Wildcats Host Hot 'Huskers

JuliAnne Chisholm

Oct. 15, 2010

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State will play host rival Nebraska for the final time as a Big 12 Conference opponent on Saturday when the Wildcats take on the No. 3 Cornhuskers from Ahearn Field House. First serve is set for 7 p.m. with K-State eyeing its first win over Nebraska since 2003.

The Cornhuskers enter the match undefeated in conference play this season and on a 15-match winning streak after its only loss on the season came in the opening weekend against No. 13 Florida. Since that match, the Gators have climbed steadily to No. 1 in the nation in the last Top 25 poll. Nebraska has five wins over ranked opponents this season.

Saturday’s match will be Keep the Red Out with the first 100 fans getting free T-shirts along with season ticket holders. Wildcat fans have helped K-State rank among the top places to watch volleyball this season ranking 12th in the nation in average attendance.

On The Airwaves
Saturday’s match can be heard on KMAN 1350 with Brian Smoller calling the action and Rob Voelker assisting the broadcast with color commentary.

Live stats will be available through kstatesports.com for fans wanting to track the action live on the web. Live audio of KMAN’s broadcast will also be provided through kstatesports.com, and live video streaming is free at the site as well with KMAN’s call of the action for audio.

The Series
K-State has defeated Nebraska just three times all-time in the series with the Cornhuskers leading 78-3. Two of K-State’s wins have come under the direction of Suzie Fritz with the Wildcats sweeping the series in 2003 en route to the Big 12 Conference title. All three of K-State’s wins have come in the Big 12 era, and the Wildcats have never swept the Cornhuskers.

The Coaches
Kansas State: Suzie Fritz (Florida Atlantic ’94) is in her 10th year as head coach of the Wildcats she is the winningest coach in the program’s history in terms of wins (192) and is not far off of the best winning percentage in school history as well at .642.

Nebraska: John Cook (San Diego ‘79) is in his 11th year leading the Cornhuskers as he has helped Nebraska maintain its place as one of the nation’s top programs. Cook has taken Nebraska to five Final Four appearances and won two National Championships during his tenure.

Scouting the Cornhuskers
Nebraska is again one of the nation’s elite teams in 2010 picked to win the Big 12 title and boasting four returning All-Americans on the roster. The Cornhuskers are currently ranked No. 3 in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll and receiving 10 first-place votes.

The Cornhuskers have played one of the toughest schedules in the country again with their only loss coming at the hands of then-ranked No. 13 Florida in the five sets at the season opening Runza/AVCA Showcase in Omaha, Neb. The Florida Gators are now the No. 1 team in the nation. Nebraska has wins over Kentucky (then No. 14), Dayton (20), Illinois (3), at Iowa State (11) and Texas (13).

Nebraska is playing an offensive system not seen every day in collegiate volleyball switching to a 4-2 with a pair of All-American setters on the team. Senior Sydney Anderson is joined by coach Cook’s daughter Lauren after she transferred from UCLA where she was AVCA National Freshman of the Year. The 4-2 system enables Nebraska to have the setters rotate in and out with the middle blockers or other hitters to ensure there are always three hitters in the front row giving the ‘Huskers multiple options on the attack and a bigger block defensively. Anderson is averaging 6.05 assists per set while Cook contributes 6.10.

The Cornhuskers have two players pounding out kills at a high rate with accuracy. Right side hitter Lindsey Licht leads the team averaging 3.07 kills a set and is hitting .313. Middle blocker Brooke Delano is having an impressive year posting 2.87 kills and hitting .439 to lead the Big 12 Conference and rank third in the nation. The pair has combined to win a Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week award each, and Delano also has one Defensive Player of the Week honor.

Nebraska has a total of six players averaging at least 2.00 kills a set as the team ranks third in the nation as a whole at 14.87 per set. The ‘Huskers also are a force at the net defensively leading the nation in blocks. Delano ranks fifth individually, and Licht is ranked 57th in the latest NCAA statistics rankings.