COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M (14-2, 6-1
SEC), the SEC Western Division leader, kicks off its toughest four-match
stretch of the season this weekend as the Aggies hit the road to take on
Arkansas (14-4, 5-2 SEC) and Kentucky, Friday and Sunday, respectively. The
first-ever meeting against the Razorbacks, who are one game behind A&M in
the West, begins at 7 p.m. at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville. First serve
against Kentucky (10-7, 4-3 SEC), the only SEC team with a win against the
Aggies, is Sunday at 12:30 p.m. (CT) at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington.
Texas A&M (14-2, 6-1 SEC) vs. Arkansas (14-4, 5-2 SEC)
Friday, Oct. 12, 2012
7 p.m., Barnhill Arena
Texas A&M vs. Kentucky
FOLLOW THE ACTION:
Sunday, Oct. 14
12:30 p.m. (CT), Memorial Coliseum
- Live audio of the match will be available free
on 12thMan.TV with Chelsea Reber calling the action and Kelly Stumph providing
- Live stats will be available on
- Live updates and other information can be
found by following AggieVolleyball on Twitter.
Aggies return to Reed Arena, Friday, Oct. 19, for a match-up against preseason
favorite Tennessee. First serve is at 6 p.m. On Sunday, Oct. 21, A&M plays
host to league-leader and 11th-ranked Florida in a match that will be
nationally televised by ESPNU. First serve against the Gators is slated for 1
Texas A&M went 2-0
last weekend with sweeps against both South Carolina and Mississippi State in
matches that were televised by SPORTSOUTH. A&M tagged the Gamecocks with
their fifth consecutive loss, 25-12, 25-16, 25-16, on Friday, getting
contributions from 13 different players. Senior middle blocker Lindsey
Miller led all players with 12 kills while hitting .500. Senior opposite Alisia
Kastmo pitched in 10 kills and setter Allie Sawatzky dished out 33
assists and directed an A&M offense that hit .364. Then-SEC Co-Defensive
Player of the Week Megan Pendergast led all players with 10 digs.
On Sunday, A&M
defeated a young and short-handed Mississippi State squad in record-setting
fashion, holding the Bulldogs to only 32 points in a 25-8, 25-14, 25-10
victory. It marked the fewest points scored by an A&M opponent in a
three-set match since the 25-point cap went into effect in 2008. Despite a
continuously changing lineup with 15 A&M players seeing action, the Aggies
hit .356 while holding Mississippi State to a -.047 hitting percentage. Senior
outside Tori Mellinger, one of only two Aggies to see action in all
three sets, led A&M with seven kills and 15 digs.
SERIES HISTORY VS.
- This will be the first meeting. Arkansas did not sponsor volleyball
when the two schools were members of the Southwest Conference.
SERIES HISTORY VS.
- Although A&M leads the all-time series against Kentucky, 5-4,
the Wildcats have won the last four meetings, including a hard-fought 3-2
(25-23, 24-26, 25-18, 20-25, 15-12) victory in the teams' first-ever meeting as
SEC foes on Sept. 23, 2012, in College Station.
- Also still fresh on Aggies' minds is a 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-19)
loss to the Wildcats in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Championship at Reed
Arena. It marked A&M's first-ever NCAA home loss after going 15-0.
- A&M is 0-1 in matches played in Lexington.
- A&M's last win against Kentucky was in 1985 at G. Rollie White
Coliseum in College Station.
- In the most recent meeting, A&M gave up a season-high nine aces
and had its nine-match winning streak snapped, while Kentucky got back into the
win column after suffering four consecutive losses. A&M had more kills
(66-61) but UK led in hitting percentage (.229 to .187) and blocks (12.5 to
7.5) to come out on top. Whitney Billings and Ashley Frazier led the Wildcats
with 16 kills apiece, and Lauren O'Conner added 12 kills. Billings and Sara
Schwarzwalder had six blocks apiece, and setter Christine Hartmann had 55
assists and libero Stephanie Klefot had 20 digs for UK. A&M's Alisia
Kastmo led all players with 19 kills and Tori Mellinger was the only
other A&M player with double-digit kills with 18. Libero Megan
Pendergast had a match-high 22 digs and setter Allie Sawatzky had 48
A&M's all-time results
Overall: 5-4 H: 3-3 A: 0-1 N: 2-0
Oct. 9, 1982 N W 15-9, 16-14
Oct. 29, 1982 H W 4-15, 13-15, 15-2, 15-11, 15-12
Oct. 30, 1982 H W 15-9, 10-15, 16-14, 10-15, 15-11
Sep. 14, 1985 N W 15-9, 15-6, 15-7
Oct. 4, 1985 H W 15-10, 8-15, 15-5, 15-10
Oct. 31, 1986 A L 15-11, 8-15, 12-15, 8-15
Oct. 15, 1988 H L 4-15, 16-18, 12-15
Dec. 2, 2011 H L 18-25, 21-25, 19-25
Sep. 23, 2012 H L 23-25, 26-24, 18-25, 25-20, 12-15
AGGIE QUICK HITS:
- Texas A&M, the winner in 13 of its last 14 matches, including
each of its last four, took over sole possession of first place in the SEC
Western Division last weekend as the Aggies improved to 6-1 in conference play
and former co-Western Division leader Arkansas suffered a 3-0 loss at No. 11
Florida to fall to 5-2.
- A&M's 14-2 record equals the best start in school history after
16 matches. The 1984 team won 22 matches before suffering its third loss, and
the 1996 and 1995 squads won 15 and 14 matches, respectively, before posting a
- A&M is No. 24 in this week's Rating Percentage Index (RPI).
Stanford is No. 1, and Penn State Nebraska, UCLA and Louisville round out the
top five. At No. 13, Florida is the top-rated team representing the SEC,
followed by No. 18 Kentucky, No. 20 Arkansas and No. 21 Tennessee.
- The Aggies are receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 Poll. Listed at a
season-high 26th, A&M is on the cusp of breaking into the Top 25 for the
first time since a No. 21 ranking in the final poll of the 2009 season (Dec.
- A&M leads the SEC and is ranked third in
the nation in both assists (13.83) and kills (15.02) per set. A&M also
leads the SEC and is 10th in the nation with a .875 winning percentage.
- A&M is the SEC leader in opponent hitting
percentage (.136) and is second in digs (17.24) and third in aces (1.31) per
set for the full season.
- In SEC matches only, A&M leads the league
with 14.36 assists and 15.40 kills per set, as well as a .148 opponent hitting
percentage. A&M is third with a .263 hitting percentage and is fifth in
aces (1.16) and digs (17.20) and ninth in blocks (2.20) per set.
- All six A&M players who have appeared in 50 or more sets are
averaging at least 2.0 digs per set.
- A&M has led its opponent in kills in 15 of
16 matches and is 14-1 when leading in kills. Southern California is the only
team that has posted more kills (56-48) as the Trojans defeated A&M, 3-1,
in College Station in the second match of the season. 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 13-0 when posting a higher hitting percentage than its
- A&M has won the first set in 15 of 16 matches. Only Kentucky
has taken the first set off the Aggies. The Wildcats went on to win, 3-2.
- A&M has used the same starting lineup in
all 16 matches thus far: seniors Lindsey Miller and Stephanie
Minnerly at middle blocker; senior Alisia Kastmo at opposite; senior
Tori Mellinger and junior Heather Reynolds on the outside; and
junior Allie Sawatzky at setter. Senior Megan Pendergast has
started out every match as the team's designated libero.
- 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 513-302 for her career
and 413-196 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.
- 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.
- Junior setter Allie Sawatzky, a 6-2 lefty, is averaging 1.94
kills per set, the most among all SEC setters. She has twice led or tied for
the team lead in kills in a match this season, and her five 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
108 consecutive matches. Sawatzky has started all 77 matches throughout her career.
- Lindsey Miller, who has tied or led the
team in blocks in 13 of 16 matches this season, leads A&M, is second in the
SEC and ranks 81st in the nation with 1.19 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, every year during her career, and she ranks fifth in the
A&M career records with 353 block assists, and she is seventh in the career
annals with 403 total blocks and 1,101.5 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 3.92
digs per set for the full season and 4.12 digs per set in SEC matches only. She
has posted double-figure digs in 12 of 16 matches, including three matches in
which she had 20 or more digs.
- 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
- 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 for both the full season and in conference matches only. She
is averaging 3.02 kills, 3.23 digs and 3.41 points per set overall and 3.28
kills, 3.60 digs and 3.78 points per set in SEC contests only.
- Alisia Kastmo has had double-figure
kills in a team-leading 11 matches this season, including two 20-plus kill
performances. She leads A&M and ranks ninth in the SEC with 3.55 kills per
set for the full season. She is tied for fourth in the league in SEC matches
only with 3.75 kills per set. In addition, Kastmo is eighth with 3.98 points
per set for the full season and 4.06 points per set in SEC contests only.
- Allie Sawatzky, who ranks eighth in the A&M records with
2,795 career assists, is averaging 10.00 assists per set for the full season,
ranking ninth in the SEC. In conference matches only, she is second in the SEC
with 11.08 assists per set.
- Freshman outside hitter Angela Lowak
has appeared in each of the last six matches, and freshman Sierra Patrick
has appeared in each of the last five matches. Lowak has been coming in for Heather
Reynolds in the front row, while Patrick typically goes in for Lindsey
Miller to serve.
- All 15 designated eligible players saw action
in the match against Mississippi State. Four freshmen saw significant action,
including Shelbi Vaughan, who came off the bench and had six kills in
two sets, and middle blocker Shelby Sullivan, who tied for match-high
honors with four blocks.
- 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.
- Arkansas (14-4, 5-2 SEC) has won five of its
last six matches with the only loss during the stretch coming at the hands of
11th-ranked Florida on the road.
- Although A&M and Arkansas have never met,
there will be a familiar face on the Razorbacks' bench as assistant coach Carol
Price-Torok played for A&M and coach Laurie Corbelli from 2000-03.
- Most recently, the Razorbacks defeated Ole
Miss, 3-1, in Oxford. Jasmine Norton led the Hogs with 18 kills and Amanda
Anderson added 16 while hitting at a .625 clip. Arkansas outhit the Rebels,
.290 to .168, and led in blocks, 11-5, and in digs, 65-49.
- The Razorbacks are 9-2 in home contests.
- Arkansas was picked to finish third behind
Texas A&M in the SEC Western Division, according to a preseason poll of the
- Robert Pulliza (Ball State, 1996) is in his
fifth season as head coach of the Razorbacks.
- Kentucky is 10-7 overall and 4-3 in the SEC
entering a Friday contest against Mississippi State in Lexington. The Wildcats
are 5-1 in home matches.
- Most recently, No. 11 Florida overcame a
two-set deficit to defeat Kentucky, 22-25, 20-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-8, in
Gainesville, snapping the Wildcats' four-match winning streak. Sophomore Lauren
O'Conner had a career high and team-high 18 kills and hit .421.
- Whitney Billings leads UK with 2.91 kills per
set and 3.67 points per set.
- Kentucky ranks second in the SEC and 33rd in
the nation with 2.65 blocks per set.
Skinner is 168-72 (.700) in his eighth season as head coach of the Wildcats and
has led Kentucky to seven consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. Before being
hired at Kentucky, Skinner served five seasons in the Big 12 Conference as an
assistant coach at Nebraska.