Nov. 23, 2010

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M plays it final road match of the season Wednesday as the Aggies take on eighth-ranked Texas. First serve of the State Farm Lone Star Showdown match is slated for 6:30 p.m. at Gregory Gym in Austin.

Free live stas and video of the match will be available at AggieAthletics.com.

The Aggies (13-15, 7-11 Big 12), who snapped a 12-match losing streak against the Longhorns with a stunning sweep in both teams' Big 12 Conference opener on Sept. 16 in College Station, are coming off a 3-1 setback to No. 16 Iowa State on Sunday. The match marked the beginning of A&M's toughest three-match stretch of the year, as the Aggies close out the season against the league's three nationally ranked teams: No. 16 Iowa State, No. 8 Texas and No. 5 Nebraska.

The Longhorns (21-5, 16-2 Big 12) disposed of Kansas, 3-1, on Saturday to extend their winning streak to 13 matches, the longest winning streak in the Big 12. Texas is second in the conference standings, one win behind Nebraska, and will be looking to avenge A&M for the early season loss, which could potentially keep the Longhorns from capturing at least a share of the conference title.

A&M QUICK HITS:
• Sophomore libero Tori Mellinger needs 18 digs to give her 462 this season and move her into fifth in the A&M season records. A 21-dig performance will catapult her into fourth place. Mellinger has posted double figures in digs in a team-leading 23 matches -- including eight matches in which she has tallied 20 or more digs -- and she has led or tied for team-high honors in digs in 18 matches.

• Junior outside hitter Kelsey Black has led or tied for the team lead in kills in all 28 matches this season and has led or tied for the team lead in points in all but one match.

• Black has scored 518.5 points this season, ranking fifth in the A&M rally-scoring season records. She needs only 6.5 points to move into fourth place, surpassing Laura Jones, who tallied 524.5 points in 2003.

• Freshman setter Allie Sawatzky was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week on Monday, the third time the honor has been bestowed on the 6-2 lefty from Canada.

• Sophomore middle blocker Lindsey Miller has totaled 31 blocks in the last five matches, averaging 1.48 blocks per set during that span. She has moved up to fifth in the Big 12 with a 1.15 block average in conference matches only.

• A&M is 11-0 this season when winning the first set and 10-2 when winning the third set. Conversely, A&M is 2-15 when losing the first set, and 3-13 when dropping the third set.

• A&M has played nine five-set matches this season, tying the school record for most five-set matches in a single season set in 1988 and tied in 2005. The Aggies are 2-7 in five-set matches this season.

• A&M leads the Big 12 with 1.26 aces per set and ranks second for fewest aces allowed (0.77) per set in all matches.

• In conference matches only, A&M is third in the league for fewest kills allowed per set (12.22), fewest assists allowed (11.49) and fewest aces allowed (0.81) per set.

• Individually, Kelsey Black continues to lead the Big 12 in points (4.85) and aces (0.39) per set and is third in the league with 4.13 kills per set. Freshman setter Allie Sawatzky is seventh in the conference with 9.67 assists per set, and Tori Mellinger is seventh in the league with 4.15 digs per set for the full season. In addition, Lindsey Miller is ninth in the Big 12 with 1.08 blocks per set for the full season.

• In Big 12 matches only, Black is fourth with 4.70 points and 4.12 kills per set and fifth with 0.26 aces per set. Mellinger is eighth in digs with a 4.25 average, and Sawatzky is seventh in assists with 9.60 per set. In addition, Miller is fifth in the league with 1.15 blocks per set in conference play.

Allie Sawatzky, who has started every match for the Aggies this season, has tallied 50 or more assists in five matches, including 52 assists in the win against Oklahoma.

• Aggie libero Tori Mellinger recorded a career-high 34 digs against Missouri on Oct. 13, the most digs by a Big 12 player this season. Her 34 digs also is the most by an A&M player in the rally-point scoring era -- using both the 30- and 25-point scoring cap -- and ranks fifth all-time in the Aggie record books. It is the most digs by an Aggie since Erin Gibson had 35 against Colorado in 2000 and only four shy of tying the all-time record of 38 set by Yvonne Van Brandt in 1988 and tied by Stacy Sykora in 1998 using side-out scoring.

• A&M entered the week ranked 22nd in the nation in home attendance, averaging 1,494 per match in 12 home contests. The Aggies, who are 6-7 in home matches this season, had a season-high 3,305 in attendance to cheer them on to a 3-0 victory against No. 8 Texas on Sept. 16.

• Black's 85 attack attempts at Baylor on Nov. 6 is the second most swings by an A&M player in school history. Laura Jones (2003-05) holds the school record with 88 swings in a 3-2 victory over LSU on Sept. 10, 2005.

• Black has twice tied the A&M all-time record for aces in a match this season for both a three-set match and a five-set match, posting six apiece against Sam Houston State and Pacific. She has 42 aces in 2010, the most by an A&M player since Aggie All-American Melissa Munsch (2001-04) posted 42 aces in 2004. Black needs three more aces to break into the A&M top 10 for aces in a single season.

• Black, Miller, Sawatzky and Stephanie Minnerly have started every match this season, and Chelsea Ringel has started all but one and has played in all 107 sets. Mellinger has been the designated libero in every set.

Laurie Corbelli, the winningest coach in A&M volleyball history, is 376-184 in her 18th season at the helm of the Aggies and 476-290 in the 25th season of her head coaching career.

SERIES RECORDS:
• Texas leads the series against A&M, 62-23, since 1976, including 18-11 in Big 12 matches only.

• Texas is 32-4 against the Aggies in matches played in Austin and has won the last eight meetings in the capital city. A&M has not won in Austin since Oct. 6, 2001, when the 16th-ranked Aggies defeated Texas, 30-27, 30-16, 25-30, 30-23, at Gregory Gym to give Aggie coach Laurie Corbelli her 300th career win and her 200th win at A&M.

• In the most recent meeting, A&M stunned No. 8 Texas, 25-22, 25-18, 25-23, at Reed Arena in both teams' Big 12 opener on Sept. 16. A&M , which had not defeated the Longhorns since Oct. 16, 2004, snapped a 12-match losing skid against the Longhorns, who had not even dropped a set to the Aggies since 2008. The win also snapped Texas' streak of 47 consecutive wins against in-state opponents, a streak that began following A&M's 2004 victory. A&M out-hit the Longhorns, .217 to .110, as Texas committed 23 attack errors to A&M's 16. Kelsey Black led all players with 13 kills, and Aggie teammate Lindsey Miller added nine while hitting .533. She also had a match-high five blocks. Freshman setter Allie Sawatzky had four blocks and 32 assists. Chelsea Ringel had a match-high 12 digs for A&M, and Tori Mellinger added 10 to lead the Aggies to a 43-35 advantage. Rachael Adams led Texas with 11 kills and three blocks. Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year Juliann Faucette was held to six kills and a .148 hitting percentage.

TEXAS TIDBITS:
• Defending Big 12 champion Texas (21-5, 16-2 Big 12) is the hottest team in the conference, having won 13 consecutive matches. The Longhorns are in second place in the Big 12, one game behind Nebraska (25-2, 17-1 Big 12). The Longhorns close out the regular season at No. 16 Iowa State, while the Huskers host Baylor on Wednesday and conclude the regular season at Texas A&M on Saturday.

• The Longhorns are coming off a 25-16, 25-23, 24-26, 25-23 victory over Kansas on Friday at Gregory Gymnasium. Juliann Faucette received Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second consecutive week after posting a match-high 26 kills while hitting at a .396 clip as Texas outhit the Jayhawks, .348 to .253.

• Texas is 14-1 in home matches. They have won 24 consecutive home matches against Big 12 opponents, having not lost a Big 12 home match since a 3-2 loss to Oklahoma on Oct. 29, 2008.

• The Longhorns are No. 8 in this week's AVCA Top 25 Poll, the 108th consecutive week Texas has been in the Top 25.

• Senior middle blocker Jennifer Doris and junior middle Rachael Adams lead the Big 12 in hitting percentage in conference matches only, hitting .451 and .431, respectively. They are hitting .426 and .422 for the full season, ranking No. 4 and No. 6, respectively, in the national stats, . As a team, Texas leads the Big 12 and is fourth in the nation with a .303 hitting percentage for the full season.

• Two-time All-American outside hitter and Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year Juliann Faucette leads the Longhorns and is ranked third in the Big 12 with 4.19 kills and 4.81 points per set in league play.

• Texas is 24th in the nation in kills per set (14.14), 27th in assists per set (13.22) and 29th in blocks per set (2.55).

• With the exception of the loss to Texas A&M, all of Texas' losses this season have been to top-five opponents: No. 5 Illinois, No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 Florida and No. 3 Nebraska.

• Sophomore 6-3 outside hitter/opposite Bailey Webster missed the 2010 season after suffering a knee injury during preseason practice. Webster was the 2009 Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year and also was a member of the 2009 Big 12 All-Freshman Team in 2009.

• Texas has won or tied for the Big 12 title four times in the 14-year history of the league, including each of the last three years. Only Nebraska has captured more Big 12 titles.

• Jerritt Elliott (Cal State Northridge `91) is 235-69 in his 10th season as head coach of the Horns.

UPCOMING:
A&M concludes the regular season at home against No. 5 Nebraska on Sat., Nov. 27 at 4 p.m. at Reed Arena. The Huskers, who like Texas were also upset in their last visit to Reed Arena, will be playing their final match as members of the Big 12 Conference, as they leave for the Big Ten Conference next year.

It will be "ResLife Night" at the Nebraska match, and A&M students who show their dorm key will get in free. In addition, the dorm with the most attendees will win a free pizza dinner.