Wildcats Ready for Rematch with Sooners

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats conclude their week of road trips this weekend as they travel to take on the Oklahoma Sooners at 2 p.m. Saturday. It will be a Wildcat Weekend in Norman on Saturday with the K-State football team taking on the Sooners at 6 p.m. as well.

Oklahoma is offering a discounted ticket for just $3 to fans with football tickets. McCasland Field House is conveniently located directly north of Memorial Stadium for fans wanting to take in all the exciting K-State vs. OU action.

The last time these two teams met, the Sooners got the best of the Wildcats in Manhattan in four sets in a defensive battle. In just four sets of action, Oklahoma tallied 101 digs while K-State had 93 and neither team hit .170. Oklahoma's 101 digs were just nine shy of tying the most by a K-State opponent in a four-set match.

Both teams had two players post 20-plus digs as Mathewson led K-State with 22 joined by Caitlyn Donahue with 21. Oklahoma's libero Maria Fernanda had 23 digs and setter Brianne Barker had 24. Oklahoma also had three players 14 digs, and K-State had one with 16 and another with 12.

On The Airwaves
K-State's match against Oklahoma can be heard exclusively on www.kstatesports.com with Brian Smoller calling the action from McCasland Field House in Norman.


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.soonersports.com.

The Series
This is the 72nd meeting between the Wildcats and Sooners. Oklahoma leads the all-time series 45-25-1 having dominated the matchups during the Big Eight era and winning the last matchup. Since the inception of the Big 12, K-State has turned the series in its favor winning 19 of 26 matches including a 14-match winning streak from 1999-2005.

K-State won both matches last season against Oklahoma and came up with one of its most impressive comebacks on the road against the Sooners. Trailing 0-2 at Oklahoma last year, the Wildcats faced match point in the third set but battled back to win the set 26-24 and keep the match alive. K-State won the fourth set 25-20 and claimed the match with a 15-9 victory in the fifth. Libero Lauren Mathewson tallied 30 digs in the come-from-behind win while three Wildcats posted 12 or more kills.

At Oklahoma last year, K-State got the victory 3-2 in a dramatic comeback after losing the first two sets and even facing match point in the third. The Wildcats rallied back to win 26-24 in the third and took the match winning 25-20 and 15-9. Libero Lauren Mathewson tallied a career-high 30 digs in the victory.

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).

Oklahoma: Santiago Restrepo (East Stroudsburg '86) is leading the Sooners for his sixth season and has helped rebuild the program since his arrival. Restrepo was the 2006 Big 12 Coach of the Year and CVU.com National Coach of the Year.

Scouting the Sooners
This match will pit K-State against another team receiving votes in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll as Oklahoma has won three of its last four matches including wins over No. 19 Baylor and No. 21 Texas A&M. The Sooners got those wins in the middle of a five-match stretch where they played ranked opponents falling to No. 14 Iowa State, No. 2 Texas and No. 5 Nebraska.

The Sooners are led by right side hitter Suzy Boulavsky with 2.77 kills per set and a .228 hitting percentage. She is digging 1.03 balls a set along with averaging 0.75 blocks. Middle blocker Sarah Freudenrich is hitting .316 and leads the team in blocks with 1.12 per set to rank fifth in the Big 12.

Oklahoma is a solid team defensively as a four of players are digging nearly three balls a set. Libero Maria Fernanda leads with 4.70 per set and ranks third in the Big 12. Outside hitter Bridget Laplante also is among the conference leaders averaging 3.44 digs. Setter Brianne Barker is averaging 3.35 digs and Caitlin Higgins is right behind them at 2.96 digs a set.

With that defense, the Sooners are allowing opponents to hit just .150 against them and are also blocking 2.29 blocks per set to add to the defensive effort and rank fifth in the conference in that category. The opponent hitting percentage ranks fourth.

Oklahoma is 4-2 at home this season -- all in conference play as the Sooners did not play any home matches in nonconference play.

Catching up with the 'Cats
K-State fell to Missouri in three sets on the road earlier this week as the Wildcats could not slow the Tigers on offense. The Wildcats hit .215 for the match -- higher than their season average -- but their defense could not stop Paola Ampudia and the Tigers as they hit .333.

JuliAnne Chisholm was the only Wildcat to reach double digits in kills with 10 and middle blocker Kelsey Chipman had nine kills and a .400 hitting percentage.

The match also was the second in 340 matches without an ace. Last season K-State had its NCAA-record streak of 297 matches with an ace snapped against Liberty on September 13, 2008, and then started a fresh streak that lasted 41 matches until Wednesday's loss at Missouri.

- k-statesports.com -