Wildcats Host Bears Saturday

Kaitlynn Pelger

Nov. 11, 2010

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State returns home on Saturday to take on the Baylor Bears in one of just three remaining home matches of the season at 7 p.m. The Wildcats will look to continue its strong play from the last two matches that saw a victory over Texas Tech and a tightly contested match with No. 5 Nebraska on Wednesday.

Baylor is coming into the match after falling to No. 7 Texas in four sets on the Bears’ home court. Baylor claimed the first set over the Longhorns and held a large lead late in the third but could not hold on as Texas rallied for the comeback and followed with a win in the fourth.

K-State fell in straight sets to its rival Nebraska on Wednesday night in the final match played against the Cornhuskers as a conference opponent. After a disappointing first set, the Wildcats rebounded and forced extra points in the second and took the third to the limit as well losing 25-9, 27-25, 25-23.

The match will feature two of the top liberos in Big 12 history as Lauren Mathewson and Caitlyn Trice take to the floor. The two seniors both rank among the dig leaders in conference play this season. Trice is ranked 24th in the nation overall and fifth in conference play. Mathewson is second career digs in K-State history with 1,651 and is also ranked fifth in Big 12 history. She currently is averaging 5.04 digs a set in conference action.

Saturday’s match will be Community Night for senior JuliAnne Chisholm and Lauren Mathewson. Fans from their hometowns of Hillsboro and Kansas City can get discounted tickets when they purchase online at kstatesports.com. For more information and a promotions code to enter please contact the K-State Ticket Office at 800-221-2287.

On The Airwaves
Saturday’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 kstatesports.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 holds the advantage in the all-time series with Baylor 21-9 with the teams meeting just once prior to the Big 12 era. Head coach Suzie Fritz is 14-5 against the Bears after the Wildcats were bested by Baylor in both matches last season and in their previous meeting this season. It marks the first time Baylor has won three straight against the Wildcats.

If the match goes the distance, the Wildcats may have the edge holding a 6-1 record against Baylor in five-set matches. The Bears have also only swept K-State twice -- their first meeting with the Wildcats and this season.

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 .631.

Baylor: Jim Barnes (McNeese State ‘94) is in his seventh year leading the Baylor Bears. Last season, he coached the Bears to their best finish in school history reaching the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. He also saw Taylor Barnes and Anna Breyfogle become the school’s first All-Americans in their senior seasons last year.

Scouting the Bears
Baylor has a tandem of middle blockers helping the Bears to 13.38 kills a set in conference play. Elizabeth Graham is averaging 3.04 kills a set in Big 12 action to lead the team and is hitting for a .326 percentage. Torri Campbell adds 2.55 kills in conference play.

Graham has emerged as one of the top defenders at the net this season in the league as well as she is averaging 1.29 blocks in conference matches and 1.36 overall to rank second. In Baylor’s last match, she had four blocks in a loss to No. 7 Texas while adding 12 kills.

The Bears have senior outside hitter Ashlie Christenson back and she is again providing the team with a spark. Christenson has missed 13 sets in conference play this season and is averaging 2.72 kills. She also contributes 2.37 digs a set in conference play to make an impact on the back row. In Baylor’s loss to Texas on Wednesday, Christenson posted a double-double as she led the team with 15 kills and 10 digs.

Baylor is also running a version of the 6-2 offense with two setters. Junior Brittany Ridenour and sophomore transfer Kate Harris share the duties.

The Bears also boast one of the better defenses in the nation this season averaging 18.72 digs a set heading into action this week. That mark ranks third in the nation trailing just Yale and Valparaiso. Senior libero Caitlyn Trice is averaging 5.25 digs a set this season to rank 24th in the nation and lead the Big 12. In conference play, she is averaging 4.79 to rank fourth just behind K-State’s Lauren Mathewson.

Catching up with the ‘Cats
Kansas State recently snapped an eight-match losing streak defeating Texas Tech (11/3) in four sets. 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.

In their last match, the Wildcats fell to rival Nebraska on the road in the final time the two teams will meet as conference foes with Nebraska joining the Big Ten Conference next year. The Cornhuskers got the sweep, but the Wildcats made it an exciting match worthy of the long rivalry’s history. K-State forced extra points in the second set falling 27-25 and fought off three match points before dropping the third 25-23.

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 1,651 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 1,834. Mathewson is fifth, and Nebraska’s Kayla Banwarth is sixth with 1,601.

Mathewson posted her sixth 20-dig match of the season against Texas Tech (11/3) 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 four matches with 19 digs -- all of which came in three-set matches. Mathewson currently ranks fifth in the conference averaging 4.79 digs a set and has 436 digs on the year to rank ninth in school history for a single 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. 

“Por”ing it on
Freshman outside hitter Lilla Porubek has emerged as a go-to player for the Wildcats late this season. Her kill production has seen significant improvement, and she recently pounded out a new career-high nine kills at No. 5 Nebraska on Wednesday. In the loss to Nebraska, Porubek had nine kills and led the team with 27 attempts. She has posted six or more kills in three of K-State’s last four matches with seven against No. 12 Iowa State (10/27) and six in the win over Texas Tech (11/3).

The native of Budapest, Hungary, missed the first two weeks of the season to represent her country on the Hungarian Junior National Team at the 2010 European Championships.

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.