Wildcats Take Momentum on Road

Dakota Kaufman

Nov. 9, 2010

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State returns to action on Wednesday following its scheduled weekend bye on Saturday to take on No. 5 Nebraska on the road at 7 p.m. The Wildcats will head to Lincoln to face their rival Cornhuskers for the final time in Big 12 Conference action.

Nebraska is undefeated at home this year where the Cornhuskers have defeated a number of strong opponents. In its home tournament Nebraska bested No. 20 Dayton and No. 3 Illinois. Nebraska has also beaten ranked Texas and Iowa State teams in Memorial Coliseum.

K-State fell in straight sets to Nebraska the first time these two teams met this season. The Cornhuskers got the sweep 25-19, 25-21, 25-18. The Wildcats spread their offense around but could not slow down the combination of Brooke Delano and Hannah Werth. Delano pounded out 12 kills for a .417 percentage and Werth hit .474 with 10 kills and a double-double as she had 10 digs.

Wednesday’s match will feature two of the top liberos in Big 12 history as Lauren Mathewson and Kayla Banwarth go head-to-head for a final time as well. The two seniors both rank among the career dig leaders in conference history. Banwarth recently became the career digs leader in Nebraska history with 1,585 and ranks sixth on the Big 12 list. Mathewson is second in K-State history with 1,632 and is one spot ahead of Banwarth on the Big 12 list.

On The Tube
Wednesday’s match will be available on television in a number of markets. NET will air the game locally in Nebraska with the match being carried on Metro Sports as well. CBS College Sports will also be carrying the broadcast. Metro Sports is available to fans in the Kansas City area with Time Warner Cable. CBS College Sports is available on DirecTV channel 613 and channel 152 on Dish Network.

On The Airwaves
Wednesday’s match can be heard on KMAN 1350 with Rob Voelker calling the action. The match will also be available through 1350kman.com and kstatesports.com with live audio streaming.

Live stats will be available through huskers.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
K-State has defeated Nebraska just three times all-time in the series with the Cornhuskers leading 79-3. Two of K-State’s wins have come under the direction of Suzie Fritz with the Wildcats sweeping the series in 2003 en route to the Big 12 Conference title. All three of K-State’s wins have come in the Big 12 era, and the Wildcats have never swept the Cornhuskers. The Wildcats are just one of three programs to have won more than once on Nebraska’s home floor.

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 (193) and is not far off of the best winning percentage in school history as well at .633.

Nebraska: John Cook (San Diego ‘79) is in his 11th year leading the Cornhuskers as he has helped Nebraska maintain its place as one of the nation’s top programs. Cook has taken Nebraska to five Final Four appearances and won two National Championships during his tenure.

Scouting the Cornhuskers
Nebraska is again among the nation’s elite teams in 2010. The Cornhuskers enter Wednesday’s contest ranked No. 5 in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll and are 22-2 on the year and stand first in the Big 12 Conference race. The Cornhuskers are a perfect 10-0 at home this season as well with wins over four ranked teams.

Leading the Cornhuskers this year is middle blocker Brooke Delano and right side hitter Lindsey Licht with 2.94 kills per set from each. Delano is one of the most efficient hitters in the nation as she is hitting at an impressive .437 clip on the year to rank second in the Big 12 and first in the nation -- Jennifer Doris of Texas is not eligible for the NCAA lead based on number of attempts per set.

Running the unique 6-2 offense this season with two All-American setters on the squad after the transfer of coach John Cook’s daughter Lauren from UCLA, the Huskers are spreading the offense around with five players averaging more than 2.00 kills a set and none ranking among the Top 10 in the Big 12. As a team, however, Nebraska is first in the conference in kills a set and fourth in the nation.

Setters Sydney Anderson and Lauren Cook direct the Huskers to their offensive numbers running the mentioned 6-2 offense. Anderson is averaging 5.99 assists per set and Cook averages 6.35. Rotating the setters in with middle blockers and other hitters allows the Huskers to have three hitters in the front row at all times providing more options on the attack and a bigger blocking presence.

The 6-2 system has seen an impact on the blocking as well with Nebraska averaging 3.10 blocks a set to lead the nation. Delano leads the Big 12 with a 1.53 average for fourth in the nation. Teammates Jordan Wilberger (1.20) and Lindsey Licht (1.13) join her on the Big 12’s top 10 list this season.

Catching up with the ‘Cats
Kansas State snapped an eight-match losing streak last week against Texas Tech. The Wildcats’ last win prior came at Texas A&M on October 2 when K-State swept the Aggies off their home floor in Reid Arena. All eight of those losses in the drought were sweeps as well.

Helping lead K-State to the win over the Red Raiders ending the losing streak was freshman middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger. The Olathe South product posted 16 kills to go with her five digs and four blocks. Freshman outside hitter Dakota Kaufman also had a strong showing with 10 kills and five blocks.

Senior libero Lauren Mathewson posted her sixth 20-dig match of the season to tie for 10th most in a single season. Her 27 digs solidified her spot as No. 2 in career digs at K-Sate creating more cushion between her and third place. Mathewson has 417 digs on the year to rank 10th for a single season as well. She now owns three of the top seasons in school history. Her 1,632 digs also rank her among the Big 12 Conference career leaders.

Mathewson Cracks Big 12 Career List
Senior libero Lauren Mathewson has put her name in the record book a number of times during her career at K-State, and she now has solidified her place in Big 12 Conference history. Mathewson’s 1,632 career digs rank second in K-State history and she is now fifth in Big 12 history.

With four current liberos in the conference starting for three and some four years at their respective schools the career Top 10 list in the Big 12 had quite a bit of shuffling this season. Iowa State’s Ashley Mass surpassed K-State’s Angie Lastra for first on the list, and Missouri’s Caitlyn Vann stands fourth with 1,810. Mathewson is fifth, and Nebraska’s Kayla Banwarth is sixth with 1,585.

Mathewson posted her sixth 20-dig match of the season the last time out to tie her for 10th in a single season in school history in the category. It also gives her 21 for her career to tie for second with Laura Downey. She also has had three matches with 19 digs -- all of which came in three-set matches. Mathewson currently ranks fifth in the conference averaging 4.74 digs a set and has 417 digs on the year to rank 10th in school history for a single season.

Packed with Purple
Ahearn Field House has been rocking this season with an average attendance of more than 2,100 fans. K-State fans have always been loyal to their Wildcats when it comes to volleyball with the fans ranking in the Top 30 in national attendance regularly. This season K-State is currently 14th in the nation in attendance and third in the Big 12 Conference behind only Nebraska (2) and Texas (9). Missouri (17), Iowa State (20), Texas A&M (21), Oklahoma (41), Kansas (44) and Baylor (46) all rank among the schools averaging more than 800 in attendance as of matches played through November 7 as tracked by Diane Nordstrom of Wisconsin.

After recent renovations to the seating were completed, the fans have come to watch the Wildcats play in droves with all but one home match reaching 1,300 in attendance. In the Big 12 Conference opener against Kansas, the Wildcat faithful filled the rafters with 3,160 fans to cheer the team to victory. K-Staters then packed 3,695 fans into Ahearn for the match against Missouri (9/25). That is the third largest attendance for a home match since the 2003 season and is among the most attended matches in the nation to date this season.

Academic All-District
The Kansas State volleyball team has a long history of combining success on the court with success in the classroom. This year’s senior captains JuliAnne Chisholm and Lauren Mathewson added to that list of classroom achievements as they were each selected to the CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District VII Team.

Chisholm was named to the first team for the second consecutive year making her eligible for Academic All-America voting. She currently has a cumulative GPA of 3.97 in athletic training/pre-med and life sciences with a secondary major in gerontology.

Mathewson was voted to the third team for her first Academic All-District honor of her career. She holds a 3.84 GPA majoring in business administration and will graduate in December. Mathewson also has a pair of Academic All-Big 12 First Team awards on her list of academic accolades receiving the award each year she has been eligible.

The Wildcats have now had 16 Academic All-District selections under head coach Suzie Fritz in her 10 seasons leading the program.  

Wildcat Wall
Kansas State has traditionally been one of the better blocking teams in the Big 12 Conference. After falling from the top four in the league the last two seasons, K-State is back near the top averaging 2.43 blocks a set to rank third the Big 12 and 41st in the nation. The Wildcats have posted 10 or more blocks in eight matches this season, including 13 at No. 5 Hawaii and 15 against 2009 NCAA Tournament team Georgia Tech.

The Wildcats top four blockers include two sophomores and two true freshmen. One of those blockers ranks among the national leaders as well with sophomore Alex Muff standing 34th (1.26).