Volleyball team to host to Varney’s Kansas State Invitational


    After opening its home schedule with a 3-1 victory over California State Bakersfield, the K-State volleyball team (7-1) will host the Varney’s Kansas State Invitational this weekend at Ahearn Field House.
    The Wildcats, ranked No. 19 in this week’s American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, will begin tournament play today with a 7 p.m. match against the University of Northern Iowa.
    UNI features three players that have tallied more than 75 kills each this season, including middle blocker Ashten Stelken, who has 79, and outside hitters Amy Sampson and Shannon Aschoff, who have 80 and 87, respectively.
    The Panthers are a perfect 7-0 entering tournament play, including a 3-1 victory over K-State’s Big 12 rival Iowa State on Wednesday. They have lost just two sets all season. This will mark the 10th meeting between the squads, with K-State holding a 5-3-1 advantage.
    Action will resume on Saturday when the Wildcats take the floor for a noon matchup against Cornell University.
    This will be the first meeting between the teams and the first action of the season for the Big Red. Cornell is the only team in the tournament field that didn’t compete in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
    The Wildcats will conclude tournament play at 7 p.m. Saturday when they take on 2007 Big South Conference Champion Liberty University. Like UNI, they will begin tournament play with a 7-0 record.
    The team is led by middle blocker Chelaine McCarty and outside hitter Nicki Scripko, who have combined for 143 kills this season. The match will be the first between the two schools.    
    K-State enters the tournament on a five-game winning streak, highlighted by a 4-0 sweep at the Nike Portland Invitational on Sept. 4-6. Senior outside hitters Rita Liliom and Nataly Korobkova, who have accounted for 215 total kills in the 2008 campaign, have paced the team.
    Junior middle blocker Kelsey Chipman, who was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Monday, has also been a strong contributor. She has accounted for 68 kills this season, including 47 in her last five matches.
    The AVCA had the Wildcats listed at No. 14 in their preseason poll, but the team dropped six spots to No. 20 after a 1-3 loss to Purdue on Aug. 30.
    The Wildcats have recorded five wins since their season’s lone blemish and moved up to No. 19 in the poll released on Monday. No other teams in the tournament field received votes in this week’s poll.