Wildcats Start Lone Star Stint

Tristan McCarty

Oct. 19, 2010


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MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State looks to snap a four-match losing streak on Wednesday when the Wildcats travel to take on the Baylor Bears at 7 p.m. in Waco, Texas. The Wildcats begin an extended road trip in the Lone Star State as they will drive south down I-35 to Austin to take on the No. 10 Texas Longhorns on Friday.

The Wildcats and Bears find themselves in a four-way tie for seventh in the conference standings along with Texas A&M and Colorado. The last time these two teams met Baylor got the best of K-State in Ahearn Field House in four sets. K-State hopes to relive some of the magic from the 2008 road win in five sets over Baylor that saw the Wildcats win an extended fifth set 21-19 in an exciting conclusion after dropping the first two sets to the Bears.

Wednesday's match is guaranteed to end a losing streak for someone as Baylor enters the match having dropped each of its last two matches to Kansas and Missouri and has a home record of 3-5 this season. The Bears are winless at home in Big 12 Conference matches so far this season with losses to No. 10 Iowa State, No. 4 Nebraska, Oklahoma and Kansas.

On The Airwaves
Wednesday's match can be heard on KMAN 1350 with Rob Voelker calling the action.

Live stats will be available through kstatesports.com and baylorbears.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. Live video streaming is available through Baylor's site for a fee.

The Series
K-State holds the advantage in the all-time series with Baylor 21-8 with the teams meeting just once prior to the Big 12 era. Head coach Suzie Fritz is 14-4 against the Bears after the Wildcats were bested by Baylor in both matches last season. Baylor has never won three in a row over K-State.

If the match goes the distance, the Wildcats may have the edge holding a 6-1 record against Baylor in five-set matches. The Bears have also only swept K-State once in their first meeting with the Wildcats.

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 .640.

Baylor: Jim Barnes (McNeese State `94) is in his seventh year leading the Baylor Bears. Last season, he coached the Bears to their best finish in school history reaching the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. He also saw Taylor Barnes and Anna Breyfogle become the school's first All-Americans in their senior seasons last year.

Scouting the Bears
Baylor is winless at home in conference play this season. To the Bears' defense those four losses came to No. 10 Iowa State, No. 4 Nebraska, an Oklahoma team receiving votes and Kansas following two road games. Baylor also dropped a home match to SMU in the opening weekend of the season during Baylor's home tournament.

The Bears are replacing starting setter Taylor Barnes and middle blocker Ann Breyfogle this season after the pair became the school's first All-Americans last season and led Baylor to the Sweet 16. Statistically, the Bears appear to be using two setters interchangeably in Kate Harris, a transfer from Missouri, and Brittany Ridenour. Harris leads the team averaging 6.09 assists per set compared to Ridenour's 4.88.

At middle blocker the Bears are led by the tandem of Torri Campbell and Elizabeth Graham. Campbell is pounding out 2.70 kills a set and hitting .295 while Graham is hitting .330 to lead the team and averages 2.57 kills in her second season with the Bears after transferring from Texas. Graham also is 11th in the nation in blocks at 1.42 a set.

Ashlie Christenson leads the team in kills with 3.08 a set from the right side. She also is hitting .194 on the season and is posting an impressive 2.51 digs a set for a hitter and is second on the team in aces.

The Bears have one of the top defenses in the nation averaging nearly 19 digs a set at 18.79 and holding opponents to just a .169 hitting percentage. The 18.79 digs a set are first in the conference and all of Division I. Libero Caitlyn Trice leads the Big 12 in digs averaging 5.35 a set - nearly half a dig more than second place - and is first in the nation. Trice ranks 23rd in the nation as well and is  In conference matches, Baylor averages 19.12 digs a set an impressive 2.65 more than Oklahoma in second. Trice is third in league action at 4.70 digs.

Catching up with the `Cats
Kansas State looks to avoid extending its longest losing streak of the season after dropping four straight. The Wildcats have faced three teams ranked in the Top 15 in that span (No. 3 Nebraska, No. 11 Texas and No. 13 Iowa State). The Wildcats have lost all four of those matches in straight sets as well with the fourth match coming against an Oklahoma team receiving votes in the Top 25 poll.

Senior libero Lauren Mathewson is inching closer to Kim Zschau for second on the career digs list at K-State. Her 19 digs against Nebraska on Saturday give her 1,544 and she needs just 35 to pass Zschau. Mathewson's 329 digs this season are also approaching the list of best individual seasons. She needs 58 to move past Zschau for 10th in a single season. Mathewson already owns the fourth and fifth spots on the list with 514 digs last season and 505 in 2008.

Head Coach Suzie Fritz is also approaching a milestone. The 10th year coach needs just eight wins to reach the 200 plateau. The Wildcats have averaged 20.33 wins a season under Fritz as she entered the year 17 wins shy of the 200 mark. She already has the most wins in school history and is just a few percentage points behind for highest winning percentage in school history as well.