Wildcats Looking to Tame Tigers on Road

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats start a week of road trips at Missouri on Wednesday night to take on the Tigers at 6:30 p.m. The Wildcats are looking to sweep the season series against the Tigers after defeating Missouri in Manhattan two weeks ago 3-1.

In that match, K-State saw strong performances from a number of players in the win over Missouri highlighted by the career-high 22 digs by defensive specialist Caitlyn Donahue. Setter Soriana Pacheco posted a double-double with 49 assists and a career-high 16 digs. Opposite Kathleen Ludwig put a complete match together to lead the Wildcats with 15 kills while hitting .256. Ludwig also added eight digs.

Three other players joined Ludwig with double digits in kills as Kelsey Chipman shined with 13 kills and .394 hitting percentage without an attack error. She also tallied five blocks and two aces. JuliAnne Chisholm and Vanessa Murray each added 12 kills to the Wildcat effort for the win.

Missouri is pushing to "Bust the House" on Wednesday by offering tickets for just $1. The ticket promotion is an attempt to raise the curtains blocking the upper ring of seats in the Hearnes Center with a large crowd.

On The Airwaves
K-State's match against Missouri can be heard on with 1350 KMAN with Brian Smoller 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. Live stats are also available through www.mutigers.com.

The Series
The Wildcats lead the all-time series with Missouri 40-28 holding a 22-5 advantage since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1996. K-State has won the last five 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. This season, K-State won the first meeting 3-1 in Manhattan.

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 (179) and winning percentage (.663).

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 13-9 so far this season and currently stand in seventh place in the competitive Big 12 Conference.

Missouri is led by junior Julianna Klein as she is pounding out 3.22 kills per set and helping on defense with 1.91 digs a set as well. Klein is joined by Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year in Paola Ampudia who has had the hot hand lately pounding out 35 kills in a win against Kansas on Saturday.

Ampudia is now averaging 3.37 kills per set while hitting .206 and received Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors for her showing at KU. Ampudia tallied a double-double in the match also adding 11 digs.

Libero Caitlyn Vann is among the conference leaders in digs averaging 4.35. She is climbing the career digs list at Missouri with 1,215 and is just a junior.

Missouri has remained two different teams following its loss in Manhattan. The Tigers are still struggling on the road where they are 2-5 and 1-4 in Big 12 play. Meanwhile, the Tigers are 8-1 at home where their only loss has been to No. 7 Nebraska.

Catching up with the 'Cats
K-State battled closely with no. 23 Baylor in its last match falling in four sets. The Wildcats jumped on the Bears early getting the first set win 25-18. After building an early lead in the second set, the Wildcats saw that disappear with Baylor pushing through to even the match 25-16. Baylor would hold off the Wildcats in the third set before a dramatic fourth that required extra points to declare a winner.

Baylor led 14-10, but the Wildcats fought back into the set and led 21-19 before Baylor was able to retaliate and force the match into extra points. K-State could have forced a pivotal fifth set leading 28-27, but Baylor scored three straight points to win the set and the match.

Alex Attack
Freshman middle blocker Alex Muff has put together back-to-back matches with stellar performances for the Wildcats. In a win at Colorado, Muff had her breakout party with 11 kills and .435 hitting percentage and added two block assists. Next time on the court, Muff hit .308 with five kills and had a career-high five block assists.

- k-statesports.com -