No. 12 KSU Finishes Regular Season in Austin

MANHATTAN, Kan. - After closing its home slate with a win, 12th-ranked Kansas State will look to finish the 2007 campaign with a victory on the road as the Wildcats travel to Austin, Texas, to take on No. 3 Texas Saturday. K-State nearly upset the Longhorns in the first meeting, taking then-seventh-ranked Texas to five games on Oct. 6th in Ahearn Field House. The two sit among the top of the conference as first-place Texas has a record of 23-3 while being 18-1 in the conference and third-place Kansas State is 22-7 overall and 14-5 in the Big 12.

Both teams enter Saturday?s match having won their previous outing. The Wildcats defeated Colorado on Senior Night Nov. 17th in a 3-0 score, while the Longhorns survived a scare from Iowa State winning 3-2 on Wednesday night.

The K-State vs. Texas match can be followed with a live broadcast on 1350 KMAN with Tyler Haines calling the play-by-play or online at www.kstatesports.com or www.1350kman.com. Live stats will be linked on www.kstatesports.com. A complete recap and box score will be posted at Kansas?State?s official athletic website following the conclusion of the match.

At Stake
Kansas State is ranked 12th, its highest rank of the season, for the fourth straight week... K-State is 8-2 in the last 10 contests with the losses being handed to the Cats from ranked squads and when K-State hit less than .200... K-State has a 8-3 road record while being 7-2 in Big 12 away matches... K-State?s nation-leading ace streak continues and sits at 284 straight matches of at least one service ace... K-State fell in the first match against Texas to mark the eighth-consecutive loss to the Longhorns... The last KSU road win over the Longhorns was Nov. 7, 2001, in a 3-1 score... K-State?s last win over Texas was Oct. 15, 2003, in five games in Ahearn Field House... The Longhorns lead the series 18-7 and hold a 9-1 advantage in the last 10 meetings... The Cats are 3-9 when playing Texas in Austin, while Suzie Fritz has collected a 3-10 record against the Horns... K-State is 1-6 against ranked teams in 2007 and are 0-3 against top five squads... The Cats have held 19 of their last 22 opponents under .250 hitting.

Kansas State Pre-Match Report
With a 22-7 overall record and being 14-5 in the Big 12 Conference, Kansas State will be playing for its fifth-consecutive win overall and fourth-straight road match this Saturday. Also at stake for the Wildcats will be placing in the conference race, as a win would lift the Wildcats over Oklahoma for third place to sit behind Nebraska and Texas.

In their last performance on the court, a week prior to the Texas match, K-State earned its first sweep of an opponent since Oct. 31st when the Wildcats handled Texas Tech in three. K-State defeated Colorado 3-0 on Senior Night in sets of 30-17, 30-26, 30-16 in front of 1,824, the second largest home crowd of the season. The Wildcats were able to put the Buffs away with strong hitting that produced 53 kills on 112 attempts and only nine errors for .393 percent.

Junior Rita Liliom helped the seniors to a final home victory as she led with a match-high 17 kills with three errors on 32 attempts to swing at .438 percent. Junior Nataly Korobkova converted for 10 kills, while middle blockers Kelsey Chipman and Megan Farr combined for an additional 17.

In their final regular season match in Ahearn Field House, seniors Angie Lastra and Stacey Spiegelberg tallied match highs. Lastra led in aces with two and digs with 10, two more than K-State?s third senior Lauren Rosenthal, and Spiegelberg put together a 43-assist effort in the win.

Korobkova has led the 12th-ranked Wildcats offensively with 457 kills in her first season with K-State. She averages 4.39 kills per game to rank fifth in the conference. With 1,034 attempts, Korobkova hits at .240 percent, while also producing numbers in aces (35; 0.34 sapg), digs with 184 to average 1.77 dpg and in blocks with 120 total and an average of 1.15 per game.

Liliom adds numbers in kills with 391 on the year and an average of 3.62 per game. In conference matches only, the Budapest, Hungary, native has 266 kills to average 3.64 per game. In the last four matches, Liliom has a slightly higher average of 3.76 per game with 64 kills in 17 games played. She also has a higher hitting percentage in the last four matches with a .265 clip compared to a season average of .246.

Dishing to the attackers is Spiegelberg, who sits third in the Big 12 with a 13.37 assists per game average. Through 108 games played, the product of Overland Park, Kan., has 1,444 assists to mark the eighth most in a season for a Wildcat. Spiegelberg has also paced the Cats all season in service aces, as the senior leads with 37 and averages 0.34 per game.

Lastra continues to come up big for the defense, pacing the team in digs and leading the conference in Big 12 matches. The senior libero has 524 digs this season to mark the third most in a season in school history. She averages 4.85 digs per game and has a Big 12 average of 5.16 per game. In 73 conference games, Lastra has combined for 377 digs.

Other defensive leaders are Chipman and Farr, who have also played a part in the K-State attack production. Chipman leads the team in blocks with 157 total (12 solo, 145 assisted) to average 1.45 per game and rank second in the Big 12. The Topeka, Kan., native is third for K-State in kills with 273 on .336 hitting. Farr has put back 146 blocks (14 solo, 132 assisted). The middle blocker from Manhattan, Kan., is fourth on the team in kills with 265 and leads in hitting at .390, fourth highest in the conference.

Scouting Report: Texas
After a shocking 3-0 defeat of then-No.1 Nebraska, Texas has thrust itself into national title contention while also vying for the Big 12 Championship. The Longhorns, who started the season with two losses to Penn State, have surged to a third-place ranking in the country with a string of 19-straight wins. Their last loss was on Sept. 12th, when the Longhorns dropped a 3-0 decision to Nebraska.

The second meeting between the two powerhouses had a different result as Texas handed the Huskers their first loss. Texas won the Oct. 24 contest in scores of 30-22, 30-25, 30-20 and put itself in place to tie for the Big 12 title. After the win, the Longhorns swept their next four opponents (Colorado, Oklahoma, Florida A&M and Kansas) to mark a string of nine 3-0 victories.

Texas? last time on the court was a near loss as the Iowa State Cyclones pushed the No. 3 Longhorns to five in Ames, Iowa, on Wed., Nov. 21st. UT?went up 2-0 going into the 10-minute break after winning in scores of 30-19 and 30-24. The team returned to the court to hit .143 in the third game and fall 24-30 to Iowa State. A battle ensued in the fourth and fifth as both went into extra points, but the Longhorns captured the decisive 18-16 game five. Texas hit .276 against the Cyclones and tallied 81 kills, 89 digs and 15.0 blocks in the effort.

Five Longhorns finished the night with a double-double performance, including 20 kills and 11 digs from Destinee Hooker off of the bench. She swung at .260 percent on her 50 attempts and also added one service ace and five blocks to the win. Freshman Juliann Faucette put together 16 kills and 10 digs, while Lauren Paolini added 16 kills on .412 hitting.

Setter Michelle Moriarty finished with 69 assists and 19 digs. Ashley Engle had a double-double with 18 kills and 11 digs and also put back six blocks. Brandy Magee finished as the fifth Longhorn with a double-double as she notched 10 kills and 10 blocks, including nine assisted.

On the year, Faucette and Hooker each have 380 kills, while Hooker averages 4.69 through 81 games and Faucette had a 4.58 average in 83 games. Hooker hits at .340 while Faucette is at .322 percent. The rank second and third, respectively, in the conference for kills per game, while Hooker is 10th in hitting percentage. Other hitters among the top 10 are Magee at second with .419 hitting and Paolini in third at .399 percent. Magee has 186 kills for the Longhorns while Paolini has provided 250 kills.

Providing the offense?s swings is setter Moriarty who has 1,224 assists on the year to average 14.07 per game. Moriarty leads the conference in the assists per game by a large margin as Nebraska?s Rachel Holloway is second with an average of 13.73 per game.

As Texas has a number of contributers in the digs category, it is the only stat to be void of a Longhorn in the conference?s top 10. Alyson Jennings leads the Longhorns in digs as she has tallied 316 and averages 3.63 per game. Engle, Faucette, Hooker and Moriarty all average over 2.00 digs per game having tallied over 100 on the year.

Paolini and Magee pace the team in blocks, with Paolini having 112 on the year to average 1.29 per game. She ranks fifth in the Big 12 while Magee is seventh with 1.25 per game after putting back 101 in 81 games.

As a team, Texas leads the Big 12 in two categories: hitting percentage (.339) and blocks per game (3.29). The Longhorns are second in opponent hitting, allowing .169 percentage, assists with 16.03 per game and kills with an average of 17.28.

Flashback: vs. Texas
Texas Prevents Upset with 3-2 Win Over Cats
Oct. 6, 2007
MANHATTAN, Kan. ? Three Kansas State Wildcats in double-digit kills were not enough to contain No. 7 Texas, as the Longhorns won 3-2 in Ahearn Field House Saturday. Texas captured the five-game match by scores of 30-26, 25-30, 30-27, 22-30, 15-9 to drop the 17th-ranked Wildcats to 13-5 on the season and 5-3 in the Big 12. Texas improves to 10-3; 6-1 in the conference and has won six-straight Big 12 contests.

K-State?s attack was led by junior Nataly Korobkova, who converted for 23 kills and 10 digs to tally her fourth career double-double. She finished with eight kills alone in the third game and also recorded all of KSU?s five kills in the fifth game. The Krasnoyarsk, Russia, native added three service aces as part of K-State?s total of 13, a season-tying team high. Rita Liliom and Kelsey Chipman each recorded double-digit kills, tallying 14 and 10, respectively.

Senior Stacey Spiegelberg finished with 59 assists and seven digs against the Longhorns. With one service aces, Spiegelberg moved into a tie for seventh with Kathy Saxton (1989-92) in the K-State record books, having 120 career aces. Senior Angie Lastra had her 25th match of 20 or more digs as she dished out 21 on Saturday. The product of Carolina, Puerto Rico, also had three service aces, tying her season high which she has achieved on three other occasions.

Kansas State finished with 10.5 team blocks, as Megan Farr and Chipman each finished with five. Farr had one solo and four assisted, while Chipman put back five block assists.

The Longhorns? .285 hitting was led by Destinee Hooker, who notched 18 kills, eight digs and seven block assists. Freshman Julianne Faucette registered 15 kills on .290 hitting and added one ace, five digs and five block assists. Brady Magee and Lauren Paolini each recorded over 10 kills; Magee finished with 13 and Paolini notched 11.

Texas senior Michelle Moriarty ended the night with a double-double after dishing out 55 assists and 10 digs. Alyson Jennings led with 11 digs, and Ashley Engle put up 10. Texas knocked down 18.5 team blocks and was led by Magee and Paolini who each had nine block assists.

Short an Ace
Three times this seaon, Kansas State has marked a night of perfect reception, not allowing its opponent a single service ace. The most recent occasion was Senior Night versus Colorado. Previous times this season were in the second match against North Texas and during the Kansas State Varney?s Invitational against Fresno State. This marks the second straight season K-State has had a match of perfect service reception.

During the final road match of 2006, K-State was flawless at Texas Tech, not allowing the Red Raiders to card a service ace. It marked the first time since Dec. 12, 2003, against Penn State in the ?Sweet 16? that the Wildcats held an opponent without an ace. The Texas Tech match was the first time K-State held a Big 12 foe without an ace since Nov. 11, 2000, against Oklahoma.

Wildcats in Season Finales
Kansas State is 14-19 (.424) in regular season finales. Head coach Suzie Fritz is 4-2 in season finales outside of tournament play. The last Wildcat win in a season finale was last season?s 3-0 victory over Kansas at Ahearn Field House. The last regular season loss for the Wildcats was Nov. 29, 2003, in Austin, Texas, when the Wildcats fell to Texas 3-1.

The Conference Race
Saturday?s match between Kansas State and Texas has implications on the Big 12 title race and also will play a part in the Wildcats? finish. K-State?s best finish would be third given a Wildcat win or an Oklahoma loss at Iowa State. If K-State were to fall to Texas and Oklahoma were to win Saturday, the Wildcats would finish fourth having two losses to the Sooners. Given a Nebraska win over Texas Tech, the Huskers will also be rooting for Kansas State as a KSU?win would give the Huskers their ninth Big 12 title. If Nebraska and Texas both win Saturday, the two will tie for the Championship having split the series this season, each having a 3-0 win on their home court.

Cats? Last Four
After dropping a heartbreaker to Nebraska in front of their largest home crowd of the season, the Wildcats have been clawing their way past their last four opponents. Kansas State has produced higher numbers in the four-straight wins (Texas A&M, Baylor, Kansas and Colorado). As a team, the Cats have averaged 17.24 kills per game while hitting .311 percent. Overall this year, KSU?averages 16.29 kills per game on a hitting clip of .267. Also up are K-State?s dig and assist numbers as the Wildcats average 16.29 assists and 15.71 digs in the last 17 games. Season averages for the two categories is 15.35 assists and 14.95 digs per game.


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