Wildcats Set to Host Sooners on FSN

Caitlyn Donahue

Oct. 5, 2010

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – After an impressive road sweep of Texas A&M last weekend, the Kansas State Wildcats return to Ahearn Field House for a quick two-match homestand. The Wildcats take on the Oklahoma Sooners at 7 p.m. Wednesday with the match televised on Fox Sports Kansas City. This will be the second home televised match at home this season with the Wildcats defeating rival Kansas in four sets on Metro Sports in the Big 12 Conference opener.

The Wildcats dropped both matches to the Sooners last season in a pair of highly-contested battles. Oklahoma won each in four sets, but K-State kept it close with six of the eight sets decided by five or less points and three of them going to extra points.

Senior libero Lauren Mathewson has had a number of solid matches in her career, but has shined against Oklahoma. Last season, Mathewson posted 22 digs at home against the Sooners and then put up 30 on the road as she won Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week following that performance. This season Mathewson is averaging 4.43 digs a set to lead the Wildcats.

Wednesday’s match will be Community Night for Tristan McCarty and Kaitlynn Pelger. Fans from Manhattan and Olathe can get into the match for just $3 by purchasing their tickets in advance online at kstatesports.com. For more information on promotion codes call the ticket office at 800-221-CATS (2287). Youth fans who attended Wildcat Volleyball Camp this summer may get in free by wearing their camp T-shirt and contacting Sarah Laha in the Fan Experience & Sales office.

The Wildcats and Sooners also will be wearing special pink warm-ups on Wednesday as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The match also has heavy Big 12 standings implications with five teams currently tied for second.

On The Tube
K-State’s match against Oklahoma will be broadcast on Fox Sports Kansas City with Brian Smoller calling the action and Liz Wegner-Busch assisting in the coverage with color commentary.

On The Airwaves
Wednesday’s match can be heard on KMAN 1350 and live online at both kstatesports.com and 1350kman.com with Rob Voelker calling the action.

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 Series
Oklahoma leads the all-time series against the Wildcats with a record of 46-25-1. K-State leads the series since the inception of the Big 12, however, winning 19 of the 28 matches. The Sooners have held the advantage of late winning six of the last eight meetings sweeping the series in 2006, 2007 and 2009. Suzie Fritz is 12-6 against OU.

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 (192) and is not far off of the best winning percentage in school history as well at .649.

Oklahoma: Santiago Restrepo (East Stroudsburg ‘86) is in his seventh year coaching the Sooners where he has energized the program back into an NCAA Tournament caliber team. He has taken OU to the postseason three of the last four years.

Scouting the Sooners
Oklahoma comes into Manhattan after defeating Baylor in four sets on the road. The Sooners are part of the log jam for second place in the conference standings with two losses - both  to Top 10 teams Nebraska and Iowa State. The Sooners are no longer receiving votes in this week’s AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll after their 3-1 loss to Nebraska.

The Sooners are led by junior right side hitter Suzy Boulavsky this season as she averages 3.44 kills a set. She also is hitting at a .265 clip. She is joined by Sarah Freudenrich as the one-two punch of the Sooners offense. Freudenrich is averaging 2.42 kills from her middle blocker position and is hitting an impressive .368 on the year. In conference play the pair’s number drop just a bit as the two are some of Oklahoma’s most consistent performers.

Sophomore libero Maria Fernanda helps the Sooners hold opponents to a .187 hitting percentage this season as she is in her second year starting for OU and is averaging 4.39 digs a set overall and 4.78 in conference play. The Sooners defense is one of the top in the conference as Oklahoma ranks second in the Big 12 in digs per set during league matches averaging 16.94 a set.

Oklahoma’s block, however, is not as strong as its back row as the Sooners rank 10th in the league in blocks averaging just 1.83 per set. The Wildcats are fourth in league action averaging 2.37 blocks.

Catching up with the ‘Cats
Kansas State is eyeing a three-match winning streak overall and back-to-back win in conference play to enter the weekend’s action with a bit of momentum. The Wildcats swept the Texas A&M Aggies on their home floor on Saturday getting a valuable road conference win and creating the five-way tie for second place in the Big 12. If A&M had won the match, the Aggies would have been alone in second place.

The Wildcats offense rolled in College Station on Saturday as freshman Kaitlynn Pelger led the way with 12 kills and a .370 hitting percentage. Sophomore opposite Kathleen Ludwig posted a double-double as she found her swing on offense with 10 kills, 10 digs and a .421 hitting percentage. The Wildcats hit .220 as a team and held A&M to just .126 limiting A&M’s go-to player Kelsey Black to a .000 hitting percentage with 10 kills and 10 errors.

Senior libero Lauren Mathewson just missed out on another 20-dig match as she posted 19 in the win over Texas A&M. She continued to move closer to second in career digs with the effort as she now is just 97 digs behind Kim Zschau on the career digs list at K-State. Mathewson is averaging 4.43 digs a set this season.

Head Coach Suzie Fritz is also approaching a milestone. The 10th year coach needs just eight wins to reach the 200 plateau. The Wildcats have averaged 20.33 wins a season under Fritz as she entered the year 17 wins shy of the 200 mark. She already has the most wins in school history and is just a few percentage points behind for highest winning percentage in school history as well.