#25 Wildcats Return From Bye, Travel to TCU

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Match #19
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Arena: University Recreation Center
TCU (Road #6)
Wednesday, Oct. 15 – 6:30 p.m.
Series: K-State leads, 3-1
Last Meeting: TCU won, 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-22), in Fort Worth on Nov. 27, 2013
TV: FOX Sports-Southwest
Radio: News Radio 1350 KMAN (PBP – Rob Voelker)
Online Audio: www.k-statesports.com, www.1350kman.com
After a bye last weekend, K-State returns to action with a Big 12 road match at TCU on Wednesday, Oct. 15.
The Wildcats enter the contest on a three-match winning streak, a stretch that includes two wins on the road.
In K-State’s last match, the Wildcats beat Iowa State in four sets--K-State’s third-straight win against the Cyclones in Manhattan.
TCU enters Wednesday coming off a five-set loss at West Virginia on Oct. 11.
K-State is tied for second in the Big 12 standings with a 3-1 record while TCU is tied for fourth (2-3).
For the first time since the Nov. 19, 2012 poll, K-State is ranked in the AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 poll as the Wildcats jumped in at No. 25 in this week’s rankings.
K-State, which had been receiving votes for the last five weeks, becomes the fourth different Big 12 team to be ranked in the top 25 poll.
Texas, which is No. 2 in this week’s poll, is the highest ranked Big 12 team while KU and Oklahoma were each ranked earlier this season.
The Wildcats have been ranked in the AVCA Top 25 poll 166 times in program history and 120 times under head coach Suzie Fritz.
After failing to win a single Big 12 road match last season (0-8), the Wildcats have started their conference road schedule this season with back-to-back wins.
The last time K-State won its first two Big 12 road matches in a season was 2008.
This also marks the first time the Wildcats have won back-to-back road matches since 2012 when they beat Baylor (3-1) on Sept. 29 and TCU (3-0) on Oct. 13.
The Wildcats have not won three consecutive conference road matches since 2008 (Nov. 12-Nov. 29).
K-State is 5-0 in true road matches this season, with wins at Green Bay, Southern Illinois, Michigan, KU and Texas Tech.
The 5-0 record is the best start to K-State’s road schedule in a season since 1978 when the Wildcats finished the campaign 5-0 in road contests.
Redshirt sophomore Katie Reininger earned her first career Big 12 weekly award this past Monday as she was named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week.
The middle blocker had 14 kills and hit .522--tying her career-high--in K-State’s win over Iowa State last Wednesday.
Reininger also had seven block assists and an ace to help her tally a match-high 18.5 points.
Reininger was the only Big 12 player to rank in the conference’s top 10 for the week in each hitting percentage (3rd), points per set (5th), kills per set (9th), and blocks per set (T-2nd).
Another Katie and another redshirt sophomore, Katie Brand picked up her second career weekly award from the Big 12 as she was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.
Brand had a team-best 13 digs and tied for the team-lead with 7 blocks to help the Wildcats hold Iowa State to a .149 hitting percentage in the match.
Brand was the only player in the Big 12 last week to average more than 3 digs per set and 1.75 blocks per set, providing defense at the net and in the back row.
For the week, Brand finished in a tie for second in blocks per set and sixth in digs per set.
The Grand Island, Nebraska native last earned a Big 12 player of the week award on Sept. 16, 2013 when she garnered the Big 12’s Rookie of the Week.
K-State’s current winning streak of three matches is its longest winning streak in Big 12 play since Oct. 20-27, 2012 when it also won three conference matches in a row.
The Wildcats have not won four Big 12 contests in a row since Oct. 25-Nov. 5, 2008.
K-State had an 11-match winning streak earlier this season, which was its longest since 2012.
K-State is looking to jump out to a 4-1 start in its Big 12 schedule, a feat it has accomplished four times under Suzie Fritz.
The last time was in 2008, when it used its 4-1 start to help finish third in the Big 12 (14-6). 
In this year’s second RPI rankings, released by the NCAA, K-State moved up to No. 17, which is the second-highest ranking among Big 12 teams.
Last week, the Wildcats were No. 19.
K-State has four wins against teams ranked 33 or higher in the latest RPI rankings, which include at Michigan (No. 33), vs. UCF (No. 27), vs. Iowa State (No. 24) and at KU (No. 20).
Overall, K-State is 4-1 against teams in this week’s top 50 (loss vs. Arizona on 8/30).
The Wildcats are 8-2 against the top 100.
This week’s opponents, TCU and Texas, are No. 122 and 3, respectively, in this week’s rankings.
K-State continues to rank among the nation’s top blocking teams, as it enters the midweek slate of matches 10th in Division I in blocks/set (3.00) and eighth in total blocks (201.0).
The Wildcats are also first in the Big 12 in total blocks and second in blocks/set (Texas, 3.12).
K-State’s 3.03 blocks/set in conference-only matches is the best mark in the Big 12, leading second-place Texas (2.97).
The Wildcats have 10 or more blocks in five of the last six matches and in 10 of their 18 total matches this season.
Helping the Wildcats pace the Big 12 in blocks/set for conference-only matches are its two middle blockers, Natali Jones and Katie Reininger.
Jones leads all Big 12 players in blocks/set for overall matches and conference-only matches, averaging 1.62 blocks/set in Big 12 contests and 1.40 in overall matches.
Reininger, meanwhile, is third in overall matches with 1.32 blocks/set and seventh in conference-only matches with 1.24.
Nationally, Jones is 23rd in the country in blocks/set and 59th in total blocks.
Reininger is 35th in Division I in blocks/set and 48th in total blocks.
The play at the net has played a part in K-State holding its opponents to one of the lowest hitting percentages in the Big 12.
In conference-only matches, the Wildcats have held opponents to a .167 clip, the second-lowest mark among Big 12 teams (Texas, .149).
The Wildcats have held Big 12 opponents to a sub-.200 hitting percentage in three of the four conference matches this season, including a .149 hitting percentage by Iowa State in K-State’s last match on Oct. 8.
For all matches, K-State’s opponents have hit less than .200 in 12 of the 18 contests.
The Wildcats are fourth among Big 12 teams with an opponent hitting percentage of .163 for the entire season.
K-State is 11-1 this season when its opponents hit less than .200.
Last season, K-State held TCU to a sub-.200 hitting percentage in the first match, a 3-2 K-State win on Oct. 5 in Ahearn Field House, before allowing the Horned Frogs to hit .245 in the 3-0 loss on Nov. 27.
Katie Brand leads the Wildcats with 14 double-doubles this season while she also has a double-double in 12 straight matches--the longest streak in K-State history.
Brand’s 14 double-doubles this year are the most in a season by a Wildcat since 2011 when setter Caitlyn Donahue had 16 and middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger had 14.
Brand has 25 career double-doubles.
The redshirt sophomore is the only Big 12 player ranked in the conference’s top 10 for both assists/set (5th, 10.35) and digs/set (9th, 3.12).
For overall matches, Brand is third in the Big 12 in assists/set (11.15) and ninth in digs/set (3.03).
The Wildcats enter Wednesday third in the Big 12 with 1.35 aces/set in conference-only matches.
Chelsea Keating has an ace in seven straight matches, nine aces in Big 12 play and a team-best 24 aces on the season.
K-State leads the all-time series vs. TCU, 3-1.
The Wildcats lost the last meeting when they were swept by TCU on Nov. 27, 2013.
K-State is 1-1 against TCU in Fort Worth.
The first ever meeting between the two schools was in Fort Worth when K-State swept TCU on Oct. 13, 2012.