Wildcats Take on Tigers in Return to Ahearn

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats return to Ahearn Field House for a brief homestand taking on the Missouri Tigers at 7 p.m. Wednesday before finishing the home stretch on Saturday. K-State is seeking its first win in conference play after a tough opening stretch of matches in the Big 12.

Missouri enters Wednesday's match coming off a two wins last week. The Tigers swept Texas Tech on Saturday and held off Colorado 3-1 last Wednesday. The Tigers are in the middle of the pack in the conference standings looking to return to the NCAA Tournament after missing last year for the first time in eight years.

K-State on the other hand is trying to get its first conference win and snap a seven-match losing streak dating back to the Varney's Kansas State Invitational. The Wildcats have not had an eight-match losing streak since dropping 10 straight in the 2006 season.

Missouri has struggled on the road this season with just one win in five matches. The Tigers also have not defeated a conference opponent on its home floor this season losing all three road league matches so far.

Wednesday's match will be televised on Fox Sports Kansas City for fans unable to make it to Ahearn Field House for the action. Ticket promotions for the match include Scout Night and Greek Night. Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts who show up in their uniform receive free admission to the match. Greek houses are competing to see which fraternity or sorority can bring the highest percentage of members to the match with the winner receiving a donation to its philanthropy.

On The Airwaves
K-State's match against Missouri will be televised by Fox Sports Kansas City with Brian Smoller on play-by-play and Patti Phillips assisting with color commentary. The can also be heard on 1350 KMAN with Rob Voelker calling the action. The 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.

The Series
The Wildcats lead the all-time series with Missouri 39-28 holding a 21-5 advantage since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1996. K-State has won the last four meetings against the Tigers after Missouri put a streak of four straight wins together itself.

Last season, K-State had a dramatic come-from-behind win on the road in five sets scoring four straight points to win 15-12 in the final set. In Manhattan, the Wildcats got the win in four sets after dropping the first to the Tigers. K-State is 19-12 at home against Missouri.

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 (.665).

Missouri: Wayne Kreklow (Drake '80) is in his fifth year as the head coach of the Tigers after taking over for his wife Susan. Last season the Tigers had their streak of eight straight NCAA Tournament appearances snapped.

Scouting the Tigers
The Tigers are hoping to return to the NCAA Tournament this year after missing the postseason for the first time in eight years last season. Missouri is 12-6 so far this season and currently stands in sixth place in the competitive Big 12 Conference.

Missouri is led by junior Julianna Klein as she is pounding out 3.24 kills per set and helping on defense with 1.97 digs a set as well. She also is one of the team's top servers with 30 aces this season. Klein is joined by Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year in Paola Ampudia who is averaging 2.67 kills per set.

Libero Caitlyn Vann is among the conference leaders in digs averaging 4.51. She is climbing the career digs list at Missouri with 1,161 and is just a junior.

Missouri has been two different teams depending on where the Tigers are playing this year. The Tigers are a perfect 8-0 at home while winning just once on the road at 1-4. Missouri is winless on the road in Big 12 Conference matches with losses at Oklahoma, Baylor and Iowa State. The Tigers have defeated Kansas, Texas A&M, Colorado and Texas Tech at home in league action.

- k-statesports.com -