K-State Heads to Iowa State for Big 12 Match

Oct. 8, 2013

K-State at Iowa St Match Notes Get Acrobat Reader

K-State Athletics

After dropping its first two matches of the Big 12 season, K-State (13-3, 1-2 Big 12) needed a win last Saturday against TCU to get back on track before a pair of road matches this week, including Wednesday's contest at Iowa State (8-5, 2-1 Big 12) at 6:30 pm.

The Wildcats captured the first set against TCU, but after losing the next two, they were six points away from being downed by the Horned Frogs in four sets. K-State rallied, eliminating a 19-15 deficit in the fourth game by finishing with a 10-2 run that propelled it to a five-set comeback victory over TCU at home. The win was the Wildcats' 20th in their last 21 five-set matches since 2010.

"I think we are still finding our new identity," said senior Kaitlynn Pelger. "We are just trying to keep good rhythm and get better.  Throughout the [TCU match], we were getting better, but then we kind of fell off a little bit.  We played the way we wanted to in the fifth set."

Played the way they wanted, indeed. The Wildcats had eight kills on 18 errorless attempts for a .444 hitting percentage. In the fifth set this season, K-State has a .259 hitting percentage - and .196 hitting percentage in the first through fourth sets.

The Wildcats and upcoming opponent Iowa State, though, have not played a five-set match since 2008 when Iowa State trumped K-State 3-2 in Ames, Iowa. That victory spurred an eight-match winning streak for Iowa State in the series and has helped the Cyclones claim victories in nine of the last 10 matches against K-State. The Wildcats split the series in 2012 after sweeping Iowa State in Manhattan.

K-State's strengths this season are its strong block and effective service game. The Wildcats are 17th in the country in blocks per set (2.76) while they are third among Big 12 teams with 1.27 aces per set. Pelger (3rd, 0.37) and Katie Brand (7th, 0.31) are both in the top seven in the Big 12 in aces per set.

Of course, Iowa State is just as strong in the aces category as redshirt sophomore Tory Knuth leads the Big 12 with 0.45 aces per set. Teammate Caitlin Nolan - a sophomore from the same high school as K-State's Kersten Kober, Southlake Carroll - is fourth in the conference with 0.36 aces per set.

What will give on Wednesday? Find out by listening live on KMAN 1350 or k-statesports.com, with Rob Voelker calling the action.


Notes: Junior Taylor Johnson had a career-high 18 kills last Saturday against TCU, helping her cross the 100-kill threshold in a season for the first time in her career. The Grand Island, Neb. is averaging 2.75 kills per set and a .306 hitting percentage in three Big 12 matches ... Senior Courtney Traxson also set a career-high for kills in a match on Saturday as she recorded 15. Traxson has double-digit kills in back-to-back matches for the first time since November, 2011. Traxson has never registered double-digit kills in three straight matches ... Redshirt freshman Katie Brand's career-high 59 assists on Saturday were the most by a Wildcat in a Big 12 match since Caitlyn Donahue tallied 67 at Missouri on Sept. 28, 2011 ... Freshman Kersten Kober is fifth among Big 12 freshman with 2.0 digs per set ... The Wildcats debuted at No. 29 in the first RPI rankings released by the NCAA this season. K-State also received votes in this week's AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Wildcats have received votes in all seven AVCA Coaches polls this season.


More notes can be found here.


K-State (13-3, 1-2 Big 12) at Iowa State (8-5, 2-1 Big 12)

6:30 pm in Hilton Coliseum (Ames, Iowa)


All-Time Series: Iowa State leads 45-37

Last Meeting: Iowa State won 3-1 (25-14, 23-25, 25-18, 25-15) on Nov. 14, 2012 at Iowa State

Series Note: Last year's 3-0 K-State win in Manhattan snapped an eight-match winning streak for Iowa State in the series ... The Cyclones have won nine of the last 10 meetings against the Wildcats beat Iowa State in 22 of the 24 meetings from 1996-2007.


Listen to the game here.

Track live stats here.