category. Korobkova has 193 on the year with a 4.11 kill per game average. Liliom, who averaged 2.53 kpg in the first four matches, is now up to an average of 3.61 with 184 kills. She has dominated from the left side for the Cats in the last seven matches with 92 kills (Korobkova has 77) on a 3.68 average.

K-State’s middle blockers sit with the highest hitting percentage of any position, as Chipman and Farr have a combined hitting clip of 255 kills and 59 errors on 561 attempts for .349 hitting. On the season, Farr has hit .393 with 125 kills (2.45 kpg) and Chipman is at 130 kills (2.55 kpg) on .311 hitting. In conference play only, the pair have 91 combined kills (Farr 47, Chipman 44) with .383 hitting. Farr is .452 in Big 12 matches, while Chipman is at .320. Farr has 82 season blocks (1.61 bpg) and Chipman is sitting with 74 (five solo, 69 assisted) to average 1.45 per game.

Stacey Spiegelberg remains atop two categories for the Cats, including leading the conference in service aces per game with 0.53. The Overland Park, Kan., native has 662 assists (12.98 apg) and 27 aces. Leading digs is senior Angie Lastra, who has notched 208 to average 4.08 on the year.

At Stake
Kansas State is ranked 18th, a two-place drop from the previous polls... K-State experienced its first loss since Sept. 2nd against No. 5 UCLA when OU won 3-2 last Wednesday... Prior to OU loss, team won five-consecutive matches with each coming in three games... The Wildcats have hit over .250 six of the last seven matches and nine times this season... K-State’s ace streak continues and sits at 269 straight matches of at least one service ace... Kansas State is 8-2 against Mizzou in the last 10 meeting in Ahearn Field House... Missouri’s two wins came in the last two years... The Wildcats’ last victory in Ahearn versus MU was November 2004... The Cats have held their last seven opponents under .250 hitting... One more win for the Cats will equal total overall and conference wins from the 2006 season.

Scouting Report: Missouri
With what started out as a 7-2 season, the Missouri Tigers stumbled to begin the conference slate and now sit at 7-5 on the season with a three-match losing streak. After being swept by Texas in the Big 12 opener, Missouri has lost its last two match against Kansas and Iowa State in five games, marking their third and fourth five-game loss this season.

The Tigers have faced two common opponents with the Wildcats: Houston and Kansas. Mizzou defeated Houston by a score of 3-1 (29-31, 30-22, 30-15, 30-21), while Kansas State swept the Cougars 3-0 (30-18, 30-16, 30-23). The Wildcats also finished the Jayhawks in three by scores of 30-20, 30-21, 30-25, but MU failed to secure the win against rival KU after a 2-1 advantage. The Tigers lost in five in sets of 23-30, 30-26, 30-20, 28-30, 7-15.

Leading all  Tiger attackers is Na Yang with 202 kills to average 4.21 per game with hitting at .267 percent. The senior outside hitter has registered 51 kills through 13 conference games (3.92 kpg). Sophomore Julianna Klein has the highest average of any MU member with 4.44 kills per game but sits at third in overall number of kills with 120 after missing action in Big 12 play with injury.

Setter Lei Wang has 538 assists (11.21 apg) overall and has a lower average through 13 Big 12 games at 8.85 with 115 total. Luiza Jarocka has seen increased playing time during Big 12 play with action in eight games where she has tallied 23 assists (2.88 apg).

Three Tigers hit triple-digits in digs with Tatum Ailes leading the way with 233 total. The senior libero is averaging 4.85 per game to lead the conference. Through three Big 12 matches, she has 52 digs (4.00 dpg) and is sixth in the league listing. Adding defensive numbers are Caitlyn Vann with 131 digs (2.73 dpg) and Lei Wang with 109 (2.27 dpg).

Mizzou sits at eighth in the conference with 120.5 blocks (2.51 bpg) and has been led in the blocking department by Amanda Hantouli. The sophomore middle blocker has 47 blocks on the season and 13 through Big 12 matches.

Middle Magic
Kansas State has had strong production from the middle this year with Megan Farr and Kelsey Chipman. Farr, a Manhattan, Kan., native, has notched four matches of hitting over .500 and has a string of seven-straight matches of over .300. In the last seven matches, the junior middle blocker recorded 75 kills with nine errors on 139 attempts (.475 hitting). In the first four Big 12 matches, Farr tallied 47 kills (2.94 kpg) on .452 hitting, along with 25 blocks (1.56 bpg).

Chipman is currently third on the team in kills with 130 (2.55 kpg) on .311 hitting percentage. The product of Topeka, Kan., has hit above .400 in five of the last seven matches. In those matches, she tallied 73 kills and 15 errors on 156 attacks to average .372 hitting through 25 games.

Flashback: vs. Missouri
In 2006, Missouri won both matches in the series for the second-consecutive season. The first matchup between the state neighbors was K-State’s second conference contest of the year when KSU was receiving votes in the poll and Missouri sat at No. 22. The Tigers were able to stun the Cats in Ahearn Field House by a score of 3-1 (30-22, 30-27, 29-31, 30-25).

Megan Kroeker carried the K-State attack with 18 kills on .318 hitting and added a match-high eight blocks. Former Wildcats Sandy Werner and Tiffany Johnson each had 10 or more blocks; Werner finished with 12 while Johnson recorded 10. Angie Lastra, Jenny Jantsch and Lauren Rosenthal all had double-digit digs; Lastra led with 24 while Jantsch added 18 and Rosenthal dished out 10.

The Tigers had high marks from a number of contributers: four finished with over 10 kills and four tallied double-digit digs. MU outhit the Cats .264 to .183 and finished with 78 kills and 87 digs.

The second match was more closely contested, but then-No. 12 Missouri won its home match 3-2 (30-26, 26-30, 30-22, 27-30, 15-12). The Tigers had .238 hitting while the Wildcats finished with a higher percentage than the first matchup with a .209 hitting clip.

Three K-State members tallied double-doubles on the night. Angie Lastra put down 23 kills and 18 digs, while Werner had 20 kills and 16 digs. Stacey Spiegelberg led in assists with 61 and completed the double-double with 10 digs.

Building Blocks
In the last two matches (vs. Oklahoma, at Colorado), the Wildcats have put back 19 blocks in each competition. Each time K-State finished with two solo and 34 block assists. Since 2002, KSU has had two consecutive matches of 15 or more blocks on only three other occasions. Dating back to 2002, this season is the only time to have two consecutive matches of 18 or more blocks.

Last season the Wildcats tallied 15 at UNI and 20.5 against Notre Dame. In 2004, KSU had 17 at Houston and 15 at home against Wichita State. During the 2003 season, K-State finished with 17 at KU and 16 at Colorado.