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Volleyball Hosts Tennessee, No. 11 Florida

October 18, 2012
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M (15-3, 7-2 SEC) concludes the first half of Southeastern Conference play this weekend with its most challenging pair of home matches of the season. The Aggies take on SEC preseason favorite Tennessee (13-5, 6-3 SEC) Friday at 6 p.m. at Reed Arena and then play host to current league-leader and 11th-ranked Florida, Sunday at 1 p.m. in a match that will be nationally televised by ESPNU. The Gators are 15-2 overall and 9-0 in conference matches entering a Friday contest at Alabama.

TEXAS A&M (15-3, 7-2 SEC) VS. TENNESSEE (13-5, 6-3 SEC)
Friday, Oct. 19, 2012
6 p.m., Reed Arena
College Station, Texas

TEXAS A&M VS. #11 FLORIDA
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012
1 p.m., Reed Arena
College Station, Texas

PROMOTIONS:

Texas A&M vs. Tennessee, Friday, 6 p.m., Reed Arena

  • Aggies CAN: receive free admission to the match by donating a canned food item at the entrance
  • Camper Appreciation Night: anyone wearing a 2012 Texas A&M volleyball camp T-shirt will be admitted free
  • Club Volleyball Night: club volleyball members can purchase a ticket for only $3 by going to the link, http://www.12thmanfoundation.com/ticket-center/volleyball/club-teams.aspx
  • Autograph Session: there will be an autograph session with the Aggie Volleyball team in the volleyball practice gym immediately following the match

Texas A&M vs. No. 11 Florida, ESPNU, Sunday, 1 p.m., Reed Arena

  • Halloween at Reed: wear a costume and get in for only $3
  • Halloween costume contest: a $200 gift card will be awarded to the person judged to have the best costume
  • Football ticket special price: get in for only $3 by showing a ticket from Saturday's A&M-LSU football game
  • Junior Aggie Club: pre-match activities for members include trick or treating with Aggie athletes, face painting and an appearance by Reveille.

FOLLOW THE ACTION:

Friday vs. Tennessee:

  • Live video and audio will be available to premier subscribers on 12thMan.TV with Chelsea Reber calling the action and Allie Freiwald providing commentary
  • Live stats will be available on AggieAthletics.com
  • Live updates and other information can be found by following AggieVolleyball on Twitter

Sunday vs. No. 11 Florida:

  • The match will be nationally televised by ESPNU with Michele Smith calling the play-by-play and Dorothy Franco Reed serving as analyst
  • Free live audio of the match will be available on 12thMan.TV
  • Live stats will be available on AggieAthletics.com
  • Live updates and other information can be found by following AggieVolleyball on Twitter

UP NEXT:

The Aggies hit the road to take on LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, Oct. 26 and South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 28. The match against the Tigers begins at 7 p.m. at the Pete Maravich Center and will be televised by Cox Sports Television (CST). First serve against the Gamecocks is at 12:30 p.m. (CT).

RECENT RESULTS:

Texas A&M went 1-1 on the road last weekend, picking up a crucial 3-2 (21-25, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 15-3) victory at Arkansas to stay atop the SEC Western Division and then falling at nemesis Kentucky, 3-0 (25-11, 25-22, 25-19), in Lexington on Sunday. In the first-ever meeting against the Razorbacks, senior opposite Alisia Kastmo tied her career high with 21 kills while hitting .341, and senior middle blocker Stephanie Minnerly had a career-high eight blocks as A&M had a season-high 15 for the match. Senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger had 11 kills and 11 digs for her sixth double-double of the season, and junior setter Allie Sawatzky had 48 assists and 10 digs for her sixth double-double. Senior libero Megan Pendergast led all players with 19 digs, and junior defensive specialist Kelsey Kinley pitched in 12 digs to help lead A&M to its fifth consecutive victory.

On Sunday, A&M went up against Kentucky, the only team to have defeated A&M in conference play. The Aggies, who narrowly fell to the Wildcats, 3-2, on Sept. 23 at Reed, never got in sync and suffered their second SEC loss and were swept for the first time this season, 25-11, 25-22, 25-19, after hitting a season-low .105.

SERIES HISTORY VS. TENNESSEE:

  • Tennessee leads the all-time series, 5-2.
  • The teams are 1-1 when playing in College Station.
  • A&M and Tennessee last met Dec. 4, 2004, in Knoxville, Tenn., for an NCAA second round match. The 10th-ranked Lady Vols won the match, 30-21, 24-30, 30-23, 32-30.
  • A&M's most recent victory against Tennessee was Oct. 29, 1994, at G. Rollie White Coliseum in College Station. The Aggies defeated the Lady Vols, 15-0, 15-4, 15-10.

SERIES HISTORY VS. FLORIDA:

  • A&M is 0-6 all-time against the Gators.
  • The teams last met Sept. 9, 2005, at the UTSA Dome Rally in San Antonio, where sixth-ranked Florida defeated A&M, 30-28, 30-19, 14-30, 30-26.
  • Florida is 2-0 against the Aggies in matches played in College Station. Both matches were played at G. Rollie White Coliseum.

AGGIE QUICK HITS:

  • Texas A&M maintains a two-game lead over Arkansas (5-4) for first place in the SEC West. A&M's 7-2 conference record is second only to Florida (9-0) in the overall race for the SEC title.
  • A&M's 15-3 record equals the second best start in school history after 18 matches. The 1984 team won 22 matches before suffering its third loss.
  • A&M is No. 28 in this week's Rating Percentage Index (RPI). Stanford is No. 1, and Penn State Nebraska, Texas and Oregon round out the top five. At No. 12, Florida is the top-rated team representing the SEC, followed by No. 17 Kentucky, No. 18 Tennessee and No. 26 Arkansas.
  • The Aggies are receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 Poll and are tied with Tennessee for 30th.
  • A&M is the SEC leader in opponent hitting percentage (.143), as well as assists (13.42) and kills (14.55) per set in all matches. Nationally, the Aggies entered the week ranked 11th in kills per set and 18th in assists per set.
  • A&M also leads the league with 13.45 assists and 14.42 kills per set, as well as a .159 opponent hitting percentage, in SEC matches only. A&M is third with a .247 hitting percentage, fifth in digs (16.09) and sixth in both aces (1.06) and blocks (2.33) per set.
  • Six A&M players who have appeared in 48 or more sets this season are averaging at least 2.0 digs per set. Senior libero Megan Pendergast leads the team with 3.93 digs per set for the full season and 4.09 per set in SEC matches only.
  • A&M has led its opponent in kills in 16 of 18 matches and is 15-1 when leading in kills. Kentucky is the only team to defeat A&M when trailing in kills. The Wildcats defeated A&M, 3-2, at Reed Arena on Sept. 23 despite trailing in kills, 66-61.
  • A&M is 14-0 when posting a higher hitting percentage than its opponent.
  • A&M is 14-1 when winning the first set. No. 5 USC is the only team that has come back to defeat the Aggies after dropping the opening set.
  • A&M used the same starting lineup in each of the first 17 matches with seniors Lindsey Miller and Stephanie Minnerly at middle blocker, senior Alisia Kastmo at opposite, senior Tori Mellinger on the outside along with junior Heather Reynolds, who had been starting in the back row, and junior Allie Sawatzky at setter. Senior Megan Pendergast has started out every match as the team's designated libero. The first variation to the starting lineup came in the Aggies' most recent outing, as junior defensive specialist Kelsey Kinley drew her first career start at Kentucky last weekend.
  • Texas A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli celebrated the 500th win of her 26-year head coaching career and her 400th victory in her 20th season at the helm of the Aggies in A&M's season-opening victory against Texas State on Aug. 24 at Reed Arena. She is now 514-303 for her career and 414-197 at A&M.
  • Corbelli returns 10 letterwinners - including four starters plus the libero -- from last year's team that went 23-8 and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. She also welcomes one transfer and seven highly touted freshmen who represent the 20th-ranked recruiting class in the nation.
  • Twelve of A&M's 29 regular season matches will be against teams that appeared in the 2011 NCAA tournament. A&M is currently 5-3 against 2011 NCAA tournament teams.
  • In their inaugural season in the SEC, the Aggies have been picked to finish second in the SEC West behind seven-time defending west champion LSU. Tennessee is projected to win the East Division and the overall SEC title. A&M finished third in the Big 12 with an 11-5 record in 2011.

PLAYER POINTS:

  • A major reason A&M leads the league and is ranked in the top 20 in the nation in both assists and kills per set is junior setter Allie Sawatzky, who orchestrates the Aggie offense. The 6-2 lefty averages 9.84 assists per set for the full season, but it also is the respect and attention she draws as a deceptive and powerful attacker that makes the entire offense more difficult to defend. Sawatzky leads all SEC setters with 1.87 kills per set. She has twice led or tied for the team lead in kills in a match this season, and her six double-doubles ties senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger for most on the team.
  • Senior middle blocker Lindsey Miller and Allie Sawatzky have started every match of their careers. The match against Delaware earlier this season marked Miller's 100th consecutive start, and she has now started 110 consecutive matches. Sawatzky has started all 79 matches throughout her career.
  • Lindsey Miller, who has tied or led the team in blocks in 14 of 18 matches this season, leads A&M, is fifth in the SEC and ranks 103rd in the nation with 1.14 blocks per set. The senior from Katy, Texas, has led the team in both total blocks and blocks per set, as well as hitting percentage, in the season final stats every year during her career, and she ranks fifth in the A&M career records with 359 block assists, and she is seventh in the career annals with 410 total blocks and 1,113.5 points.
  • Libero Megan Pendergast became the first A&M player to receive an SEC weekly honor when she was named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 1. The senior leads A&M and is ninth in the league with 3.93 digs per set for the full season and is seventh in the SEC with 4.09 digs per set in conference matches only. She has posted double-figure digs in 14 of 18 matches, including three matches in which she had 20 or more digs.
  • To show the balance of the team, each of A&M's starters was named to at least one all-tournament team in the three tournaments A&M played this year. Senior opposite Alisia Kastmo, the MVP of the Delaware Invitational, and Allie Sawatzky appeared on two all-tournament teams. Senior middle blocker Stephanie Minnerly, the MVP of the Yale Classic, senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger, junior outside hitter Heather Reynolds and Lindsey Miller and have each appeared on one all-tournament team.
  • Tori Mellinger, considered one of the most complete players on the team, is ranked in the SEC top 20 in kills, digs and points per set in conference matches only and in the top 20 in kills and digs for the full season. She is averaging 3.03 kills, 3.30 digs and 3.48 points per set in SEC contests only and 2.92 kills, 3.12 digs and 3.30 points per set in all matches.
  • Alisia Kastmo has had double-figure kills in a team-leading 12 matches this season, including three 20-plus kill performances. She leads A&M and ranks 10th in the SEC with 3.58 kills per set for the full season. She is sixth in the league in SEC matches only with 3.75 kills per set. In addition, Kastmo is eighth with 4.01 points per set for the full season and 4.09 points per set in SEC contests only.
  • Allie Sawatzky ranks eighth in the A&M records with 2,865 career assists.
  • Freshman outside hitter Angela Lowak has appeared in each of the last eight matches as an outside hitter. Freshman Shelby Sullivan, the first middle blocker off the bench, has seen action in each of the last four matches, as has freshman outside hitter Shelbi Vaughan, who had a career-high eight kills and three blocks in four sets at Arkansas.

Freshman Sierra Patrick has seen action in six of the last seven matches, mainly playing in the back row.

  • Alisia Kastmo and Stephanie Minnerly both have graduated with bachelor's degrees and are continuing their education as they complete their athletic eligibility. Kastmo graduated in August with a degree in finance and is pursuing a master's degree in real estate. Minnerly, a fifth-year senior, graduated in December 2011 with a bachelor's degree in university studies. She is pursuing a second degree, a bachelor's of science in agricultural leadership and development, and is scheduled to graduate in May 2013.

TENNESSE NOTES:

  • Tennessee (13-5, 6-3 SEC) is riding a four-match win streak -- equaling its longest win streak of the season -- after defeating Arkansas, 3-0, in Fayetteville on Sunday.
  • The Lady Vols, picked to win the SEC according to a preseason vote of the league coaches, are in a three-way tie with Kentucky and Missouri for second place in the SEC East.
  • Kelsey Robinson leads the SEC with 13 double-doubles. She entered the week ranked 14th in the nation with 4.44 kills per set and 10th in the country with 5.13 points per set.
  • Two of UT's three SEC losses have been against Missouri and Arkansas, two teams A&M has defeated. The other loss was to Kentucky, who has defeated A&M twice this season.
  • UT is outhitting its opponents, .242 to .187, and holds a 14.04 to 11.90 advantage in kills per set.

FLORIDA NOTES:

  • The Gators are 15-2 overall and lead the SEC with a perfect 9-0 ledger in league play entering a match at Alabama on Friday. Florida, which was picked to finish third in the SEC East, is ranked No. 11 in this week's coaches Top 25.
  • Florida ranks third in the country with a .313 hitting percentage and is holding opponents to a .181 hitting efficiency.
  • Freshman outside hitter Ziva Recek leads the team with 3.92 kills per set while hitting .306, and junior middle blocker Chloe Mann is averaging 3.85 kills per set and hitting an SEC-best .422.
  • Florida leads the SEC with 1.56 aces per set.
  • Mary Wise is in her 22nd season as head coach of the Gators.22nd season as head coach of the Gators.
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