KSU to Face No. 1 Nebraska Wednesday

MANHATTAN, Kan. - No. 17 Kansas State will take a three-match win streak into Lincoln, Neb., as the Wildcats take on the top-ranked team in the nation, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, on Wed., Oct. 3rd. The two squads sit as the top two teams in the Big 12 Conference with Nebraska at 12-0 overall, 5-0 Big 12 and K-State 13-3 overall and 5-1 in the conference.

Both teams are coming off of recent conference wins, as the Wildcats defeated Texas A&M 3-1 Friday in College Station, Texas, to mark the first road win against the Aggies since 2003. The Huskers swept Baylor 3-0 on Saturday by scores of 30-15, 30-12, 30-13 in front of a sold-out crowd in Lincoln.

Wednesday’s matchup of the ranked conference foes can be followed either via CSTV cable television, 1350 KMAN’s radio broadcast, online at www.1350kman.com or www.kstatesports.com or via live stats linked through Kansas State’s official website, www.kstatesports.com. Complete statistics and a recap will be posted as results become available.

Kansas State Pre-Match Report
The 13-3 Wildcats will play with the hopes of continuing one streak and breaking another. K-State will enter the Nebraska match with three-consecutive wins under its belt and will be looking to snap a three-match losing streak in Lincoln. Much like wins in Boulder, Colo., and College Station, Texas, the Wildcats will battle to add Lincoln to the list of first wins since 2003.

The league-leading service ace Wildcats are coming off of a 3-1 win over Texas A&M on Friday. After being dominated in the first game by the Aggies and finishing with .000 percent hitting, K-State captured the come-from-behind win by winning the next three with sets of 23-30, 30-24, 30-27, 30-23. KSU had 66 kills with 33 errors on 178 attempts for a .185 hitting clip and notched 17.5 team blocks.

Angie Lastra finished with her 24th-career match of 20 or more digs when she dished out 23 to lead the squad. The Carolina, Puerto Rico, native also served for two aces and registered four assists. Also with two aces was senior Stacey Spiegelberg, who had a match-high 50 assists. Spiegelberg, from Overland Park, Kan., tied a career high in blocks with eight. Nataly Korobkova paced the Cats in kills with 17, while Rita Liliom did not trail by much with 16. Jenny Jantsch recorded a season-high in kills with 14 on .220 hitting.

Korobkova and Liliom sit one-two in season kills for the Wildcats. Junior transfer Korobkova has 223 through 54 games on .231 hitting to average 4.13, sixth in the Big 12. She also sits at second for the team in aces after notching 23 (0.43 sapg). Liliom has 215 season kills with an average of 3.71 per game, with a conference average of 3.91.

Stacey Spiegelberg is atop two categories: assists and service aces. The Overland Park, Kan., senior has tallied 755 assists on the year (13.02 apg) and has 29 aces (0.50) to sit at third in the Big 12 for both statistics.

Angie Lastra remains the only Wildcat to have 100 or more digs on the year after dishing out 244 through 58 games. She is averaging 4.21 per game and is fifth in the Big 12. The senior Wildcat is second for the team in aces with 24 (0.33 sapg).

Megan Farr is currently second in the conference for blocks per game with 1.57 with 91 (nine solo, 82 assisted) on the year. Kelsey Chipman has four less with 87 (six solo, 81 assisted) and is fourth in the Big 12 with a 1.50 average.

At Stake
Kansas State is ranked 17th, up from 18th in the previous poll... K-State is 8-1 in the last nine contests... The Wildcats have hit over .250 seven of the last nine matches and 10 times this season... K-State’s ace streak continues and sits at 271 straight matches of at least one service ace... The Wildcats have four matches of 10 or more aces this year... Kansas State is 2-28 against Nebraska in Lincoln... KSU’s wins came in 1999 and 2003... The Wildcats’ last victory at Nebraska was October 11, 2003... The Cats have held their last nine opponents under .250 hitting... With win over Missouri, K-State equaled its overall and conference win total from 2006.

Scouting Report: Nebraska
The 12-0 Nebraska Huskers have stormed through the first half of the season having only lost one game, sweeping the remaining 11 opponents. The one game lost was versus No. 5 UCLA in the second match of the year. Since that time, the Huskers have won 3-0 against No. 3 Penn State, No. 17 Cal Poly, No. 11 Duke and No. 7 Texas.

Nebraska ranks first in four categories among Big 12 members: hitting percentage, opponent hitting percentage, assists and kills per game. The Huskers have hit .347 through 37 game this year and have only allowed opponents an average of .141. NU dominates in the assists and kills category as it is first in the country in both categories; the team averages 16.78 assists per game (Big 12: Texas is second with 15.19) and 18.08 kills per game (Big 12: Texas is again second with 16.30). They are second in aces and digs per game in the Big 12, averaging 1.78 and 16.65 respectively. In blocks, the Huskers have only tallied 98 on the year (least amount of any Big 12 school) and average 2.65 per game, sixth in the conference.

In its last match, Nebraska handled Baylor in three by scores of 30-15, 30-12, 30-13. The Huskers had a team percentage of .500 and were led by three who tallied over 10 digs each. Sarah Pavan led with 13 on .476 hitting and added three aces, while Chris Houghtelling and Kori Cooper each had 12 on hitting over .500. Rachel Holloway tallied 39 assists with three service aces and six digs. Houghtelling led with 16 digs and Rachel Schwartz added 11.

Sarah Pavan, 2006 AVCA Player of the Year, leads the Huskers in kills with 172 to average 4.65 per game, third in the conference standings. Jordan Larson is second with 139 total, 3.76 per game. 2005 AVCA Player of the Year Chris Houghtelling is third with 116 kills and an average of 3.22 per game.

Tracy Stalls and Kori Cooper sit as the top two conference student-athletes in hitting percentage with .494 and .439 respectively. Stalls has 91 kills, while Cooper has tallied 74.

Rachel Holloway leads the conference in assists per game with 13.38 having notched 495 through 37 games. As of 9/23, she was eighth among Division I competitors in the category.

Defensive duties have been divided among three Huskers. Houghtelling leads NU in digs with 140 with a 3.89 average. Larson is averaging 3.38 per game with 125 on the year, and Rachel Schwartz has 123 to average 3.84 per game.

Flashback: vs. Nebraska
No. 1 Nebraska and eventual national champion won 3-0 against Kansas State in both matches during the 2006 season. The first meeting was held in Lincoln, Neb., and had the Huskers win in sets of 30-17, 30-22, 30-17. Nebraska took control of the match backed by .291 hitting and forcing the Wildcats to hit .061.

The Huskers held KSU to 26 total kills, as Sandy Werner led with six on .208 hitting. Stacey Spiegelberg finished with 21 assists. Angie Lastra had strong numbers for the defense with 22 digs.

In Ahearn Field House, K-State fell 3-0 by scores of 30-21, 30-24, 30-22. As Nebraska finished with .269 hitting, they held KSU to a .050 hitting percentage.

Spiegelberg finished with 30 assists and eight digs along with three service aces. Lauren Rosenthal and Leslie Townsend each had 10 or more digs: Rosenthal tallied 14 while Townsend had a near-career high with 12. Megan Kroeker led in kills with 12 on .235 hitting, and Lastra added eight.

Victory at Last x2
Kansas State earned the long awaited win in Boulder, Colo., on Sat., Sept. 22nd. When the Cats rallied back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Buffs 3-2 (30-24, 24-30, 27-30, 30-27, 15-12), it marked the first time to win at the Coors Events Center since 2003.

The Wildcats doubled this effort when they took the match in College Station against Texas A&M on Fri., Sept. 28th. The 3-1 victory (23-30, 30-24, 30-27, 30-23) was the first since 2003 at Texas A&M.

Any Comparison?
The year 2003 continues to be mentioned when looking for common trends in the 2007 Kansas State team. The Big 12 title year of 2003 was the last time the Wildcats won in Boulder, Colo., College Station, Texas, and Lincoln, Neb. The 2003 and 2005 seasons are the only other years to have a 13-3 start during the Suzie Fritz era.

Statistically, how do the 2003 (Big 12 Title squad), 2005 (last KSU team in NCAA tournament) and this year’s 2007 squad compare? The following compares averages from each team through the first 16 matches.

Category     2003     2005     2007
Kills/Gm       15.57    15.94    16.00
Hitting %      .272      .262      .272
Opp. Hit%    .156      .189      .166
Assists/Gm 14.08    14.39    15.03
Aces/Gm     1.72      1.3­­­3      2.22
Digs/Gm       14.55    13.48   13.74
Blocks/Gm   2.53      3.12      3.18