Wildcats, Jayhawks Set for Sunflower Showdown

GAME PREVIEW
NOV 2, 7:00 PM

Ahearn Field House
Manhattan, KS

4
KANSAS
JAYHAWKS
20-2 (9-1 Big 12)

NR
K-STATE
WILDCATS
17-6 (6-4 Big 12)

ESPN3
K-StateHD.TV
1350 KMAN

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State volleyball team looks to avenge an earlier-season loss to in-state rival Kansas, as the fourth-ranked Jayhawks visit Ahearn Field House Wednesday night. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m., and will be broadcast nationally on K-StateHD.TV and Cox Channel Kansas along with streaming live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.

K-State (17-6, 6-4 Big 12) sits in fourth place in the Big 12 standings while KU (20-2, 9-1) is tied atop the league after a five-set victory over then-No. 2 Texas Saturday. The Jayhawks stole the first meeting in the Sunflower Showdown in three sets in Lawrence on Oct. 12.

Brian Smoller and Liz Wegner-Busch will call the action for K-StateHD.TV. Fans can also listen to Rob Voelker call the match on local radio at 1350 KMAN and at k-statesports.com.

 

AT A GLANCE

·         Kansas State welcomes in-state rival No. 4 Kansas (20-2, 9-1 Big 12) to Ahearn Field House Wednesday for its second straight conference home match at 7 p.m.

·         KU took the season’s first meeting in three sets in Lawrence, Kan., on Oct. 12.

·         This will be K-State’s third match this season against the fourth-ranked team in the AVCA Top 25 poll.

·         K-State leads the Big 12 with 14.20 kills/set while KU allows the fewest kills/set at 11.06.

·         Kansas and K-State rank 1-2, respectively, in the conference in total service aces and service aces allowed.

·         The match will be broadcast nationally on K-StateHD.TV and streaming live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.

·         Fans can also listen to the match on local radio at 1350 KMAN and on K-StateSports.com.

 

LAST TIME OUT

·         K-State defeated Baylor in four sets (25-22, 21-25, 25-13, 25-20) at Ahearn Field House, avenging an earlier season loss to the Bears in Waco, Texas.

·         K-State held Baylor to its lowest hitting percentage of the season (.111).

·         The Wildcats and Bears have split their season series in each of the past five seasons.

·         It was K-State’s 10th four-set victory of the season - tying the program record set in 1987.

·         The victory marked the 10th home win on the season for the Cats (most since 2013).

·         Katie Brand and Bryna Vogel each recorded double-doubles. Brand has four straight double-doubles while Vogel has a double-double in three consecutive matches.

·         Three Wildcats reached double-figure kills: Vogel (13), Alyssa Schultejans (12) and Elle Sandbothe (10).

·         Sandbothe’s 10 kills set a new career high.

 

A LOOK AT K-STATE

·         Kansas State (17-6, 6-4 Big 12) enters the match with the Jayhawks having won three of its last four matches and 6-4 in its last 10.

·         K-State is not receiving votes or ranked in the AVCA top 25 poll for the first time since the initial week of the season, breaking a string of eight straight weeks.

·         K-State is 13-1 this season when winning the first set and 9-3 when tied at 1-1.

·         In the NCAA’s latest RPI release of the season, K-State comes in at No. 14 - the second-highest of any Big 12 team (3. Texas).

·         K-State has registered more kills than its opponent in 13 of the last 16 matches.

·         Kansas State leads the Big 12 in team kills/set with 14.20, which ranks 20th nationally.

·         The team’s 13.60 assists/set are tops in the conference and sixth-best in the NCAA.

·         K-State has never finished a season in which it led the conference in team kills/set or assists/set.

·         Overall, K-State ranks in the top three of the Big 12 in 11 major team statistical categories.

 

A LOOK AT KU

·         Kansas come into the match as the fourth-ranked team in the country after defeating then-No. 2 Texas at home in five sets on Saturday.

·         KU is now tied with the Longhorns atop the Big 12 standings with a 9-1 conference record and have won its last eight matches.

·         The Jayhawks are led by junior right-side hitter Kelsie Payne who averages 3.99 kills/set and was just named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week for the second time in three weeks.

·         Payne ranks in the league’s top 10 in both kills/set (4th) and hitting percentage (.318).

·         KU has the Big 12’s best defense in terms of hitting percentage allowed, kills allowed, assists allowed and service aces allowed.

 

A LOOK AT THE SERIES

·         Kansas State leads the all-time series, 63-49-1, dating back to 1974.

·         KU has won the last four meetings in the Sunflower Showdown, including a straight-set victory in Lawrence on Oct. 12.

·         K-State has lost eight of the last nine in the series, including the last four matches played at home.

·         K-State last won at home in 2011 and is 28-17 all-time at home vs. KU.

·         K-State and KU have split the last 10 meetings in Manhattan,

·         Head coach Suzie Fritz is 19-12 all-time vs. the Jayhawks and is 9-6 at home.

·         Alyssa Schultejans paced K-State with 14 kills on a .310 attacking efficiency in the previous meeting.

 

OFFENSE VS. DEFENSE

·         Kansas State leads the conference in kills, kills/set, assists and assists/set.

·         KU is best in the Big 12 in fewest kills, hitting percentage, assists and aces allowed.

 

PROTECT THIS HOUSE

·         K-State is 8-1 at Ahearn Field House this season and 10-2 at home overall.

·         It is the Cats’ first 10-win home season since 2013 and the 10th such season under coach Fritz.

·         K-State is 60-16 (.789) at home since the start of the 2011 season and is 56-7 (.889) against unranked opponents at home in that span.

·         Kansas State owns a 357-168-5 (.678) all-time record at Ahearn Field House.

·         Since 2011, the Cats are 32-13 (.711) in home conference matches.

 

LUCKY NO. 4

·         Kansas State is 10-2 in four-set matches this season, equaling the school record for four-set victories in a season (1987).

·         K-State is 11-4 in the fourth set overall and 5-2 in the set in conference matches.

 

CLIMBING THE CHARTS

·         Senior setter Katie Brand (4,531 career assists) is just 10 away from moving into second place on K-State’s all-time list for career assists in the rally-scoring era (since 2001).

·         In the win over Baylor, Brand eclipsed 1,000 assists this season - her fourth 1,000-assist season as a Wildcat.

·         Her career double-double total currently sits at 65, which is four shy of equaling K-State’s all-time mark of 69 held by Kim Zschau (1995-98).

·         Senior libero Kersten Kober (1,446 career digs) will move into third place all-time (rally-scoring era) on K-State’s career list with five more digs.

·         Senior outside hitter Brooke Sassin has 953 career kills as a Wildcat. With 47 more, she will become just the sixth Wildcat to reach 1,000 in the rally scoring era.

 

D-D-D DEFENSE

·         The Cats picked up 13.0 blocks in the win over Baylor Saturday, the 10th match reaching double-digit blocks.

·         In 2015, K-State only had six matches with double-figure blocks.

·         K-State is 9-1 when recording 10.0 or more team blocks.

·         The .111 hitting percentage by Baylor is the lowest forced by K-State in a conference match this season and the second-lowest by an opponent this season (Arkansas, .109).