Wildcats Seek Road Win Against Aggies

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats begin their week of road matches traveling to face the resurgent Texas A&M Aggies at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. K-State is looking for its first win in Big 12 Conference play and hope to come away with a win in front of what is guaranteed to be a hostile crowd at Reed Arena.

The Wildcats swept the Aggies in their last trip to College Station - something K-State had only done once before - and are coming off a strong performance against No. 2 Texas despite the loss. K-State posted the highest hitting percentage allowed by the Longhorns all season in the loss. No team had hit higher than .250 prior to the match. K-State hit at a .300 clip.

K-State will take on a Texas A&M that finds itself one spot out of the AVCA Top 25 this week with a 10-3 record. A&M is back among the nation's top teams and looking for its first trip back to the NCAA Tournament in three years. The Aggies have dropped two of their last three matches with a loss at Missouri in five sets and at Texas in three. Their only other loss came at the hands of West Coast Conference power Saint Mary's - a team also receiving votes.

The Aggies rank 24th in the nation in attendance averaging 1,415 fans a match after moving to Reed Arena this year. The move to Reed Arena provides more seating for the Aggie faithful where A&M is undefeated this season.

On The Airwaves
K-State's match against Texas A&M can be heard on 1350 KMAN with Brian Smoller calling the action. This broadcast will also be available on the station's Web site www.1350kman.com.

Live audio and stats will be available through k-statesports.com for fans wanting to track the action live on the web. An audio only feed is through the Wildcat Audio Package. Live stats will also be provided at aggieathletics.com.

The Series
The Wildcats lead the current series with the Aggies 16-11 after winning four straight matches. K-State won for just the fourth time in College Station last season where the Wildcats are 4-9. Last season's sweep on the road by K-State marked the second time the Wildcats have won 3-0 at Texas A&M. The only other sweep on the road against Texas A&M came in 2002.

The two teams met just once before the inception of the Big 12 Conference with A&M getting a 3-1 win in Austin at the Texas Longhorn Classic. Coach Fritz is 11-5 against the Aggies.

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 (.670).

Texas A&M: Laurie Corbelli (San Francisco '88) is in her 17th season as the head coach at Texas A&M where she led the Aggies to 13 straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 1993-2005. She received Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2000.

Scouting the Aggies
The Aggies are led by a strong senior class with Sarah Ammerman and Mary Batis taking up most of the load on their shoulders. Ammerman is averaging 4.03 kills per set while hitting .236 and digging more than three balls a set as well. Batis leads the team in digs at 3.38 per set and is a force on offense with 3.28 kills per set. The pair both are among the Big 12 leaders in kills with Ammerman third in kills per set and Batis is seventh.

Ammerman played for Suzie Fritz this summer as a member of the USA Volleyball A2 Team that won a bronze medal at the USA Open Championship. Both Ammerman and Batis were named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention last season for their efforts on the court.

Another senior Jennifer Banse makes a big contribution to the Aggies averaging 3.22 kills per set to give A&M three players averaging at least that many kills. Banse also digs 2.62 balls a set to help the defense that ranks third in the Big 12 with 16.05 digs per set. Six players averaged more than 2.25 digs per set for the Aggies.

The Aggies' offense has played consistently all season as well with a hitting percentage of .270 to rank second in the Big 12 and 16th in the nation. Setter Kristen Schevikhoven directs that offense to its efficient percentage and is second in the Big 12 in assists averaging 11.55 per set. Schevikhoven also is among those players averaging big numbers in digs for the Aggies.

Texas A&M recently defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers in College Station in a nationally televised match. The Aggies upended the Cornhuskers for just the seventh time winning 3-1 on ESPNU. The win snapped a 19-match losing streak to Nebraska and helped propel the Aggies into the mix of teams fighting for position in the top half of the conference.

- k-statesports.com -