No. 14 KSU Takes on Texas Tech Wednesday

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State will play its first home match in over a week as the Wildcats welcome the Texas Tech Red Raiders to Ahearn Field House for a Wednesday contest. K-State (14-5; 6-3 Big 12) sits at fourth-place in the Big 12 Conference, as the Red Raiders are 10th with a 7-11 overall record; 1-8 Big 12. The event marks the midway point in conference play as Texas Tech is the final Big 12 opponent to face the Wildcats in the regular season slate.

With a 3-0 win at Iowa State on Saturday, the Wildcats achieved a 14th-ranked status with the release of the Oct. 15 CSTV/AVCA Coaches Top 25 poll. The ranking is the highest for a K-State squad since 14th-place in the 2004 preseason poll, 11th in the 2003 final poll and fifth in the last regular-season poll of 2003 on Dec. 8th.

First serve from Ahearn Field House is set for 7 p.m on Wednesday. The match will be broadcast on 1350 KMAN and at www.1350kman.com with Brian Smoller calling the action. Live stats and a complete recap can be found online at Kansas State’s official athletic website, www.kstatesports.com.

Kansas State Pre-Match Report
The 14th-ranked Kansas State squad enters Wednesday’s match after earning a 3-0 victory in Ames, Iowa, against Iowa State, marking the first sweep on the Cyclones’ home court since 2000. The win was the first after losing consecutive matches for the only time this season (at Nebraska and vs. Texas). After defeating the Cyclones, the Wildcats gained sole possession of fourth place in the Big 12 standings with a 6-3 conference record; K-State improved to 14-5 on the season. The match also marked K-State’s return to .200-or-better hitting. In the first 13 matches of the season, the Cats hit over .200 percent in 11 matches, including eight straight matches. In the last six matches, K-State has two contests of hitting over .200 including the .237 hitting average at Iowa State (53 kills, 20 errors, 139 attempts).

The Wildcats took control of the match in games one and two and held back the battling Cyclones in the third to win in scores of 30-24, 30-25, 30-27. Paving the way to victory for K-State was junior Nataly Korobkova, who finished with her fifth career double-double. The Krasnoyarsk, Russia, transfer tallied 18 kills on a .361 percentage and 10 digs along with a service ace and three block assists. Rita Liliom was second on the team with 14 kills on .216 hitting and two service aces.

Sophomore Kelsey Chipman led the team in blocks with seven, while she also recorded nine kills and a career-high three aces. Stacey Spiegelberg registered a match-high 46 assists, and senior Angie Lastra led with 23 digs, her 26th career match of 20 or more, to tie for third most digs in a three-game match in school history.

Korobkova continues to pace the Cats’ attack with 283 season kills to average 4.35 per game, fifth in the Big 12. Liliom closely follows with 249 through 69 games to average 3.61. K-State averages 15.74 kills per game, fourth in the Big 12, while hitting at a percentage of .259, also fourth in the conference. The Wildcats allow opponents to hit at .186 which ranks third lowest among league competitors.

Stacey Spiegelberg is averaging 12.90 assists per game with 890 total this season. She also leads the service aces category with 32 through 69 games to average 0.46 per game. The Overland Park, Kan., native ranks third in the conference for assists and fourth in aces.

After posting 23 digs against Iowa State, Angie Lastra brought her season mark to 296 with an average of 4.29, up from 4.14 the previous week. She is fourth in the Big 12, while the team, averaging 13.96 digs per game, sits at 10th.

Kelsey Chipman took the top spot in blocks over the weekend with seven against Iowa State and now has put back 102 on the year (six solo, 96 assisted). She is now second in the Big 12 rankings for all matches and sits first in conference matches only with an average of 1.59. Megan Farr has 99 blocks this season to average 1.43, third in the Big 12.

As a team, Kansas State leads the conference in aces with 155 and a 2.25 average. Nebraska ranks second in average with 1.71, while Texas A&M has the second most amount at 108. The Wildcats have a slightly higher average through 34 Big 12 games with 2.35 per game and 80 total. Nebraska is again second in average with 1.93 per game and in amount with 52.

At Stake
Kansas State is ranked 14th, up from 16th in the previous poll and marking the highest spot this season... K-State is 7-3 in the last 10 contests and has a 6-2 home record... K-State’s ace streak continues and sits at 274 straight matches of at least one service ace... The Wildcats have six matches of 10 or more aces this year... K-State has won the last four over Texas Tech and is 10-1 in the last 11... KSU leads the series 18-8... K-State is 13-1 against unranked teams in 2007, with only loss against Oklahoma... The last and only KSU home loss to Texas Tech was Nov. 20, 2004 (3-2)... The Cats have held 10 of their last 12 opponents under .250 hitting.

Scouting Report: Texas Tech
Texas Tech, who started the season at 6-3 prior to conference play, have hit a rut since Big 12 season started. The Red Raiders won their first match of conference action with a 3-2 victory over Colorado a month ago. Since then, Texas Tech has struggled to pick up another win and is currently on an eight-match losing streak. In that time, the Red Raiders have been swept by Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma and have lost in four to Texas, Iowa State and Baylor.

Among Big 12 competitors, the Red Raiders rank in the bottom three in each category. They sit at ninth with 2.25 blocks per game and 1.17 service aces per game. Tech is 10th in hitting percentage (.199), assists (12.49 apg) and kills (13.81 kpg). They finish last in the conference for opponent hitting percentage (.242) and digs (13.61 dpg).

Michelle Flores paces the Red Raiders in kills with 218 this season to average 3.11 per game. Alicia Ostmeyer averages 2.64 kills per game after notching 182 through 69 games.

Assists leader Emily Ziegler has 715 on the year with a 10.67 average, ninth in the Big 12. The senior Red Raider also has the highest hitting percentage of the squad with a hitting clip of .356 with 91 kills on 219 attempts. She is tied for second with 16 service aces and an average of 0.24 per game.

Defensively, Tech is led by sophomore Jenn Harrell who has posted 279 digs and averages 3.99 per game, seventh in the Big 12. Junior transfer  out of Hutchinson CC Brandi Hood leads the Red Raiders in blocks with 65 (12 solo and 53 assisted) to average 0.96 per game.

In their last match, the Red Raiders fell to Oklahoma 3-0 by scores of 30-28, 30-26, 30-18. As the Sooners finished with hitting of .169, the Red Raiders fought to remain on the plus side for hitting and finished with .060 after 36 team kills on 117 attempts. Texas Tech finished without an attacker in double-digit kills as Flores led with nine.

Primary setter Ziegler was out for the match and Kourtney Dunnam filled in to notch 31 assists. Harrel and Amy Gandy each had 11 digs to lead the squad, while Gandy added defensive numbers with a team-high six blocks.

Flashback: vs. Texas Tech
During the 2006 season, Texas Tech sat as the only school that Kansas State captured the home-and-home series from. The Wildcats went into the first match in Manhattan, Kan., still searching for a conference win and came out with the 3-1 victory (30-22, 24-30, 32-30, 30-19). K-State finished with 67 kills on .250 hitting.

Angie Lastra posted a double-double with 19 kills and 15 digs and also recorded three service aces. Sandy Werner paced the squad in kills with 20 on .217 hitting. Megan Kroeker and Megan Farr each notched 11 kills. Stacey Spiegelberg aided in the offensive effort with 57 assists and two aces and added nine digs. Lauren Rosenthal had an 18-dig effort, while Farr put back eight blocks.

In the second meeting on Nov. 22 in Lubbock, Texas, the Wildcats won in similar fashion with a 3-1 score in games of 29-31, 30-24, 30-21, 30-18. K-State cruised to the win on its best hitting in a Big 12 match on the year with a hitting percentage of .324 with 67 kills and 19 errors on 148 attempts. The Cats recorded 56 digs, 14 blocks and nine aces.

Angie Lastra posted 21 kills and six digs, while Megan Farr added 15 and Sandy Werner tallied 10. Stacey Spiegelberg recorded a double-double with 58 assists and 10 digs, while also adding five aces and four blocks. Lauren Rosenthal had 20 digs, as Kelsey Chipman and Farr each put back six blocks.