Wildcats Set to Take on Tigers

Dakota Kaufman

Oct. 29, 2010

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State hits the road this weekend to take on the Missouri Tigers on Saturday. The Wildcats and Tigers take to the court at Hearnes Center at 6:30 p.m. with the Wildcats looking to get back on the winning track. Missouri got the best of K-State in the first meeting between the two teams this season when the Tigers got the win 3-1. The Wildcats are coming down the final stretch of Big 12 Conference play with eight matches remaining -- four on the road and four at home.

In their last trip to Columbia, the Wildcats fell in three sets to Missouri in a series of tightly contested sets 25-20, 25-21, 25-18. K-State leads the series 22-7 in the Big 12 era with the Wildcats dominating in the early years of the conference. Missouri has won the last two and won four straight from 2005-06.

K-State enters the match after a 3-0 loss to No. 12 Iowa State at home on Wednesday. The Wildcats battled closely with the Cyclones in the second set forcing extra points before falling 30-28. During the match, senior libero Lauren Mathewson moved into second in career digs at K-State.

Missouri is coming off a tight sweep of Kansas with two of the sets decided by just two points. A win by the Tigers would be just the second time Missouri has won back-to-back matches in conference play as Missouri currently stands 6-6 in league play and fifth in the standings.

On The Airwaves
Saturday’s match can be heard on KMAN 1350 with Brian Smoller calling the action.

Live stats will be available through mutigers.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.

The Series
Kansas State has controlled the series with Missouri since Suzie Fritz took over the program in 2001. The Wildcats lead the all-time series 40-32, and Fritz is 13-6 against the Tigers. In the Big 12 era, the Wildcats are 22-7 against Missouri.

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 .635.

Missouri: Wayne Kreklow (Drake ‘80) is in his 11th year at Missouri and sixth as the head coach. He and his wife Susan have served as head coaches at Missouri since 2000 and averaged 20 wins a season in that time.

Scouting the Tigers
Missouri returned a number of key players from last year’s squad and welcomed one of the top high school recruits at the setter position as well. Senior outside hitter Julianna Klein has been one of Missouri’s top players her whole career and is moving up the record books at the school ranked sixth in career kills. Paola Ampudia made an immediate impact for the team last year as a junior college transfer and has continued her strong play for the Tigers this year, and senior libero Caitlyn Vann has been a consistent contributor on the back row for Missouri entering the season with a chance to break the school’s career digs record.

Molly Kreklow, niece of coach Wayne Kreklow, was one of the nation’s top recruits and earned the starting setter position. She was selected as the Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year. Kreklow currently leads the conference in assists per set averaging 11.68 in conference play to guide Missouri’s offense.

Kreklow is not the only Tiger among the conference leaders. Ampudia ranks third in kills averaging 4.30 per set in league action and Klein is second in aces per set.

The Tigers enter Saturday’s contest after sweep the Kansas Jayhawks at home on Wednesday. The sets were decided by an average of 2.7 points with the first and third going to Missouri by the minimum two points. The third set also went to extra points with the Tigers winning the match 25-23, 25-21, 28-26. Three Tigers reached double digits in kills during the match led by Ampudia’s 13. Klein added 11 and Brittney Brimmage posted 10. Vann had an impressive 26 digs in the sweep, and the Tiger defense stuffed 13 blocks.