KSU Visits Aggies for Friday Contest

MANHATTAN, Kan. - With a defeat of Missouri at home on Wednesday, No. 18 Kansas State will return to the road to take on Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, on Fri., Sept. 28th. The Wildcats improved to 12-3 overall and 4-1 in the Big 12 with a 3-0 win over the Tigers. The Aggies found victory in their Wednesday match as well, as they pulled out a 3-0 defeat in Waco, Texas, against Baylor. Texas A&M sits with an overall record of 12-3 with a 2-3 conference record.

The match will be broadcast live on www.1350KMAN.com and www.kstatesports.com­­­ with a 6:30 p.m. start and live stats can be found linked on www.kstatesports.com. A complete recap will be posted online following the completion of the match.

Kansas State Pre-Match Report
The Wildcats have returned to winning ways with two straight victories in conference play, bringing K-State to 7-1 in its last eight contests. With a 4-1 Big 12 record, the Cats sit in third place in the league, behind the only two squads who have yet to lose a conference match, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

K-State’s midweek match brought Missouri to town with a winless conference record. The Wildcats were able to force MU to seach longer for that first Big 12 victory, as KSU won 3-0 by scores of 30-21, 30-20, 30-20. The Wildcats were able to depend on accurate hitting and aggressive serving to overtake the Tigers. K-State finished with 53 team kills and 14 errors on 105 attempts for a hitting clip of .371; the team also earned points from 10 service aces, helping K-State remain atop the conference in the category.

The Wildcats were led by three individuals who finished with 10 or more kills on .250 hitting or better. Rita Liliom led all with 15 kills and .583 hitting. She also tied a career-high in service aces with four. Nataly Korobkova converted for 13 kills on .269 hitting and also finished with multiple aces, tallying two. Kelsey Chipman registered 10 kills with two errors on 16 attempts for a .500 hitting percentage.

Angie Lastra had double-digit digs to lead the K-State squad with 13. The senior from Carolina, Puerto Rico, who is fifth all-time for service aces in school history, added three to her career total. Lauren Mathewson and Stacey Spiegelberg each added five digs. Spiegelberg had a match-high 43 assists. Megan Farr and Korobkova each put down five  block assists.

On the season, K-State has relied on a number of attackers for big numbers and has received help from five Wildcats that have tallied over 100 kills on the season. Leading all is junior Korobkova, who has recorded 206 to average 4.12 with .235 hitting. Liliom sits at second with 199 kills on .273 hitting. The junior outside hitter has upped her average during conference action as she has 3.89 kills per game in Big 12 and 3.69 overall. The middle blockers have been key in providing for the attack with Farr tallying 134 kills and Chipman putting down 140. Farr has increased accuracy during Big 12 matches, going from .387 overall to .425 in conference play.

Setting for the hitters, Spiegelberg has 705 assists on the year to average 13.06, third in the conference. A product of Overland Park, Kan., the senior has 253 assists through 19 conference games with an average of 13.32. She also leads the team in aces with 27 on the year (0.50 apg).

In Big 12 matches only, Korobkova and Liliom have converted for more aces to increase their averages. Korobkova has 14 through 19 games (0.74 sapg), while she has 42 overall (0.44 sapg). In 19 Big 12 games, Liliom has tallied 10 of her 20 aces to average 0.53, compared to a year average of 0.28.

K-State has three Wildcats in the top 10 of the conference in kills per game. Farr is second overall with an average of 1.61 in 54 games; she has put back nine solo and 78 assisted. Chipman is fourth with 1.39 per game on five solo and 70 assisted. At sixth in the Big 12 is Korobkova with 1.30 per game with 65 assisted.

At Stake
Kansas State is ranked 18th, a two-place drop from the previous polls... K-State is 7-1 in the last eight contests... The Wildcats have hit over .250 seven of the last eight matches and 10 times this season... K-State’s ace streak continues and sits at 270 straight matches of at least one service ace... The Wildcats have four matches of 10 or more aces this year... Kansas State is 2-9 against Texas A&M in College Station... KSU’s wins came in 2002 and 2003... The Wildcats’ last victory at A&M was October 4, 2003... The Cats have held their last eight opponents under .250 hitting... With win over Missouri, K-State equaled its overall and conference win total from 2006.

Scouting Report: Texas A&M
Texas A&M stormed through its nonconference slate with a 10-0 record, including nine sweeps. Since then, the Aggies have gone 2-3 against Big 12 foes with losses against Oklahoma, Iowa State and Nebraska. A&M’s last win was a 3-0 victory over Baylor in Waco, Texas. The Aggies won in sets of 30-27, 30-24, 30-24 on .243 hitting.

Texas A&M finished with high numbers defensively, as the Aggies tallied 70 digs in the three-game match. Four individuals tallied over 10 digs: Sarah Ammerman led with 14, Mary Batis and Jen Moore dished out 13 and Stephanie Cadavid added 12. Three Aggies, Darla Donaldson, Kelsey Bryant and Jillian Phillips, had five blocks on the night to aid the defense.

Kristen Schevikhoven passed for 30 assists and scored on four service aces and seven kills. Kill leaders were Phillips with 11 and Ammerman with 10.

Ammerman and Batis lead the Aggies overall in kills, tallying 175 (3.89 kpg) and 155 (3.16 kpg), respectively. Schevikhoven is averaging 11.17 assists per game with 525 through 47 games. Batis (21; 0.43 sapg) and Schevikhoven (17; 0.36 sapg) pace the squad in aces. Four Aggies have notched over 100 digs on the year, with Batis leading all to average 3.39 per game. Jen Moore has 141 digs (2.82), while Ammerman has 120 and Schevikhoven sits with 101. Phillips leads in blocks with 56 (five solo, 51 assisted).

Flashback: vs. Texas A&M
During last season’s home-and-home series with the Aggies, Texas A&M was able to capture both wins for the first time in the series. The wins, in addition to the match in College Station in 2005, equals Texas A&M’s longest win streak against the Wildcats.

The first match between the two squads, who were each receiving votes in the prior polls, ended in a battle that the Aggies pulled ahead in 3-2. A&M won the match by scores of 30-28, 30-26, 20-30, 20-30, 15-10 with less accuracy than the Cats in hitting with .177 compared to KSU’s .212.

The Cats had a number of contributors, including a match high 29 digs from Angie Lastra. Lauren Rosenthal added 12 and Leslie Townsend helped the defense with 10. Sandy Werner paced the attack with 19 kills. Ginta Gabruseva had 12 kills on .286 hitting and Megan Kroeker tallied 11 kills and led in blocks with nine.

Looking to win its own home match, K-State could not defeat the aggressive Aggie attack and fell 3-0. Texas A&M won the second of the yearly series by sets of 30-28, 34-32, 30-25. The Aggies outhit the Wildcats .275 to .172 with each team converting on 56 kills.

Stacey Spiegelberg finished with a double-double on the night as she notched 43 assists and 10 digs. Offensive leaders included Lastra in kills with 13. The junior had help from Kroeker who tallied 12 kills and Werner with 10. Three Cats dished out 10 or more digs, with Rosenthal and Townsend leading with 11.

Lastra Enters NCAA History
With action in 400 games, Kansas State senior Angie Lastra sits 25th on the NCAA list for consecutive games played. The Carolina, Puerto Rico, native broke into the ranks with the five-game match against Colorado on Sept. 22, 2007.

If Lastra continues to play every game of her career, she will become one of only 16 former collegiate players to have played in each game throughout her career (minimum 400 games).

Double-Digit Aces
A primary weapon for the Wildcats this season has been strong serving, including a league-leading 121 service aces (2.24 sapg). Texas A&M sits at second with a 1.76 average and 88 on the year. In Big 12 matches alone, K-State has 46 (2.42 sapg) while Nebraska is closest with 25 total and a 2.08 average.

Four times this season K-State has finished with double-digit service aces in a match: 13 on Sept. 15 vs. Baylor; 12 Sept. 8 vs. Fresno State; 12 Aug. 28 vs. Houston; and 10 Sept. 26 vs. Missouri. Only two other Suzie Fritz seasons have had more matches of 10 or more aces: 2006 had five and 2004 tallied nine. The Big 12 Championship year of 2003 also had four.

Best Season Starts
Kansas State has jumped to a 12-3 start, marking the midway point of the regular season. The record is a large improvement from last years’ 8-7 through 15 matches. With a win percentage of .800, the start ties the best through 15 matches during the Suzie Fritz era. Both the 2005 and 2003 championship team started with records of 12-3.

2007: 12-3  2006: 8-7  2005: 12-3  2004: 11-4  2003: 12-3  2002: 9-6  2001: 10-5