The Wildcats start their week of four matches with a tilt against Tulsa in Ahearn Field House on Tuesday, September 10 at 6 pm. The match wraps up a five-day stretch in which K-State will have played four home matches.
Kansas State won the K-State Invitational this past weekend, led by tournament MVP Katie Brand and all-tournament team members Dakota Kaufman and Kaitlynn Pelger. The Wildcats secured sweeps in all three matches.
In their 2013 home opener, the Wildcats put away Southeast Missouri State in three sets, with each set showing improvement. After a 25-23 win in the first set in which K-State hit at a .231 clip, the Wildcats turned in .250 and .295 hitting percentages in the second and third sets, respectively. The Wildcats won 25-15 in the final set, which at the time was their largest set margin of victory this season. Kaufman had a team-best 11 kills while Pelger registered a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs.
K-State finished their Friday doubleheader with a sweep of Southern Illinois in front of 2,278 fans. As a team, the Wildcats had a .500 hitting percentage, led by Kaufman (11 kills, .529 hitting percentage) and Lilla Porubek (11 kills, .500 hitting percentage). Brand had nine kills on 10 errorless attempts while also adding 31 assists and five digs.
The Wildcats beat Siena 25-11, 25-20, 25-15 in the final match of the weekend on Saturday afternoon. Pelger and Courtney Traxson led the Wildcats offense with eight kills each, and Kaufman had five kills (.417 hitting pct.), nine digs and three blocks. Gina Madonia led the team with 16 digs.
On The Airwaves
The match against Tulsa can be heard live on KMAN 1350 with Rob Voelker calling the action. Audio can be streamed on kstatesports.com or 1350kman.com.
The Tulsa match will be broadcast live on k-statehd.tv and Fox College Sports with play-by-play from Brian Smoller and former Wildcats standout Liz Wegner-Busch providing color commentary.
Reinforcing the Brand
Redshirt freshman Katie Brand garnered her first All-Tournament award of her young career after she was selected as the K-State Invitational MVP this past weekend. The starting setter had 98 assists, 12 kills, 20 digs, six blocks and four aces over the tournament’s three matches.
A match after recording her third double-double of the season, she turned in her best performance of the weekend against Southern Illinois on Friday night. She had 31 assists, nine kills on 10 errorless attempts, five digs, two blocks and one service ace against the Salukis to help her accumulate a season-high 11.0 points. Behind Brand’s assists and .900 hitting percentage, the Wildcats recorded a season-best .500 hitting percentage in the match.
Sitting at .500
K-State’s .500 hitting percentage in the match against Southern Illinois on Sept. 6 was the highest by the Wildcats since their .545 hitting percentage against LSU on Sept. 13, 2003 in the Wildcat Classic at Ahearn Field House. Of the five Wildcats who recorded nine or more attacks in the Southern Illinois match, all had a .333 or higher hitting percentage. Katie Brand led the team with a .900 percentage (9-0-10). Lilla Porubek and Dakota Kaufman, who tied for the team lead with 11 kills, hit at a .500 and .529 clip, respectively.
On The Set
Also in the Southern Illinois match, K-State had a .654 hitting percentage (18-1-26) in the first set, which is the highest single set hitting percentage since September 14, 2012 when the Wildcats set a school record with a .818 attack percentage against No. 10 Minnesota in the fifth set. The Wildcats had hitting percentages of .417 or higher in each set against Southern Illinois.
Katie Brand and senior middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger are tied for the team lead with three double-doubles apiece this season. Both players had a double-double in the opening match of the K-State Invitational against Southeast Missouri State. Brand had 40 assists and 10 digs while Pelger had 10 kills and 10 digs. The double-double for Pelger on September 6 was her 28th career double-double.
Kaitlynn Pelger was selected to the All-K-State Invitational team, which is the second straight tournament this season she has been awarded an honor. She was named the MVP of the UNLV Invitational. The Olathe, Kansas native has been awarded nine all-tournament awards in her career, including six MVPs.
The match against Tulsa will be the 100th played in Kaitlynn Pelger’s career. In her career, the senior from Olathe, Kansas has registered 1,250 kills (3.50 kps) on a .290 hitting percentage, 793 digs (2.22 dps), 333 blocks (0.93 bps), 137 assists (0.38 aps) and 110 aces (0.31 aces per set). Pelger is the only player in K-State history with 1,000+ kills, 700+ digs, 300+ blocks, 100+ assists and 100+ aces.
Kaitlynn Pelger recorded a career-high five aces in the September 6 match against Southeast Missouri State. Over the three matches during the weekend, Pelger had nine aces in nine sets. She currently leads the Big 12 with 16 aces and 0.67 aces per set. Her nine aces alone from last weekend would rank fourth-most among all Big 12 players this season.
Through September 8, Pelger is tied for ninth in the NCAA with 0.67 aces per set. She is tied with Kendall Polan of Yale. Pelger has helped K-State rank second in the Big 12 with 1.38 aces per set.
While she is eight aces away from cracking K-State’s top-10 career aces leaderboard, Kaitlynn Pelger already ranks among the top-10 in career kills and points. After last weekend, Pelger moved into sixth place in career kills with 1,250. Shawnee Call (1985-88) is fifth on K-State’s all-time career kills list with 1,337. Meanwhile, Pelger slid into seventh on the school’s all-time career points list with 1,548.0 - after tallying 37.0 points last weekend. Pelger is a few points shy of passing of Lauren Goehring (2000-03) and her 1,556.5 points for sixth on the all-time list.
New Award Recipient
Senior outside hitter Dakota Kaufman earned her first all-tournament award this past weekend when she was honored at the K-State Invitational. Kaufman, who had 11 kills in two of the three matches in the tournament, is averaging 2.15 kills per set this season. The 11 kills for Kaufman are a season-high for her.
Kansas State is averaging 2.5 blocks per set, which is good for 49th-best in the NCAA and fourth-best in the Big 12. Junior middle blocker Taylor Johnson leads the team 1.20 blocks per set, which are the fourth-most in the Big 12 and rank 91st in the NCAA.
K-State is historically at its best on its home court in Ahearn Field House. Entering its 40th season at Ahearn, Kansas State holds an all-time record of 293-154-5 (.648) in the building. Since 2011, the Wildcats are 25-6 (.806) at home, including a 12-3 mark in 2012. Under head coach Suzie Fritz, the Wildcats are 129-47 (.733) in regular season matches at Ahearn Field House.
Head coach Suzie Fritz moved closer to her 250th career win with last weekend’s three victories. Fritz is 244-136 (.642) in 13 seasons as the coach of the Wildcats, making her the winningest coach in school history.
In The Polls
For the third straight poll this season, Kansas State received votes in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll. The Wildcats received 31 points in the September 9th poll, up from the 25 points received in the Sept. 2 Top 25 Coaches Poll. Three other Big 12 teams - #2 Texas, #17 Iowa State and Oklahoma - were either ranked or received votes in this week’s poll. Upcoming opponent, the Cal Bears, were one of two teams that jumped into the Top 25 Rankings. Cal is ranked #23 after starting off the season 5-0.
Three or Five
The Wildcats played three five-set matches during the UNLV Invitational and three three-set matches at the K-State Invitational. K-State is 19-4 in their last 23 three-set matches, including a 16-4 record in 2012. The three five-set matches this season already equal the Wildcats’ total from 2012. Since September 28, 2010, the Wildcats are 17-1 in their last 18 five-set matches (courtesy of Brian Smoller/k-statehd.tv). All-time, K-State is 309-205 in three-set matches and 100-76 in five-set matches.
Who Are You?
Tulsa enters Tuesday night with a 6-1 record after it won the Baylor Classic last weekend. The Golden Hurricane beat Big 12 opponent Baylor 3-0 to open the tournament and closed it out with a 3-2 win over Mississippi State and 3-0 win over UT Arlington on Saturday. Tulsa has also beat Missouri State this season (3-0), another common opponent between Tulsa and K-State. Other common opponents between the two teams this season are Arkansas, Oklahoma and the Italian U-23 National Team. Tulsa’s lone loss this season was against Dayton in Dayton to open the season on August 30.
Tulsa is led by Erica Bohannon, who was named the Offensive MVP at the Baylor Classic. Bohannon had double-digit kills in each of the matches in the tournament, including a tournament-high 17 against Mississippi State. Bohannon leads the team with 3.14 kills per set this season
Kellie Culbertson and Bailey Clampitt were also named to the all-tournament team at the Baylor Classic. Culbertson is second on the Golden Hurricane with 2.86 kills per set this season along with 3.75 digs per set and a total of 16 service aces. Clampitt leads the team with 6.79 assists per set while also tallying 2.50 digs per set.
Who Do You Work For?
Tulsa is coached by Steven McRoberts. The third-year head coach has a 60-18 record at the helm of the Golden Hurricane. He has taken Tulsa to NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons as well as winning both Conference USA regular season titles. In his first year in 2011, McRoberts led Tulsa to a 28-7 overall record and 18-2 mark in Conference USA play. He was named the AVCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year. Prior to Tulsa, McRoberts was the head coach at Central Arkansas, where he compiled a 146-58 record. He has also coached Lubbock Christian University of the NAIA.
Kansas State is 24-2 all-time against Tulsa, including a 3-0 win in their last meeting on September 13, 2012 at Tulsa. K-State has won four straight matches in the series. The Wildcats swept the Golden Hurricane 3-0 the last time the two teams met in Ahearn Field House on November 30, 2007. The 2007 match was the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.