Wildcats Clash with Kansas

Caitlyn Donahue

Nov. 23, 2010

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MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State closes its season this week with two more matches beginning with a road match against in-state rival Kansas on Wednesday night in Lawrence. The Wildcats and Jayhawks take to the court at 6:30 p.m. from Horejsi Family Athletics Center looking to sweep the season series.

In the first meeting between these two teams this season, the Wildcats bested the Jayhawks in four sets 25-15, 25-20, 23-25, 31-29. A trio of ‘Cats tallied double digit kills in the match led by JuliAnne Chisholm with 15. K-State was able to slow down KU’s attack with 12 blocks on the night.

Kansas enters the match after losing its last two dropping to No. 8 Texas on Saturday in four sets and losing to Baylor at home also in four sets. K-State also dropped both its matches last week in four sets falling to Texas A&M at home and on the road to Oklahoma.

K-State has won six of the last eight meetings with the Jayhawks after KU won both matches in three sets last year. The Wildcats have only lost four times to KU since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1996.

On The Airwaves
Wednesday’s match can be heard live 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.

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
Wednesday will be the 102nd meeting between the two rivals on the volleyball court. K-State currently holds the edge in the series winning 59 of those contests while the Jayhawks have won 41 times and there has been one tie in the series. Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference, K-State has dominated the series winning 25 of the 28 matches.

The Wildcats started the Big 12 era off with 19 straight wins over Kansas before the Jayhawks won two straight. K-State responded winning the next five before KU swept the Wildcats in both matches last 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 .626.

Kansas: Ray Bechard (Fort Hays State ‘80) is a familiar face to the Kansas State Wildcats. Not only for his long tenure of 12 years with the Jayhawks, but as K-State coach Suzie Fritz’s own coach. Fritz played for Bechard and coached along side him as well at Barton County Community College. Bechard reached the 200-win milestone this season.

Scouting the Jayhawks
The Jayhawks started the year strong with a 9-2 record in nonconference play. Since then, Kansas has gone 7-11 in league action and currently stand tied for seventh in the Big 12. Kansas has lost its last two matches falling at home to Baylor in four sets and at No. 8 Texas in four.

Kansas is led by senior Karina Garlington with 3.49 kills a set. She is hitting at a .228 percentage in her final season with the Jayhawks as well. Her main partner at the net as an offensive weapon is Allison Mayfield. The junior is averaging 2.94 kills a set.

A pair of underclassman lead the middle blockers for KU with sophomore Tayler Tolefree leading the team in hitting percentage at .252 and averaging 0.81 blocks a set. Redshirt freshman Caroline Jarmoc averages 1.71 kills while hitting .246 and leading the team in blocks at 0.98.

The Jayhawks rank in the middle of the pack in every statistic within the conference ranging from sixth to eighth.

Catching up with the ‘Cats
Kansas State dropped both its matches last week starting with a heartbreaker to Texas A&M on Wednesday night after fight its way back into the match dropping the first two sets. The Wildcats dominated the third set to take the momentum into the fourth, but fell behind early by seven points. K-State chipped away at the lead and eventually reclaimed it and led late 21-19 only to see the Aggies score five straight points backing the Wildcats into a corner before losing the match 16-25, 21-25, 25-18, 22-25.

Freshman middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger had arguably the best match of her short career on Wednesday night as she put together a complete effort for the Wildcats. Pelger posted career-highs in kills with 18 and hitting percentage as she hit for a .577 clip. Those were not her only two strong stats on the night, however, as she assisted on five stuff blocks, had eight digs and tallied three aces in the 3-1 loss to Texas A&M.

Saturday at Oklahoma, the Wildcats again battled but could not overcome the fast-paced Sooners falling in four sets 18-25, 25-18, 16-25, 19-25. Freshman outside hitter Lilla Porubek posted career-highs in kills with 13 and digs with seven in the loss.

Senior Night Ticket Special
The final home match of the season is fast approaching and fans are being offered a special discounted price when they purchase tickets online. Tickets to Senior Night are just $3 when bought online at kstatesports.com and fans use the promotional code V14FUN. November 27th will be the final match of JuliAnne Chisholm’s and Lauren Mathewson’s careers. Come send them off with a strong showing and buy your tickets today as the special price expires on November 24.

Packed with Purple
Ahearn Field House has been rocking this season with an average attendance of nearly 2,000 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 18th in the nation in attendance and third in the Big 12 Conference behind only Nebraska (2), Texas (10) and Missouri (16). Iowa State (19), Texas A&M (22), Kansas (40), Colorado (43), Oklahoma (44),  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.

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 1,707 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 1,888. Mathewson is fifth, and Nebraska’s Kayla Banwarth is sixth with 1,628.

Mathewson posted her eighth 20-dig match of the season against Oklahoma (11/20) to tie her for third in a single season in school history in the category. It also gives her 23 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 4.78 digs a set and has 492 digs on the year to rank seventh in school history for a single season. Her dig total in conference play only gets better as she is digging 4.97 balls a set in league action to rank third behind only  Mass (5.22) and Vann (5.35).

With eight more digs the Kansas City product will become the first player in school history with three 500-dig seasons.

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 13 kills at Oklahoma last week. In the loss to the Sooners, Porubek had 13 kills to lead the team with 46 attempts. She also tied her career-high of seven digs.

Porubek had nine kills at No. 5 Nebraska as well recently (11/10). She has posted five or more kills in six of K-State’s last seven matches with seven against No. 12 Iowa State (10/27), six in the win over Texas Tech (11/3), five against Baylor (11/13) and eight versus Texas A&M (11/17).

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 2.38 blocks a set to rank third the Big 12 and 47th 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 last week.

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 30th (1.26) after an impressive nine blocks against Baylor (11/13).