Wildcats Look to Slow Cyclones on Road

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats hit the road to take on No. 11 Iowa State this weekend after an impromptu bye on Wednesday night. K-State's home match against Texas Tech was postponed Wednesday after the Red Raiders were unable to travel due to a flu outbreak among their players.

The postponement allowed K-State to have another day of practice to prepare for the Cyclones who defeated the Wildcats in both their matches last season. First serve is set for 2 p.m. from Hilton Coliseum on the campus at Iowa State where the Cyclones are undefeated this season beating Wisconsin-Milwaukee in two matches and Colorado in their Big 12 Conference opener.

K-State is still looking for its first win in conference action after dropping matches to Oklahoma and on the road to No. 24 Baylor last week, and the Cyclones are looking to get back on the victor's side of a match after losing two in a row to No. 2 Texas and Baylor. Iowa State was swept in both matches on the road.

Last season in Ames, the Wildcats and Cyclones battled in five sets with Iowa State getting the edge in the final stanza to get the victory and defeat K-State for just the third time in the Big 12 era. K-State opened the match with a solid .382 hitting percentage in the first set only to fall back and allow Iowa State to dominate the second set and even the match. K-State responded with a dominant third set and was edged out in a tight fourth to force the deciding set. In the fifth set, Iowa State opened a 5-1 lead and K-State never got closer than three points to their rivals losing 15-8.

On The Airwaves
K-State's match against Iowa State can be heard on www.1350kman.com with Rob Voelker calling the action.

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

Familiar Faces
Saturday's match with the Iowa State Cyclones will pit the Wildcats against some long-time friends. Senior middle blocker Kelsey Chipman will see her high school teammate Kaylee Manns on the other side of the net. Manns is a senior for the Cyclones and leads the Big 12 in assists per set.

On the bench one of K-State's greatest players will be looking for a win over her alma mater. Iowa State Assistant Coach Dawn (Cady) Sullivan is in her fifth year on staff with the Cyclones. Sullivan is one of five players in K-State history to tally 1,000 kills and digs for her career and was named AVCA All-America Second Team in 1999.

The Series
This is the 65th meeting between the Wildcats and Cyclones and will sway the series record in one team's advantage. Each team has won 37 meetings with K-State dominating since 1996. In the Big 12 era, the Wildcats are 22-4 against the Cyclones with Iowa State winning four of the last six.

The Wildcats began the Big 12 era with 20 straight wins over the Cyclones ending the longest losing streak against Iowa State at 14 matches. Head coach Suzie Fritz is 12-4 against Iowa State in her eight years leading the program.

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).

Iowa State: Christy Johnson-Lynch (Nebraska '96) has taken Iowa State to new heights in her four years with the program. The Cyclones have been the last three NCAA Tournaments and garnered their first-ever Top 25 ranking in 2007.

Scouting the Cyclones
The Cyclones have gone from bottom dweller in the Big 12 to contenders in a few short years under Johnson-Lynch. Iowa State has climbed into the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll in the last two years and made a run to the Regional Finals of the NCAA Tournament in 2008.

Iowa State is currently ranked No. 11 and cracked the Top10 earlier in the season being led by an experienced group of players as six of seven starters return from last year's squad.

Junior outside hitter Victoria Henson leads the team in kills averaging 4.08 per set. Sophomore Rachel Hockaday joins her as a favorite target of setter Kaylee Manns with 3.00 kills per set. Another pair of sophomores, Debbie Stadick and Kelsey Petersen, is each averaging 2.35 kills to give the Cyclones four players kill more than two balls a set.

The Cyclones have an efficient offense led by Manns with a Big 12 leading 12.13 assists per set. Manns directs the offense to a team hitting percentage of .232. Manns also leads the team in service aces as the team's top server.

Defensively, Iowa State has the defending Big 12 Libero of the Year in Ashley Mass. She is averaging a strong 5.35 digs per set after tallying a school-record 646 digs last season -- earning AVCA Third Team All-America. This season she has posted double digits in digs in all but one match and posted two 20-dig matches as well as a season-high 33 against Baylor on Wednesday.

- k-statesports.com -