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AGGIES WRAP UP NON-CONFERENCE PLAY AT CSU, NORTHERN COLORADO

September 20, 2013
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

Texas A&M (7-2) vs. #22 Colorado State (9-0)
Saturday, 7 p.m. MT (8 p.m. CT)
Moby Arena
Fort Collins, Colo.

Texas A&M vs. Northern Colorado
Sunday, 7 p.m. (8 p.m. CT)
Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion
Greeley, Colo.

AGGIES WRAP UP NON-CONFERENCE PLAY AT COLORADO STATE, NORTHERN COLORADO

The Texas A&M volleyball team concludes its non-conference schedule this weekend with a pair of matches in the Centennial State, taking on undefeated and 22nd-ranked Colorado State, Saturday, at Moby Arena in Fort Collins and facing Northern Colorado, Sunday, at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion in Greeley. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. MT (8 p.m. CT).

The Aggies (7-2) have won six of their last seven matches and are coming off their second consecutive tournament championship after winning the Texas A&M Invitational last weekend over then-No. 7 Michigan, No. 16 Florida State and Siena.

CSU is off to a 9-0 start, including 5-0 in home matches, after sweeping border-rival Wyoming, 25-23, 25-22, 25-21, in front of 4,118 fans at Moby Arena on Wednesday. Northern Colorado is 4-5 entering matches at Montana and Montana State, Friday and Saturday, respectively, before returning home to host the Aggies on Sunday.

FOLLOW THE ACTION:

·         Live stats of both matches will be available at AggieAthletics.com.

·         A link to the Mountain West Network’s free live video of the match against Colorado State also will be provided at AggieAthletics.com.

·         Updates and other information can be found by following AggieVolleyball on Twitter.com

 

UPCOMING:
The Aggies open Southeastern Conference play Sunday, Sept. 29 as they play host to the Georgia Bulldogs at 1 p.m. at Reed Arena. A&M, which won the SEC Western Division in its inaugural season in the league with a 16-4 record, was picked to win the SEC West again this season along with LSU before league athletics directors passed a measure to award division champions in the sports of football and baseball only.

RECENT RESULTS:
Although Texas A&M had its six-match win streak snapped in a 3-2 (16-25, 26-24, 25-20, 20-25, 15-13) loss to No. 7 Michigan in the Aggies’ final match of the Texas A&M Invitational, A&M still captured its own tournament championship, winning the tiebreaker against the Wolverines and No. 16 Florida State after all three teams finished atop the standings with identical 2-1 records. A&M was 8-3 (.727) in sets played and won the tiebreaker by having the highest sets won-lost ratio.

Senior setter Allie Sawatzky, who had a triple-double against the seventh-ranked Wolverines, took top individual honors as she was named tournament MVP. In addition, Aggie sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak and redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers were named to the all-tournament team.

A&M handed FSU its only loss of the tournament with a 27-25, 27-25, 25-22 sweep. The Seminoles went on to knock off Michigan, 3-2, in the final match of the tournament to create the three-way tie for first place. Siena finished fourth, going 0-3.

TEXAS A&M TEAM NOTES

·         Texas A&M is 1-2 against ranked teams this season, sweeping No. 16 Florida State, 27-25, 27-25, 25-22, and falling to No. 7 Michigan, 3-2 (16-25, 26-24, 25-20, 20-25, 15-13) and No. 15 Iowa State, 3-1 (21-25, 25-22, 25-23, 27-25).

·         The Aggies are receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll and are listed 26th this week.  The last time they were in the Top 25 was a No. 21 showing in the final poll of the 2009 season.

·         The Aggies have won the first set in every match this season.

·         A&M is 7-0 when leading its opponent in kills, 7-1 when leading in hitting percentage, and 6-0 when leading in aces.

·         A&M is 10th in the nation with 13.76 assists per set and 11th in the country with 14.79 kills per set. It also is ranked in the top 50 in digs per set (21st, 16.94) and aces per set (48th, 1.61)

·         Texas A&M leads its opponents in all positive statistical averages through the first nine matches:

K/s       Pct.      A/s      SA/s    D/s      BLK/s

A&M    14.79   .256     13.76   1.61     16.94   2.30

OPP     12.21   .179     11.27   0.79     16.12   2.09

·         Five of six Aggie starters are averaging at least 2.0 kills per set and 2.5 points per set.

·         A&M has used six different starting lineups in nine matches. Only senior setter Allie Sawatzky and middle blockers Shelby Sullivan and Jazzmin Babers have started all nine matches.

·         Texas A&M won two of three pre-conference tournaments, winning the UTSA Classic with a 3-0 mark and winning its own Texas A&M Invitational. The Aggies, No. 7 Michigan and No. 16 Florida State all finished with 2-1 records in College Station, but A&M was awarded the trophy based on the sets won-lost ratio tiebreaker. A&M placed second at the season-opening UND Classic, won by No. 15 Iowa State.

·         In the season opener against South Dakota State, five of six A&M players were making the first start of their careers, including freshman outside hitter Emily Hardesty and redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers. Sophomores and freshmen have accounted for 399 of 488 (81.8 percent) of A&M’s total kills, 24 of 26 (92.3 percent) of the team’s solo blocks and 87 of 100 block assists this season. They are responsible for 491.5 of 617 (79.7 percent) of total points.

·         Eleven of A&M’s 29 regular season matches will be against teams that appeared in the 2012 NCAA Championship, including Michigan and Florida State, who reached the Final Four in 2012 and 2011, respectively. Colorado State and Northern Colorado, A&M’s two opponents this weekend, both reached the NCAA first round last year.

·         Texas A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli returns two starters and eight other letterwinners from last year’s team that won the SEC West with a 16-4 record and was 25-6 overall with a No. 17 final RPI after advancing to the NCAA second round. She also welcomes two redshirt freshmen and four true freshmen.

·         A&M, the 2012 SEC Western Division Champion, was picked to win the SEC West again this year, along with LSU, according to a preseason vote of the league’s head coaches. However, in a meeting held in late August, the SEC athletics directors passed a measure, effective immediately, to recognize and award divisional champions in the sports of football and baseball only.

AGGIE PLAYER NOTES

·         Senior setter Allie Sawatzky was named MVP at the Texas A&M Invitational after leading the Aggies to the championship title over No. 7 Michigan, No. 16 Florida State and Siena. The 6-2 attacking-minded lefty setter had an all-around phenomenal match in a narrow 3-2 loss to Michigan, posting her second triple-double of the season and leading all players with 16 kills with zero errors in 28 attempts for a .571 hitting percentage. She also added 38 assists and tied her season high with 16 digs against the Wolverines. Sawatzky posted a double-double in a sweep against 16th-ranked Florida State with 10 kills and 36 assists. For the tournament, the setter led the tournament field with a .417 hitting percentage and was fifth among all players with 2.73 kills per set. In addition Sawatzky tied Michigan setter and all-tournament selection Lexi Dannemiller for the lead in assists with 9.82 per set and ranked eighth in points (3.05) and 10th in digs (2.55) per set.

·         Sawatzky, who now has two triple-doubles on the season and four for her career, has started every match (101) of her four-year career. The Canadian, who leads the Aggies with six double-doubles this season, ranks fourth in the A&M records with 3,772 career assists. She needs 123 assists to surpass Yvonne Van Brandt (1886-89) and move into third place. Suzy Wente (1992-95) holds the all-time record with 5,511 career assists.

·         Middle blocker Jazzmin Babers was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week and was selected to the Texas A&M Invitational all-tournament team -- both firsts for the redshirt freshman -- after averaging 1.82 blocks per set and helping the Aggies win the Texas A&M Invitational. The 6-2 middle, whose block average was second best in the tournament field, took match-high honors in blocks against Michigan with a career-high 11, the most blocks by an A&M freshman since Melissa Munsch collected 13 against Colorado on Oct. 24, 2001. Babers tallied six blocks in the sweep against the Seminoles, including back-to-back stuffs to clinch the 27-25 victory in set one. She also had three blocks in a sweep against Siena. Babers, who has started every match and played in every set this season, also averaged 2.0 kills and 3.09 points per set during the tournament. For the season, she is hitting .286 and averaging 2.0 kills and 1.18 blocks per set.

·         Outside hitter Angela Lowak was named to the Texas A&M Invitational all-tournament team after leading the Aggies and ranking third against the tournament field with 3.40 kills per set. She had 14 kills in the sweep against Florida State and posted 12 kills and 14 digs for a double-double against Michigan. It was the second consecutive all-tournament selection for the sophomore, who leads the Aggies with 3.61 kills and 4.00 points per set for the full season.

·         Senior libero Kelsey Kinley has posted double figures in digs in eight of nine matches, including each of the last seven matches. She has taken or tied for team-high honors in digs in eight contests and leads the team with 4.00 digs per set. Her career-high 23 digs against UTSA is the most by an A&M player this year.

·         Freshman Kaysie Shebeneck drew the first start of her career against No. 7 Michigan. The 6-1 setter/opposite hitter posted eight kills and also had six blocks for 11.0 points in five sets.

·         Shebeneck is one of four freshmen who have appeared in a starting lineup this season, including redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers, who has started every match. Outside hitter Emily Hardesty has started six matches and defensive specialist Victoria Arenas has started each of the last two matches. Arenas, Babers and Shebeneck all started against Michigan, marking the first time A&M had three freshmen in the starting lineup this season.

·         Sophomore Sierra Patrick, who has seen action on both the right and left sides, leads the team with three 20-plus kill performances. A two-time all-tournament selection, Patrick is second on the team and 11th in the SEC with 3.53 kills per set. The 5-10 Austin native also is second on the team and 14th in the league with 3.63 points per set.

·         Lowak had a career-high 21 kills against Loyola Marymount and is tied with Patrick with a team-leading seven double-digit kill performances.

·         Shelby Sullivan leads the team, is fifth in the SEC and ranks 72nd in the nation with 0.42 aces per set. The sophomore middle blocker, who has 14 aces on the year, including a career-high five aces in a sweep against Lamar, is second on the team with 0.82 blocks per set.

·         Senior setter/defensive specialist Mariah Agre has started four matches in the back row and appeared in all nine matches, as well as 32 of 33 sets. She is second on the team with 0.31 aces per set and 1.75 assists per set and is third on the team with 2.25 digs per set.

·         Senior outside hitter Ashley Vrana came off the bench in the sweep against Siena and led all players with a career-high 10 kills in two sets.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS

Colorado State

·         CSU is in the AVCA Top 25 for the first time this season, coming in at No. 22 in Monday’s poll. It is the Rams’ highest ranking since a No. 21 showing on Sept. 26, 2011, and their first ranking since they were No. 24 in the first regular-season poll of the 2012 season.

·         The Rams defeated Wyoming, 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-21) on Wednesday to improve to 9-0, marking the fourth best start in school history. CSU also owns a 3-0 sweep against Northern Colorado, A&M’s next opponent.

·         Four players posted double-figure kills in the Rams’ sweep against Wyoming, with Texas native and 6-2 outside hitter Marlee Reynolds leading all players with 12 kills while hitting .345. Junior setter Deedra Foss dished out 40 assists while directing the Rams to a .266 to .195 hitting percentage advantage. Sophomore opposite Adrianna Culbert completed a double-double with 10 kills and 14 digs, and middle blockers Samantha Peters and Kelsey Snider added 10 kills and five blocks apiece.

·         CSU entered the week ranked fourth in the nation with a .334 hitting percentage and fifth in the nation with 15.18 assists per set, with Foss third in the individual stats with a 12.36 assist norm. Following the Wyoming match, the Rams are outhitting their opponents, .326 to .176, averaging 15.32 kills to opponents’ 12.10. In addition, CSU is averaging 14.06 digs and 2.61 blocks while opponents are averaging 13.00 digs and 1.90 blocks.

·         Tom Hilbert (Oklahoma, 1984) is 412-104 in his 17th season as head coach of the Rams. With Hilbert at the helm, CSU has extended its streak of consecutive NCAA tournament appearances to 18. He returns three starters from last year’s team that went 21-8, won the Mountain West and advanced to the first round of the NCAAs.

Northern Colorado

·         Northern Colorado is 4-5 entering its Big Sky Conference opening matches at Montana and Montana State, Friday and Saturday, before returning home to host the Aggies.

·         Most recently, the Bears fell to Arkansas, 3-0, and Tulsa, 3-1, on Saturday at the Golden Hurricane Classic. Brianna Strong represented Northern Colorado on the all-tournament team.

·         The Bears, 2-0 in home matches, enter the three-match stretch hitting .153 and averaging 11.65 kills. 10.81 assists, 2.24 blocks, 1.10 aces and 16.84 digs per set.

·         Lyndsey Oates (LSU, 2002) entered the week 149-106 in her ninth season as head coach of the Bears. She returns three starters from last year’s team that won the Big Sky Tournament, advanced to the NCAA first round and finished 24-11.

ALL-TIME SERIES RECORDS:

Colorado State

·         Colorado State owns a 5-2 lead in the all-time series against the Aggies, including a 2-1 record when the teams have met in Fort Collins.

·         A&M won the most recent meeting, 30-24, 27-30, 42-40, 30-26, on Aug. 25, 2006, at the CSU Hilton Classic in Fort Collins, snapping a five-match losing skid against the Rams.

·         The 42 points scored in the second set was the most points A&M ever scored in a single set during the 30-point scoring cap era.

·         The match marked both teams’ season opener, and A&M went on to win the tournament with a 3-0 record, having also defeated Missouri State and Morgan State.

Northern Colorado:

 Texas A&M won the only meeting between the Aggies and the Bears, 15-10, 15-4, on Sept. 28, 1978, at the North Texas State Invitational in Denton, Texas.

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