K-State, coming off a 12-1 record in its nonconferenceschedule, will head to Morgantown, W. Va. for its Big 12 opener against WestVirginia on Friday, September 27 at 5:30 pm CT. The Wildcats enter Friday witha five-match winning streak, all of which have been on the road or at neutralsites.
Friday's match at West Virginia can be heard live online atk-statesports.com through the K-StateHD.TV feature. Rob Voelker will call theaction. Online stats will also be available at k-statesports.com.
The Wildcats went 3-0 in their slate of matches fromSeptember 20-22, including capturing the Arkansas Invitational with defeats ofArkansas and Saint Louis. Lilla Porubek was named the Arkansas Invitational MVPwhile Courtney Traxson and Kaitlynn Pelger were selected to the all-tournamentteam. Tristan McCarty was awarded the tournament's Outstanding Libero honor.K-State completed its weekend with a sweep of Missouri State in Springfield,Mo. The win over the Bears was head coach Suzie Fritz's 250th career victory.
The Wildcats' 12-1 record is the second-best start to aseason under head coach Suzie Fritz since 2001. The .923 winning percentagethrough their first 13 matches is second to last year's 12-0 (1.000) startbefore entering Big 12 play. The 2012 Wildcats ended up registering a 13-0record in nonconference play after defeating Nebraska-Omaha following a loss toOklahoma in their Big 12 opener.
Best Nonconference Records Since 2001
2012 12-0 1.000
2013 12-1 .923
2008 10-1 .909
2005 9-1 .900
2003 10-2 .833
The Wildcats defeated Arkansas and Missouri State this pastweekend on their home courts, giving K-State four road wins over itsnonconference opponents this season (others: UNLV, 8/31 and #23 Cal, 9/14). Thelast time K-State had four or more wins on the road against nonconferenceopponents was 1988 when the Wildcats defeated University of Missouri-KansasCity, Northern Illinois (twice), Tulsa and Oral Roberts.
Kaitlynn Pelger was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of theWeek on September 23, becoming the second Wildcat this season to earn a playerof the week honor from the conference. The senior middle blocker was the onlyplayer in the Big 12 to rank in the top 10 in blocks (2nd) and digs (10th) perset for the period of September 16-22. Pelger averaged 1.8 blocks and 3.5 digsover 10 sets in K-State's three matches. The Olathe, Kan. native also helpedlimit K-State opponents to a combined .152 hitting percentage against.
The award is Pelger's sixth career weekly honor from theconference but first Defensive Player of the Week award. She has earned fourOffensive Player of the Week awards and one Rookie of the Week. She is thefirst Wildcat to be named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week since Alex Muffon September 20, 2010.
Kaitlynn Pelger was one of four different Wildcats whotallied season-highs in blocks during last weekend's three matches. Pelger hadnine blocks at Arkansas on September 20, her most blocks in a match since Sept.5, 2012 when she had 10 blocks (1 solo, 9 assists) against Missouri State.
Taylor Johnson notched nine blocks against aforementionedMissouri State on Sept. 22, which was not only a season-high but also acareer-high. Her previous career-best was eight set earlier this season at UNLVon August 31.
Katie Brand had a career-high eight blocks also againstMissouri State. The redshirt freshman has three matches this season in whichshe has recorded five or more blocks but the Missouri State match was her firstwith five or more blocks since the Wildcats' second match of the season onAugust 31 vs. Cal State Fullerton.
Dakota Kaufman had five blocks against Arkansas, her firstmatch with five or more blocks since her freshman campaign in 2010. TheHillsboro, Kan. native has four matches in her career with five or more blocks.
The Wildcats lead the Big 12 with 2.81 blocks per setentering this week, which is also the 14th-best average in NCAADivision I. Junior middle blocker Taylor Johnson leads the team with 1.26blocks per set, which is fourth in the Big 12 and 51st in NCAADivision I.
K-State has 10 or more team blocks in four straight matches,starting with its 16.0 team blocks at #23 Cal on September 14. Over the lastfour matches, the Wildcats are averaging 3.57 blocks per set (53.5 team blocks,15 sets). Four K-State players are averaging more than 1.0 block per set overthe last four matches: Taylor Johnson (1.92 blocks per set), Kaitlynn Pelger(1.6), Courtney Traxson (1.27) and Katie Brand (1.13).
With 24 block assists in her last four matches, KaitlynnPelger has moved into the top 10 of K-State's career block assists list. Pelgeris ninth on the all-time list with 320 block assists. Next up for Pelger on thecareer block assists list is 380 by Lauren Goehring (2000-03).
Kaitlynn Pelger, the Big 12's active leader in career kills,is sixth on K-State's all-time career kills list with 1,326. Pelger is lookingto pass Shawnee Call (1,337 from 1985-88) for fifth on the career kills list.Pelger is averaging a team-best 2.74 kills per set this season, including anaverage of 3.05 kills over her last five matches (58 kills, 19 sets).
The Wildcats have 21 aces over their last three matches,turning in an average of 2.1 aces per set over the span. K-State's average of1.3 service aces per set this season is fourth-best in the Big 12. The Wildcatshad 12 aces against Saint Louis on Sept. 21, the most for them in a match thisseason. Katie Brand led the way with a career-high six aces against theBillikens while two others had multiple aces: Tristan McCarty, three and LillaPorubek, two. The six aces by Brand were the most in a four-set match by aWildcat since Liz Wegner had six against Arkansas on September 7, 2001.McCarty, meanwhile, has an ace in five straight matches, with 0.58 service acesper set over the stretch.
Limit the Opposition
The Wildcats held their three opponents to a combined .152hitting percentage this past weekend, improving their season opponent hittingpercentage to .163. K-State is second to West Virginia in the Big 12 inopponent's hitting percentage. The Wildcats held Arkansas to a .060 hittingpercentage on Sept. 20, the second-lowest hitting clip by a K-State opponentthis season (lowest: Siena, .038).
Knocking on the Door
The Wildcats continue to inch closer to cracking the AVCACoaches Top 25 Poll. In the latest poll released on Sept. 23, K-State had aseason-best 78 points, which is the 26th-most in the rankings. No.24 Illinois (4-6) and No. 25 Iowa State (6-4) have 144 and 96 points,respectively. The Wildcats have received votes in each of the five polls so farthis season.
The Wildcats are 17-15 in the Big 12 over the last twoseasons, including an 8-8 record in 2012. Under head coach Suzie Fritz, K-Stateis 134-98 (.578) in the Big 12 since 2001. K-State has won two of its lastthree Big 12 openers.
The Mountaineers of West Virginia are 13-1 this season, withtheir only loss being at Duquesne on September 17. West Virginia started theseason with a 10-match winning streak and is 7-0 at home in the WVU Coliseum.
Providing the offense for West Virginia is freshman outsidehitter Jordan Anderson. The Flower Mound, Texas native is leading the team with4.05 kills per set (2nd in the Big 12) and is second on the squad with 2.92digs per set. She was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week back-to-back weeks onSeptember 2 and 9.
West Virginia averages 2.56 blocks per set, with CaleahWells and Evyn McCoy tied for the team-lead with 1.12 blocks per set.
Jill Kramer is in her fourth season directing West Virginia.Since being named the head coach on August 9, 2010, the TCU graduate has ledWest Virginia to a 43-57 record entering the match against K-State. Prior totaking the helm at West Virginia, Kramer was an assistant coach with Virginia(2008-09), Alabama (2006-07) and UT-San Antonio (2003-05). She has also beeninvolved with USA Volleyball for the last eight years, including serving as anassistant coach for the USA Women's Junior National Team, which competed in the2011 FIVB Women's Junior National World Championships in Lima, Peru.
K-State holds a 2-0 lead in the all-time series between thetwo schools. Both wins were in 2012, West Virginia's first campaign in the Big12. The Wildcats won the last meeting 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-19) at WestVirginia on October 24, 2012.
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