Wildcats Set for Second Sunflower Showdown

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats travel to take on in-state rival Kansas on Wednesday night in Lawrence at 6:30 p.m. with K-State looking to get its third straight Big 12 Conference win. After losing three straight following a win at Colorado, the Wildcats have notched wins against No. 23 Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

Wednesday's match will pit the two rivals against each other at a venue the Wildcats have seen success. Since the opening of the Horejsi Family Athletics Center in 1999 on KU's campus, K-State has won all but one meeting in the building with the Jayhawks.

Last season in Lawrence, the Wildcats battled back after dropping the first set to get the win in five sets ultimately ending the match 15-9 in the fifth. This year, the Jayhawks are 5-5 at home with wins coming against Oklahoma and Colorado in league action.

K-State lost to Kansas for just the third time in the Big 12 era in the team's previous meeting this season in Manhattan with the Jayhawks getting the sweep. It also marked the first time the Wildcats have been swept by the Jayhawks in the Big 12 era.

In that match in October, Kansas was led by Allison Mayfield with 14 kills as she hit .333 in the match. The Jayhawks hit .312 as a team in the win while holding the Wildcats to just .164. Vanessa Murray posted 14 kills for K-State and was the lone Wildcat to reach double digits in kills. Libero Lauren Mathewson averaged five digs a set with 15.

On The Airwaves
K-State's match against Texas Tech can be heard on KMAN1350 with Brian Smoller on the call. It can also be heard on the station's Web site www.kman1350.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 will also be available through kuathletics.com. Live video for a fee is also available via KU's Web site.

The Series
The Wildcats lead the all-time series with Kansas 60-38-1 and have dominated since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1996. The Jayhawks have beaten the Wildcats just three times in the Big 12 era including this year's win in Manhattan. Last season, K-State rallied to defeat the Jayhawks in five sets in Lawrence 22-25, 25-19, 25-18, 18-25, 15-9.

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 (181) and winning percentage (.660).

Kansas: Ray Bechard (Fort Hays State '80) is coaching the Jayhawks for the 12th year. He led Kansas to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 2003-05.

Familiar Faces
Kansas State head coach Suzie Fritz will face a coach she is quite familiar with in Kansas' Ray Bechard. Fritz played for Bechard at Barton County Community College for two seasons and coached with him as an assistant on his staff following her playing career at Florida Atlantic.

Scouting the Jayhawks
Since defeating Kansas State in Manhattan on October 17, the Jayhawks are 3-3 with wins over Texas Tech, UMKC and Colorado. Kansas was able to sweep all three of the opponents.

The Jayhawks are led by Allison Mayfield as she is averaging 3.59 kills per set and hitting .191. Mayfield also contributes 2.07 digs a set to help the Kansas defense. She is joined by Karina Garlington as one of the team's top offensive weapons as Garlington is posting 3.35 kills a set.

Paige Mazour is the team's most efficient attacker hitting for a .293 clip while averaging 2.13 kills. Mazour also is one of the team's top blockers at 0.72 per set.

Kansas is 5-5 at home this season and 2-4 in Big 12 play in its own gym. The Jayhawks have not won a conference match at home since the early portion of league action when the Jayhawks defeated Oklahoma in five sets the second week of Big 12 play and Colorado the following week in four sets.

Catching up with the 'Cats
K-State has won two consecutive Big 12 Conference matches riding the momentum from its first win over a ranked opponent since August 24, 2007, last Wednesday. The Wildcats defeated No. 23 Texas A&M in five sets rallying back from 11-6 in the final set to get the win. Following the win over the Aggies, the Wildcats defeated Texas Tech 3-1 on Sunday in a make-up date after the match was postponed earlier in the season due to a flu outbreak among Tech players.

In the win against Tech, the Wildcats hit .301 and relied on redshirt freshman Kathleen Ludwig and senior Kelsey Chipman. Ludwig had a team-high 17 kills while Chipman posted 13 and hit .522 in the match. Ludwig hit an impressive .433 from her opposite position to guide K-State to the victory.

Libero Lauren Mathewson maintained her impressive run of the last few weeks by backing up her school-record 41 digs against Texas A&M with 19 against Texas Tech in four sets. She averaged 6.67 digs a set during those two matches and earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week. She has propelled herself into second in the Big 12 in digs with her recent tear.

- k-statesports.com -