Wildcats Host No. 4 Longhorns

MANHATTAN, Kan. The Wildcats look to give coach Suzie Fritz her next win after she became the winningest coach in school history Wednesday against Colorado. Kansas State plays host to No. 4 Texas at 7 p.m. in a match ripe with Big 12 Conference and NCAA implications. Each team has its sights set on moving up in the conference standings and bolstering its rsum for the NCAA Tournament selection committee. The Wildcats also hope to end a 10-match losing streak to the Longhorns.

In their last meeting with Texas, the Wildcats stayed within striking distance in the first two sets before losing steam as the?Longhorns charged to a 25-16 win in the third set. K-State lost the match in straight sets 20-25, 21-25, 16-25 as the?Longhorns hit .482 for the match compared to K-State’s .159.


Kansas-State will look to ride the momentum from its 3-1 win over Colorado on Wednesday. The Wildcats had four players tally double digits in kills led by Rita Liliom with 18. Kelsey Chipman had her best match of the year with a season-high 17 kills and eight blocks. Chipman hit .533 in the contest as well. Nataly Korobkova pounded out 15 kills while Megan Farr had 12 and hit .458.


As for the Longhorns, the Wildcats will look to slow down the most efficient offense in the Big 12 that boasts a number of weapons. The conference leaders in kills, hitting percentage and points all wear Burnt Orange for the Longhorns. Texas enters Manhattan on a four-match winning streak after falling to Oklahoma in five sets at home. The Longhorns have swept all four of those opponents.


The Series

Kansas State trails Texas in the all-time series against the Longhorns. Texas holds the advantage 20-7 and is 18-7 since the inception of the Big 12 Conference. Texas has won 10 in a row over the Wildcats.


The last time K-State defeated Texas was in Manhattan in the Wildcats’ Big 12 Championship 2003 season. The Wildcats got most of their wins over the Longhorns in a three-year stretch winning all six matches from 1999-2001. K-State is 4-8 at home against the Longhorns with three of those wins coming during the six-match winning streak over Texas.


The Coaches

Kansas State: Suzie Fritz (Florida Atlantic 94) is in her eighth season leading the Wildcats. She is now the winningest coach in school history with her victory over Colorado on Wednesday. Fritz has 169 career wins and also has the highest career winning percentage.


Texas: Jerritt Elliott (Cal State Northridge 91) is in his eighth year at Texas where he has led the Longhorns to the NCAA Tournament every year but one. He coached the Longhorns to the 2007 Big 12 Championship.


On the Airwaves

Saturday’s match will be broadcast on 1350 KMAN with Rob Voelker calling the action. Fans can also hear the match on the station’s Web site www.1350kman.com.


On the Web

Live video and stats for Saturday’s match will be available through www.k-statesports.com. Fans can register for the Powercat Passport service to watch live streaming video for a fee. The live stats are available for free.


Scouting the Longhorns

No. 4 Texas boasts one of the most versatile offenses in the Big 12 Conference. Destinee Hooker leads the conference in kills per set averaging 4.24. She also leads in points per set. Hooker led the Longhorns in their win over K-State in Austin with 16 kills. Lauren Paolini leads the league in hitting percentage with a .465 clip -- .076 ahead of second place.


The efficiency is not just at the top with Paolini. Hooker ranks seventh in the Big 12 in hitting percentage and Ashley Engle is 10th as the Longhorns are far ahead of the No. 2 team hitting percentage as well. Texas is hitting an extremely efficient .339 as a team and Nebraska is 70 points behind at .269.


Key to defeating the Longhorns is to slow their offense down -- which does not happen often. Texas has hit below .300 in just five matches. The?Longhorns are 3-2 in those matches. Texas is a perfect 10-0 when hitting .350 or higher for the match -- including six matches of .400 or higher.


UT’s defense also is among the top in the conference with an opponent hitting percentage of .167 -- second in the league. Texas also is second in blocks (2.63 bps). Heather Kisner is fifth in the conference averaging 4.06 digs per set to help hold the Longhorn defense together. She has received two Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week Awards this year.


Texas is 1-2 against ranked opponents this season with its win coming in the season opener against No. 4 USC. The Longhorns have lost to No. 2 Stanford in five and then-No. 2 Nebraska in four sets. Texas has had difficulty coming from behind. The Longhorns have lost the first set just four times and are 1-3 in those matches. When Texas wins the first set? The Longhorns are a perfect 18-0.


Catching Up with the Cats

The Wildcats bested Colorado in four on Wednesday and made coach Suzie Fritz the winningest coach in school history with her 169th victory. The win was a complete effort from the team as setter Soriana Pacheco was able to involve all the offensive players on the court.


Four players reach double digits in kills. Megan Farr had 12 kills. It was her first 10-kill performance in eight matches after tallying 11 against Missouri on October 8. Fellow middle blocker Kelsey Chipman had a season-high 17 kills and also added eight blocks while hitting .533.


The win ensured the Wildcats a tie for third place in the Big 12 Conference this year with a loss by Iowa State. K-State was picked to finish third in the preseason by the coaches.


After dropping the first set 23-25 to the Buffaloes, the Wildcats stormed back to win the second and then hit .412 in the third and .302 in the fourth with 21 kills in the final set. K-State pounded out a season-high 70 kills in the match. and hit .302 en route to the win.


The Wildcats return home after going 1-1 on a quick two-match road trip to Nebraska and Colorado. Kansas State is 11-1 at home this year with the only loss coming to Nebraska in the conference opener.


The Wildcats had their four-match winning streak snapped by No. 3 Nebraska on Saturday. Kansas State had won all three matches of its homestand following a come-from-behind win on the road against Baylor before dropping the match to the Cornhuskers.


With the win over Colorado on Wednesday the Wildcats could be poised to end a 10-match losing streak to Texas. Kansas State has never had a winning streak of just one match this season. The Wildcats have had winning streaks of two, eight, four, three and four matches so far this year.


Putting on the Fritz

Kansas State volleyball coach Suzie Fritz is now the winningest coach in school history with the Wildcats’ 3-1 win over Colorado on Wednesday. In her eighth season Fritz moved ahead of Scott Nelson with 169 wis and can add the school’s highest winning percentage to her wrap sheet. Nelson posted a 168-176-1 record from 1980-90.


This season Fritz notched her 150th career win against UC Irvine at the Nike Portland Invitational. She tied the career wins mark in K-State’s 3-1 match against Oklahoma November 9.


During her time as head coach, Fritz has taken the Wildcats to their first conference championship claiming the Big 12 title in 2003. She also has twice been named Big 12 Coach of the Year and was the 2003 Central Region Coach of the Year.


Hitting the Books

Three Wildcats are getting it done on the court and in the classroom. Jenny Jantsch was selected as CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VII second team. Kelsey Chipman and Megan Farr were each chosen for the third team. It was the first academic all-district award for each player.


Chip off the ol’ Block

Middle blocker Kelsey Chipman returned to form of late. She has hit .300 or higher in each of the last seven matches and tallied double digit kills in four of them including a season-high 17 on Wednesday night. Her presence at the net has been felt as well with seven or more blocks in three of those matches.


She established herself as one of the top net players in school history in her first two years. She was two blocks short of tying the record for most block assists by a sophomore. She had 162 block assists, which ranks among the Top 10 seasons in school history.


Chipman has continued that dominance at the net this season. Chipman has cracked the Top 10 list in career block assists. This year Chipman has 105 total blocks with 91 assists and is among the Top 10 in the conference. She has had five or more blocks in 10 matches this season, including a season-high eight at Baylor and Colorado.


She holds school records for most block assists in a five-set match and a postseason three-set match. Chipman also is poised to have more 10-block matches than any player at K-State with three more such matches. In 2007, Chipman had three matches with 10 or more blocks to tie the school record for a single season.