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Aggies Make Home Debut; Host Texas A&M Invitational

September 11, 2013
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
TEXAS A&M INVITATIONAL
Sept. 12-14, Reed Arena, College Station, Texas

Thursday, September 12
10:30 a.m.       Texas A&M vs. Siena
3:00 p.m.         #16 Florida State vs. Siena
7:30 p.m.         Texas A&M vs. #16 Florida State

Friday, September 13
11:00 a.m. #7 Michigan vs. Siena
7:00 p.m.   Texas A&M vs. #7 Michigan

Saturday, September 14 (closed to the public)
11:00 a.m. #7 Michigan vs. #16 Florida State

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Texas A&M volleyball team (5-1) makes its home season debut this week as the Aggies host the Texas A&M Invitational, Thursday-Saturday at Reed Arena. The Aggies take a four-match win streak into their opening contest against Siena, Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and return to the court at 7:30 p.m. that evening to face 16th-ranked Florida State, an NCAA Final Four team in 2011. On Friday, A&M takes on No. 7 Michigan at 7 p.m. The Wolverines were a Final Four team last year, falling to eventual champion Texas, 3-2, in a semifinal match.

PROMOTIONS:

·         A&M vs. Siena (Thursday, 10:30 a.m.): Free donuts and orange juice to first 100 students; two tickets to First Yell will be given away

·         A&M vs. No. 16 Florida State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m.): Two pairs of First Yell tickets will be given away

·         A&M vs. No. 7 Michigan (Friday, 7 p.m.): general admission tickets will be specially priced at only $3. In addition, Stacy Sykora, the most decorated player in Aggie volleyball history and Texas A&M’s first  three-time Olympian in a varsity sport, will be at Reed to sign autographs prior to the match

TICKETS:

·         Regular-price individual match tickets are $9 for reserve seating, $7 for adult general admission and $4 for youth, high school age and under. A&M students without a sports pass also can purchase tickets for $4 each. Tickets may be purchased at Reed Arena or in advance at 12thManFoundation.com.

·         Season ticket prices start as low as $65 with three easy and convenient ways to purchase: 1) online, 24 hours a day at tickets.12thmanfoundation.com; 2) by phone by calling 979-845-2311 or toll free at 1-888-99-AGGIE; or 3) in person at the ticket office located inside the Zone at the north end of Kyle Field. Ticket office hours of operation are 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on business days.

·         The 12th Man Foundation is offering a special $3 general admission ticket For A&M’s match against No. 7 Michigan, Friday at 7 p.m.

PARKING:

·         Free parking for volleyball fans is available in lots 100a, 100b, 100g and 100f at Reed Arena. Lot 102 is for handicap parking.

FOLLOW THE ACTION:

·         Live video of Texas A&M matches will be available on AggieAthletics.com to 12th Man TV premium subscribers. Audio of all A&M matches will be provided free.

·         Live stats for all tournament matches will be available on AggieAthletics.com

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

UP NEXT:

The Aggies conclude their non-conference schedule with a pair of road matches in the Centennial State, taking on Colorado State, Saturday, Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. (CT) in Fort Collins, and facing Northern Colorado, Sunday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. (CT) in Greeley.

RECENT RESULTS:

Texas A&M won the UTSA Classic last week in San Antonio after going 3-0 against the tournament field. The Aggies opened the tournament Thursday by fending off Loyola Marymount, 3-1, behind a 21-kill performance by sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak and topping Lamar, 3-0 in the nightcap, with 14 of 15 players contributing in the victory against the Cardinals. The Aggies closed out the tournament and captured the championship trophy by defeating UTSA Friday evening at the Convocation Center. Senior setter Allie Sawatzky posted a triple-double, and sophomore outside hitter Sierra Patrick and redshirt freshman Jazzmin Babers posted career highs in kills with 21 and 10, respectively. In addition, senior libero Kelsey Kinley tallied a career-high 23 digs against the feisty Roadrunners.

TEXAS A&M NOTES:

·         Texas A&M is 20-0 in home openers under head coach Laurie Corbelli. Last year, the Aggies swept Texas State in the season opener at Reed Arena, marking Corbelli’s 500th victory of her head coaching career and her 400th victory at the helm of the Aggies.

·         In Corbelli’s first-ever home appearance after being named head coach in 1993, the Aggies defeated 21st-ranked Florida State, 3-1, at G. Rollie White Coliseum.

·         This is the second time A&M has opened at home against Siena. The Aggies swept the Saints, 3-0, in the 2010 opener at Reed Arena.

·         Texas A&M leads or is tied with its opponents in all positive statistical averages through the first five matches.

·         Allie Sawatzky and Sierra Patrick were named all-tournament for the second consecutive week after leading Texas A&M to the championship at the UTSA Classic. Angela Lowak also was named to the UTSA Classic all-tournament team, her first such honor.

·         Sawatzky, a 6-2 lefty senior setter has started every match (98) of her career since joining the Aggies as a freshman in 2010. She is averaging 10.18 assists per set and ranks fourth in the A&M records with 3,664 assists. She needs 231 assists to move into third place, surpassing Yvonne Van Brandt, who posted 3,894 assists from 1986-89.

·         Sawatzky is the first player in the SEC to record a triple double this season. The senior had 10 kills, 48 assists and a career-high 16 digs in the win at UTSA. It was the third triple-double of her career.

·         Patrick, who has seen action on both the right and left sides, leads the Aggies with 3.95 kills per set, while Lowak leads the team with 4.17 points per set. Sophomore Shelby Sullivan leads the team with 0.59 aces per set and redshirt freshman Jazzmin Babers leads the starters with 0.86 blocks per set. Senior libero Kelsey Kinley is the leader in digs with 3.82 per set.

·         A&M underclassmen -- sophomores Lowak, Patrick and Sullivan and freshmen Babers, Emily Hardesty, Kaysie Shebeneck and Darby Graff -- have accounted for 278 of A&M’s 326 kills (85.3 percent) over the first five matches. In addition, they are responsible for 17 of 19 (89.5 percent) of the team’s solo blocks and 44 of 50 (88.0 percent) of A&M’s block assists.

·         Senior libero Kelsey Kinley has posted double figures in digs and taken team-high honors in digs in five of six matches. Her career-high 23 digs against UTSA is the most by an A&M player this year. .

·         Junior defensive specialist Hannah Hood drew the first start of her career against Lamar, and redshirt freshman middle blocker Darby Graff played in her first official match as an Aggie against the Cardinals.

·         Babers’ nine blocks in the 3-1 loss to Iowa State is the most by an Aggie freshman since Melissa Munsch tallied 10 in a 3-1 win against Kansas on Nov. 14, 2001, when the 30-point scoring cap was in effect. The nine blocks is the most by an A&M player since then-junior Lindsey Miller had nine in a sweep against Kansas State on Oct. 1, 2011. For the season, Babers is averaging a team-leading 1.09 blocks per set.

·         Lowak has posted double figures in kills in each of the last five matches. Her career-high 21 kills against Loyola Marymount equals the most kills by an A&M player this season.

·         Patrick had 21 kills against UTSA, marking the third time in six matches she has tallied 20 or more kills.

·         The Aggies continue to receive votes in the AVCA Top 25 Poll and are listed 33rd. Southern California moved up to the No. 1 spot after being No. 3 the week before. No. 5 Florida and No. 19 Kentucky represent the SEC in the top 25.

·         Eleven of A&M’s 29 regular season matches will be against teams that appeared in the 2012 NCAA Championship, including Final Four participant Michigan at the Texas A&M Invitational on Sept. 13.

·         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.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS:

·         Siena is 1-5 after dropping three-set matches to Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri State and Kansas State at the K-State Invitational last weekend. Senior outside hitter Taylor Akana leads the Saints with 2.68 kills per set, and junior outside hitter Rachel Stoklosa, an all-tournament selection last week, is averaging 2.37 kills per set. Freshman Bobbi Lin Kalama is the leader in digs with 3.38 per set. As a team, Siena is hitting .110 and averaging 10.47 kills, 9.37 assists, 1.47 aces, 11.74 digs and 1.53 blocks per set. Opponents are hitting .225 while averaging 11.05 kills, 10.16 assists, 1.37 aces, 12.79 digs and 2.58 blocks per set.

·         Florida State is 4-2, including a 3-1 victory against then-No. 16 Western Kentucky at the Seminoles’ home-opening tournament last weekend. The Seminoles, who reached the NCAA Final Four in 2011, are led by sophomore Nicole Walch’s 3.23 kills per set. Freshman middle blocker Sarah Burrington, a member of the USA Volleyball Women’s Junior National Team over the summer, is averaging a team-best 1.23 blocks per set. Chris Poole is in his sixth season as head coach of the Seminoles, who have won the ACC each of the last two years.

·         Michigan enters the tournament 5-0 and aiming for its third consecutive tournament title. The Wolverines, ranked seventh for the third consecutive week, opened the season by sweeping the field at the Xavier Invitational and then defeated Oregon State, 3-1, and No. 12 Oregon, 3-0, at the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge last weekend in Ann Arbor. Junior setter Lexi Dannemiller was named MVP at the Xavier Invitational, and senior middle blocker Jennifer Cross was named all-tournament. Dannemiller is averaging 11.44 assists per set, and Cross is averaging 2.67 kills and 1.0 blocks and is hitting .349. Freshman 6-5 middle blocker Abby Cole leads the Big Ten with a .521 hitting percentage, and as a team, Michigan is outhitting its opponents, .331 to .156. The Wolverines return five starters from last year’s team that went 27-12 and advanced to it first-ever national semifinal before falling to eventual national champion Texas in five sets. Mark Rosen is in his 15th season as head coach of the Wolverines and his wife, Leisa Rosen, is associate head coach.

ALL-TIME SERIES RECORDS:

·         Texas A&M is 2-0 in the all-time series against Siena. The teams last met Aug. 27, 2010, at Reed Arena, with the Aggies winning, 3-0 (25-11, 25-21, 25-12). A&M also posted a sweep against the Saints when the teams first met Sept. 6, 2008, in College Station.

·         A&M is 5-3 against Florida State and has won the last two meetings. Most recently, A&M defeated the Seminoles, 3-0 (30-25, 30-18, 30-19) on Sept. 7, 2001, in College Station. FSU’s most recent victory against A&M was a 15-7, 15-8, 16-14 win on Sept. 26, 1992, in Tallahassee, Fla.

·         The series between A&M and Michigan is tied, 2-2, with the Wolverines winning the last two meetings (2003, 2011) in three sets each. A&M won the first two meetings against Michigan, defeating the Wolverines, 3-0, in the second round of the 1997 NCAA tournament in College Station and topping Michigan, 3-1, in the final match of the 1998 All Sport Challenge in Ann Arbor, Mich., to capture the tournament championship.

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