Cats, Cyclones Battle for Big 12 Position Saturday

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The 16th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats will return to the court on Sat., Oct. 13th, against the Iowa State Cyclones after enjoying an idle Wednesday. The match from the Hilton Coliseum will have a first serve set for 6:30 p.m. K-State will battle back from its first consecutive losses after falling short of No. 1 Nebraska and No. 7 Texas during the seventh week of action. Despite the losses, the Wildcats improved to 16th place in the polls with a 13-5 overall record; 5-3 Big 12.

The Cyclones have been receiving votes in the last four polls and are currently 33rd in the country with 14 votes. Iowa State has an overall record of 11-7 with a 5-3 tally through the conference slate. ISU also will enter Saturday’s match with two-consecutive losses versus Oklahoma and No. 1 Nebraska. The Cyclones dropped the match to the Huskers on Wednesday with a 3-0 score in sets of 31-33, 19-30, 20-30.

The K-State vs. Iowa State match will be broadcast live online at www.kstatesports.com and www.1350kman.com, while it will also be played on tape delay on 1350 KMAN following Kansas State football coverage. Live stats can be found linked on K-State’s website, and a complete recap will be posted following the conclusion of the match.

Kansas State Pre-Match Report
Kansas State, ranked 16th in the nation, will be looking to improve its 13-5 overall and 5-3 Big 12 Conference records and return to winning ways after taking on the league’s top-two squads in Nebraska and Texas. K-State is currently fourth in the conference behind Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, who constitute the Wildcats’ three Big 12 losses. As Iowa State has an identical conference record as K-State, the winner of Saturday’s match will secure the fourth-place standing, while the loser could fall to a possible fifth-place tie with Missouri, given a Tiger win.

Statistically the Cats are ranked in the top five in the conference for six categories, including a Big 12-leading 2.20 service aces per game. The Wildcats have 145 aces in 66 games, while Nebraska has the second-best average of 1.76 and Oklahoma is second in total number with 102. K-State is third in blocks  and assists per game and opponent hitting percentage, as it has an average of 3.03 blocks and 14.76 assists while allowing opponents .185 hitting. KSU is fourth in hitting percentage with a .260 average and fifth in kills, averaging 15.65 per game.

When the Wildcats and Longhorns met on Sat., Oct. 6th, a battle ensued in which Texas walked away with the win 3-2 by scores of 30-26, 25-30, 30-27, 22-30, 15-9. K-State pushed for the upset, but were denied by the .285 hitting power of the Longhorns (66 kills, 21 errors, 158 attempts). The Wildcats ended the night with a hitting clip of 68 kills and 35 errors on 168 attempts for .196 percent. The team relied on its strengths of serving and blocking as they tallied double-digits in both categories: 13 aces and 10.5 team blocks.

Junior Nataly Korobkova finished the night with her fourth career double-double after tallying 23 kills and 10 digs. She tallied eight kills on .294 hitting in the third game, while knocking down all five of the Cats’ kills in game five. The native of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, also added a trio of service aces and blocks. Rita Liliom and Kelsey Chipman each added double-digit kills with Liliom putting down 14 and Chipman converting on 10. Both Wildcats also had two service aces each. Senior Stacey Spiegelberg notched 59 assists, seven digs and one service ace that moved her to a tie for seventh all-time in the school record books. Chipman and Megan Farr led with five blocks each, while Angie Lastra led the KSU defense with 21 digs, her 25th match of 20 or more digs.

Through the season, Korobkova has led in kills in eight matches, including the last three in which she has put down 15 or more. The junior transfer has 265 total kills and averages 4.27 per game, fifth in the conference. She also ranks second on KSU in aces having tallied 28 (0.45 sapg) and is fifth in the Big 12 while leading the conference during Big 12 play. With 330 points in 2007, Korobkova averages 5.32 per game and is third in the league.

Liliom sits 30 kills back from Korobkova with 235 total and averages 3.56, 10th in the Big 12. She also has 18 service aces with 13 coming during conference play; she is fifth in the conference for aces per game during Big 12 matches only.

Spiegelberg leads the Cats in both assists and service aces. The Overland Park, Kan., native has 844 assists to average 12.79 per game and rank fourth in the Big 12. Also ranking fourth in the conference, Spiegelberg averages 0.47 aces per game with 31 on the year through 66 games.

Lastra has taken control of the Wildcat’s defense with 273 digs and leads Spiegelberg who is second with 116. Lastra ranks fourth in the conference with an average of 4.14 digs per game through 66 games. Through Big 12 matches, she has a slightly lower average of 4.06 per game, sixth in the conference.

Chipman and Farr lead in blocks with 95 and 98, respectively. Chipman has put back six solo and 89 assisted to average 1.44, third in the Big 12. She has 47 blocks through 31 Big 12 games and is first in the conference with 1.52 blocks per game. With 11 solo and 87 assisted blocks, Farr is second in the conference with an average of 1.48.

At Stake
Kansas State is ranked 16th, up from 17th in the previous poll... K-State is 7-3 in the last 10 contests, but has a streak of two losses... The Wildcats have hit over .250 seven of the last 11 matches and 10 times this season... K-State’s ace streak continues and sits at 273 straight matches of at least one service ace... The Wildcats have five matches of 10 or more aces this year... Kansas State is 11-16 against Iowa State in Ames... The Wildcats’ last victory against the Cyclones in Ames, Iowa, was November 2, 2005 (3-2)... KSU is 3-1 against teams receiving votes, including wins over Wichita State, Louisville and Arkansas... The Cats have held nine of their last 11 opponents under .250 hitting... With win over Missouri, K-State equaled its overall and conference win total from 2006.

Scouting Report: Iowa State
Iowa State started 2007 receiving votes in the preseason polls, but quickly dropped out after producing a 1-4 start with losses to Middle Tennessee State, Creighton, New Mexico and Arizona State. The Cyclones rebounded after going 10-1 in the next 11 matches, including a stretch of seven straight victories. Iowa State reemerged in the polls after defeating two ranked squads: No. 21 LSU (3-1) and No. 25 Texas A&M (3-0). The Cyclones most recently suffered two defeats at the hands of Oklahoma in five and a sweep by No. 1 Nebraska.

Iowa State lost 3-0 to the Huskers by scores of 33-31, 30-19, 30-20 and was outhit .184 to NU’s .271. The Cyclones’ attack was led  by Lauren Cummings who notched 12 kills on .375 hitting. Leading assisting duties was Kaylee Manns, who finished with 29 on the night. Manns also added eight digs, two blocks and four kills. Three Iowa State members recorded over 10 digs: Amy Vos and Ashley Mass dished out 13 each while Laura Cady added 11.

Erin Boeve and Cummings each have over 200 kills on the season for Iowa State. Boeve leads with 249 (3.83 kpg) and is eighth in the conference rankings. Cummings averages 3.18 kills per game after tallying 210 through 66 games. Aiding the attack is Manns who sits as the Cyclones’ primary setter with 681 assists and averages 12.61, fifth among Big 12 setters.

Ashley Mass leads the Cyclones in service aces and digs, having 16 aces to average 0.24 and 241 digs (3.65 dpg). Cady is second for Iowa State with an average of 3.05 digs per game after dishing out 201 through 66 games.  Vos adds 170 digs to average 2.74. Jen Malcom anchors the defense with 92 season blocks and is fourth in the conference with 1.39 bpg. In sixth among Big 12 competitors is Diane Kieger who averages 1.22 per game having 60 total blocks on the year.

Flashback: vs. Iowa State
After K-State held a streak of 20 wins over Iowa State, the Cyclones put a halt to the run by capturing the series in 2006, marking the first since 1995. Prior to the losses, the wins marked the longest string of victories by either team in the series.

The first match of the year between the two North opponents went down to the wire in Ahearn Field House but the Cyclones emerged victorious with a 3-2 win in sets of 30-19, 21-30, 29-31, 30-26, 15-11. The win was earned by Iowa State after it outhit the Cats .266 compared to .172.

The Cyclones sought attack help from a number of contributors as four finished with over 10 kills, including 22 from Erin Boeve. She completed a double-double with 12 blocks (two solo, 10 assisted). Also with a double-double, Katie Jessen finished the night with 14 kills and 15 digs. Kaylee Manns earned the third double-double for Iowa State as she led in assists with 65 and digs with 21.

Leaders for Kansas State included Sandy Werner, who notched 21 kills, seven digs and two service aces for the Wildcats. Stacey Spiegelberg captured three aces as well as a team-high 57 assists. Defensively, Megan Farr put back seven block assists, while Angie Lastra dished out 17 digs.

In the second match-up of the year, Iowa State was able to protect its home court as they played to a 3-1 victory in games of 30-28, 30-25, 20-30, 30-25. With a close statistical comparison, the Cyclones finished with .233 hitting with 61 kills, while KSU had 72 kills on .204 hitting.

Werner again led the Cats as she recorded a double-double with 12 kills and 12 digs. Lastra led in kills with 18, while Megan Kroeker and Megan Farr each had over 10 kills. Spiegelberg notched a match-high 60 assists, and Lauren Rosenthal led all in digs with 20.

Manns again had a double-double against the Wildcats as she finished the night with 48 assists and 17 digs. Katie Churm led in digs with 18 and Katie Jessen converted for 15 kills.

Chip off the Ol’ Block
At just a sophomore standing, Kansas State middle blocker Kelsey Chipman is running to the top of one school chart every time she tallies a match of 10 or more blocks. The Topeka, Kan., native has three matches of double-digit kills in her career, which already places her in a tie for third all-time at K-State. This season alone the sophomore has produced two matches of 10-plus blocks which ties for third most in a season.

Most 10-Block Matches/Career
1. Helen Bundy (1983-86) - 346 games - 6 total
    Val Wieck (1995-98) - 443 - 6
3. Kelsey Chipman (2006-pres.) - 134 - 3
    Kristi Jacquart (1984-87) - 363 - 3
    Valerie Kastens (1985-88) - 339 - 3

Most 10-Block Matches/Season
1. Helen Bundy (1984) - 104 games - 3 total
    Valerie Kastens (1988) - 100 - 3
3. Kelsey Chipman (2007) - 66 - 2
    Helen Bundy (1986) - 73 - 2
    Kristi Jacquart (1987) - 100 - 2
    Val Wieck (1996) - 120 - 2
    Val Wieck (1998) - 109 - 2

Known Killers
The Wildcats have been led primarily by two individuals in kills each match, with Nataly Korobkova and Rita Liliom tallying the most kills in 14 of the 18 matches. Other leaders have been Kelsey Chipman and Jenny Jantsch, who each knocked down the most kills in a match on two occasions.

Since the start of conference play on Sept. 12, Korobkova and Liliom have led the way in all but one match. The duo has combined to produce 234 of the team’s 470 kills through 31 Big 12 games - that is equivalent to 49.8 percent.

In the last three matches (vs. Texas A&M, Nebraska and Texas), Korobkova has paced the Cats in kills with over 15 in each match. She has converted for 17, 19 and 23, respectively, to average 4.92 per game. With 59 total of the team’s 171 in the three contests, Korobkova accounts for 34.5 percent of the kills.

In the three matches prior to those, Liliom led KSU in kills against Oklahoma, Colorado and Missouri. Through those 13 games, Liliom had 23, 18 and 15 kills, respectively, with an average of 4.31 per game. Liliom’s 56 kills in those three matches was 28.4 percent of K-State’s 197 total.