Wildcats Await Aggies in Rematch

Dakota Kaufman

Nov. 15, 2010

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State closes its brief homestand on Wednesday when the Wildcats play host to the Texas A&M Aggies at 7 p.m. in Ahearn Field House. The match is one of just two remaining home contests for the Wildcats where the K-State family has come watch its team by the thousands as K-State ranks 14th in the nation in attendance this year.

In the first meeting between these two teams this season, the Wildcats got the sweep in College Station in commanding fashion. Kathleen Ludwig posted a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs while also hitting .421 to put together a complete match for K-State. Kaitlynn Pelger had 12 kills and six digs while the team totalled a hitting percentage of .220 on the night. K-State’s defense held A&M’s top player in check as Kelsey Black had 10 kills but also had 10 errors as no other A&M player had more than seven kills in the loss.

The last time A&M came to Manhattan, the Wildcats got the upset over a then-ranked No. 23 Aggies team in a dramatic five sets on television to give K-State its first win over a ranked opponent in more than two years.

Wednesday’s match will be Community Night for freshmen Courtney Traxson and Courtney Cook. Fans from their hometowns of Cheney, Kan., and Fremont, Neb., 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. Fans also can get in for a discounted price at the gate when they bring a canned food product to donate to the Flint Hills Breadbasket.

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

Online
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
Kansas State leads the all-time series with Texas A&M 18-12 after winning six of the last seven meetings. Both teams have done well defending their home court in the series with K-State winning just five times in College Station, and the Aggies claiming victory only once in Manhattan. The series also has proven to have some exciting matches with five of the last 11 going the distance in five sets.

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 .629.

Texas A&M: Laurie Corbelli (San Francisco ‘88) is in her 18th year leading the Aggies. She has taken Texas A&M to the NCAA Tournament 14 times during her tenure, including 13 straight beginning in her first year of 1993.

Scouting the Aggies
Texas A&M enters Wednesday’s contest having dropped its last three matches. After an upset over Oklahoma at home, the Aggies have followed that win with losses to Baylor in five on the road, to Kansas in five at home and a sweep at the hands of Missouri on the road.

The Aggies are led by outside hitter Kelsey Black with 4.13 kills a set. She ranks second in the conference overall and fourth in league action where she kills balls at nearly the same rate of 4.12. Black struggled to get going against the Wildcats in their previous meeting as she frequently was blocked to contribute to her 10 attack errors on the night. She tallied just 10 kills over the three sets and hit .000 and added only five digs on defense.

A&M relies heavily on Black as she has nearly twice as many attacks as the next Aggie on the list. Middle blocker Chelsea Ringel has 594 attempts on the season while Black has 1,127. Black also has twice as many kills (409) as No. 2 on that list -- Lindsey Miller (204).

Black is a complete player for the Aggies as she leads the team in kills and aces and is second in digs, adding an impressive 2.85 per set from her outside hitter position.

The Aggies are a strong serving team averaging 1.26 aces per set to lead the conference. Black leads all players in the conference overall and is not alone on the team when it comes to keep opponents off balance and out of system from the service line. Tori Mellinger and Allie Sawatzky both have 20 or more aces on the season.

A&M has struggled on the road this season with just a 3-6 record away from the comforts of Reid Arena. The only two wins the Aggies have claimed on the road in conference play have come at Colorado in five sets and at Texas Tech in three.

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 lost to the Baylor Bears in four sets 17-25, 23-25, 25-21, 23-25 as K-State was unable to keep momentum on its side down the stretch. K-State saw strong performances from its outside hitters as Dakota Kaufman and JuliAnne Chisholm each pounded out 11 kills. Kaufman came off the bench on fire for the Wildcats not seeing her first action until the third set when she pounded out eight kills on 12 attempts without an error to hit .667 and spark the Wildcats to the win in the third.

Senior libero Lauren Mathewson posted her seventh 20-dig match of the season as she was also perfect on serve receive for the week including a tight loss at No. 5 Nebraska on Wednesday.

Mathewson Among Big 12 Elite
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 1,672 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 1,851. Mathewson is fifth, and Nebraska’s Kayla Banwarth is sixth with 1,618.

Mathewson posted her seventh 20-dig match of the season against Baylor (11/13) to tie her for seventh in a single season in school history in the category. It also gives her 22 for her career to stand in second alone over 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 4.81 digs a set and has 457 digs on the year to rank ninth in school history for a single season. Her dig total in conference play only gets better as she is digging 5.06 balls a set in league action to rank third behind only Vann (5.27) and Mass (5.24).

Chisholm, Mathewson Named 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 last week. In the loss to Nebraska, Porubek had nine kills and led the team with 27 attempts. She has posted five or more kills in four of K-State’s last five matches with seven against No. 12 Iowa State (10/27), six in the win over Texas Tech (11/3) and five against Baylor (11/13).

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.

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 2.42 blocks a set to rank third the Big 12 and 44th in the nation. The Wildcats have posted 10 or more blocks in nine matches this season, including 13 at No. 5 Hawaii,15 against 2009 NCAA Tournament team Georgia Tech and most recently 11 against Baylor on Saturday.

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 26th (1.28) after an impressive nine blocks against Baylor.

Packed with Purple
Ahearn Field House has been rocking this season with an average attendance of nearly 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 (19), Texas A&M (22), Colorado (42), Oklahoma (43), Kansas (45) and Baylor (48) all rank among the schools averaging more than 800 in attendance as of matches played through November 14 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.