Wildcats Look to Jump Kangaroos

Lilla Porubek

Sept. 27, 2010

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MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats look to get back on the winning track with a nonconference match on Tuesday night against the UMKC Kangaroos. First serve is set for 7 p.m. from Ahearn Field House where the Wildcats are 5-1 this season and averaging more than 2,200 fans a match.

K-State is coming off back-to-back losses in Big 12 Conference action last week falling at Colorado in five sets and dropping its first home match to Missouri in four. The Wildcats had their Wednesday bye scheduled for this week in Big 12 play and are using the open date to take on the Kangaroos again after defeating them in four sets a year ago. A win would give the Wildcats a 6-5 record in nonconference matches for the season with all five losses coming to teams ranked No. 22 or higher at the time of the contests.

Wednesday's match will be Jersey Night for youth players. Young fans can get into the match for free by wearing their jersey to the Ahearn. Other ticket promotions include Women of K-State Night, Manhattan Catbacker Night and Community Night for Chelsea Keating, Ashley Kelican and Kacia Turner. Fans from their hometowns can purchase tickets in advance for just $3. For more information on Community Night contact the K-State Ticket Office at 800-221-CATS (2287).

This will be K-State's last nonconference match of the season as the Wildcats will return to Big 12 action against Texas A&M on Saturday when K-State travels to College Station to take on the Aggies.

On The Airwaves
Saturday's match can be heard on KMAN 1350 and live online at both kstatesports.com and 1350kman.com with Brian Smoller on the call and Rob Voelker assisting with color commentary.

Live stats will be available through kstatesports.com for fans wanting to track the action live on the web. Live audio of KMAN's broadcast will also be provided through kstatesports.com. The match will also be webcast at kstatesports.com.

The Series
Kansas State has lost just three times to UMKC holding advantage in the series 28-3. K-State's last loss to the Kangaroos came in 1977. The two teams used to meet regularly till the mid-90's. The Wildcats and Roos have only met just four times since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1996.

The Coaches
Kansas State: Suzie Fritz (Florida Atlantic '94) is in her 10th year as head coach of the Wildcats she is the winningest coach in the program's history in terms of wins (190) and is not far off of the best winning percentage in school history as well at .646.

UMKC: Joan Rickert (Wayne State `80) was named the interim head coach of the Roos on September 16 after the resignation of Geno Frugoli. Rickert is in her fourth year overall on the UMKC coaching staff.

Scouting the Kangaroos
UMKC enters Tuesday's contest with a 5-10 record following its 3-2 win over Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne on Saturday. The Kangaroos are 1-6 on the road this season with that win coming at IPFW.

A trio of Roos lead UMKC on offense this season with Elizabeth Beck leading the way averaging 2.86 kills a set. Kelsey Knoche is second on the team in kills after leading the Roos last year in her first year with the team after transferring from Memphis. Christiana McQuin is averaging 2.00 kills a set and leads the team in hitting percentage at .236. McQuin ranks fifth in school history in career hitting percentage and is ninth in block assists.

Nicole Kerkman leads the defense with 3.81 digs a set, and Knoche is a major contributor as well averaging 2.69  a set. The Roos are holding their opponents to an overall hitting percentage under .200 as well thanks in part to 2.09 blocks per set. Demetria Williams leads the team at 1.35 per set in her limited action this season playing in 20 of 53 sets. Of the most experienced players, McQuin leads with a 0.86 average.

Catching up with the `Cats
After opening Big 12 play with back-to-back wins for the first time since 2007 defeating in-state rival Kansas and Texas Tech, the Wildcats have dropped two in a row at Colorado and at home to Missouri.

The Wildcats are looking to remain perfect at home this year against nonconference opponents in Tuesday night's contest. K-State swept all three Georgia Tech, Loyola Marymount and Oral Roberts during its home tournament and defeated South Dakota 3-1 in previous nonconference action in Ahearn Field House.

In K-State's last match, senior libero Lauren Mathewson posted her fifth 20-dig match of the season. The Kansas City native needs one more to crack the top 10 for most 20-dig matches in a season for the third year in a row. She has 20 such matches for her career which also puts her one behind Laura Downey for second in a career.

K-State fans have been showing up at Ahearn Field House in herds this season wearing their purple putting them among the most loyal and enthusiastic fans in the nation. K-State currently ranks ninth in the nation in average attendance with 2,263. The last two home matches for K-State have drawn more than 3,100 fans.