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Volleyball Travels to Face No. 3 Florida, South Carolina

October 02, 2013
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

Texas A&M (9-3, 1-0 SEC) vs. No. 3 Florida (13-1, 2-0 SEC)
Friday, Oct. 4, 2013
7 p.m. (6 p.m. CT)
Stephen C. O’Connell Center
Gainesville, Fla.

Texas A&M vs. South Carolina
Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013
1:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. CT)
Volleyball Competition Facility
Columbia, S.C.

Aggies Travel to Face No. 3 Florida, South Carolina

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Texas A&M volleyball team (9-3, 1-0 SEC) makes its first conference road trip of the season this weekend as the Aggies face defending Southeastern Conference champion and third-ranked Florida, Friday, in Gainesville, Fla., and South Carolina on Sunday in Columbia, S.C. First serve against the SEC preseason-favorite Gators is at 7 p.m. (6 p.m. CT) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, and the match will be televised by Sun Sports. (Check local satellite/cable provider for availability.) The match against the Gamecocks is slated for a 1:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. CT) start at the Volleyball Competition Facility.

The Aggies are coming off a convincing 3-0 sweep against Georgia in their SEC opener at Reed Arena on Sunday. Meanwhile, Florida extended its win streak to eight and improved to 13-1 overall and 2-0 in SEC play after sweeping both Mississippi State and Ole Miss on the road last weekend. South Carolina is 9-5 overall and 1-1 in conference matches entering a Friday contest against Arkansas. Last weekend, the Gamecocks opened SEC play on the road, falling at Missouri, 3-0, and rebounding with a 3-1 victory at Tennessee.

FOLLOW THE ACTION:

·         The Texas A&M-Florida match will be televised by FOX Sports regional network Sun Sports with Larry Vettel and Missy Whittemore commentating. The match can be seen on DirecTV 653 and Suddenlink channel 133 in Bryan/College Station

·         Video streams of both A&M matches will be available for a fee. Links to the video feeds can be found on AggieAthletics.com

·         Free audio of both Texas A&M matches will be provided on AggieAthletics.com with Chelsea Reber calling the action

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

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

UP NEXT:

Texas A&M returns to College Station, Wednesday, Oct. 9, for an ESPNU nationally televised match against LSU. First serve against the Aggies and the Tigers, who were both picked to win the SEC Western Division according to a preseason vote of the league coaches, is slated for 7 p.m. at Reed Arena. It will be “Fish Camp Night” and members of the Class of 2017 will be admitted free by wearing their Fish Camp T-shirt.

RECENT RESULTS:

Texas A&M opened Southeastern Conference play with an impressive 25-20, 25-17, 25-12 victory over Georgia on Sunday at Reed Arena. Sophomore outside hitter Sierra Patrick led all players with 13 kills and completed the first double-double of her career, tying A&M senior libero Kelsey Kinley for match-high honors with 14 digs. Senior setter Allie Sawatzky posted her team leading ninth double-double of the season, dishing out 32 assists and pitching in 11 kills with no errors while hitting at a career-high .647 clip. The 6-2 lefty came within two digs of posting her second consecutive and fourth overall triple-double of the season.

Sawatzky directed the A&M offense to a .333 hitting percentage, marking the team’s highest hitting percentage since hitting .338 in the season opener against South Dakota State. Meanwhile, Georgia, which entered the contest hitting .263 for the season, was held to a season-low .083 hitting percentage as Aggie redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers recorded nine blocks. Patrick added a career-high five blocks to help A&M outblock the Bulldogs, 12-7.

QUICK HITS:

·         Senior setter Allie Sawatzky leads the SEC with three triple doubles and is tied for the league lead with nine double-doubles. The 6-2 southpaw has recorded 10 or more kills five times over the last seven matches and is hitting a combined .510 when posting 10 or more kills [57 kills, 4 errors, 104 attempts]. She is hitting a team-best .328 for the season with 2.12 kills per set while also averaging 9.81 assists per set.

·         Sawatzky has started every match of her career (104) and she needs only 33 more to move into third place in the A&M career assists records, surpassing Yvonne Van Brandt, who had 3,894 from 1986-89.

·         Sophomore outside hitter Sierra Patrick has posted double-figure kills in each of her last four matches and in eight of 11 matches overall -- she missed the Colorado State match to attend a funeral. Patrick is sixth in the SEC with 3.68 kills per set and is coming off her first career double-double after posting 13 kills and a career-high 14 digs against Georgia. She also had a career-high five blocks against the Bulldogs.

·         Redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers is second in the SEC with 1.35 blocks per set for the full season. She is coming off a nine-block performance in the sweep of Georgia, the third time she has recorded nine or more blocks in a match this season.

·         Senior libero Kelsey Kinley ranks seventh in the SEC with 4.00 digs per set. She has tallied 10 or more digs in 10 of 12 matches, including a career-high and team season-high 23 in a 3-1 victory at UTSA.

TEXAS A&M TEAM NOTES:

·         Texas A&M entered the week ranked 11th in the nation with 14.63 kills per set and is 13th with 13.56 assists per set. In addition, the Aggies are 19th in the country with 16.81 digs per set.

·         Five players who have played in more than 80 percent of the team’s 43 sets are averaging more than 2.60 points per set: Sierra Patrick (37 sets, 3.89 pps); Angela Lowak (38 sets, 3.71 pps); Shelby Sullivan (43 sets, 3.07 pps); Jazzmin Babers (43 sets, 2.73 pps); and Allie Sawatzky (43 sets, 2.62 pps).

·         A&M has used seven different starting lineups in 12 matches. Only senior setter Allie Sawatzky, sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan and redshirt freshman Jazzmin Babers have started all 12 matches. Senior Kelsey Kinley has been the designated libero in every match.

·         Texas A&M leads its opponents in all positive statistical averages through the first 12 matches:

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

A&M 14.63 .244 13.56 1.40 16.81 2.40

OPP 12.30 .180 11.40 0.67 16.00 2.29

·         A&M is 9-0 when leading its opponent in kills, 9-1 when leading in hitting percentage, and 8-0 when leading in aces.

·         A&M hit .333 against Georgia, the Aggies’ highest hitting percentage since a .338 performance in a 3-0 sweep against South Dakota State in the season opener.

·         A&M is 1-3 against ranked opponents. The Aggies defeated No. 16 Florida State, 3-0, in College Station. Losses were to No. 15 Iowa State, 3-1, No. 7 Michigan, 3-2, and No. 22 Colorado State, 3-0.

·         The Aggies are receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll and are tied for 31st this week.

·         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 80 percent of A&M’s total kills (504 of 629), 93 percent or 27 of 29 of the team’s solo blocks and 128 of 148 (86.5 percent) of the team’s block assists. The underclassmen also are responsible for 622 of 792 (78.5 percent) 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. Both Texas A&M and Florida were eliminated by eventual national champion Texas last year, A&M in the second round and Florida in the regional semifinals.

·         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:

·         Sophomore Sierra Patrick, who has seen action on both the right and left sides, leads A&M and is sixth in the SEC with 3.68 kills per set. She has posted 20 or more kills in a team-leading three matches this season. A two-time all-tournament selection, Patrick also leads the team and is 10th in the SEC with 3.89 points per set.

·         Middle blocker Jazzmin Babers, the SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 16, ranks second in the SEC and 27th in the nation with 1.35 blocks per set. Against No. 7 Michigan (Sept. 13), she had a career-high 11 blocks, the most blocks by an A&M freshman since Melissa Munsch collected 13 against Colorado on Oct. 24, 2001. Over the last five matches, Babers is averaging 2.0 blocks per set.

·         Outside hitter Angela Lowak is second on the team and 14th in the SEC in both kills (3.34) and points (3.71) per set.

·         Freshman defensive specialist Victoria Arenas has started four of the last five matches. She 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 setter/opposite hitter Kaysie Shebeneck has started three matches. Arenas, Babers and Shebeneck all started against Michigan, marking the first time A&M had three freshmen in the starting lineup this season. The trio also was in the starting lineup at Colorado State.

·         Shelby Sullivan leads the team and is eighth in the SEC with 0.35 aces per set. The sophomore middle blocker, who has 15 aces on the year, including a career-high five aces in a sweep against Lamar, is second among starters with 0.77 blocks per set, and she is third on the squad with 3.07 points per set.

·         Senior setter/defensive specialist Mariah Agre has started five matches in the back row and appeared in all 12 matches, as well as 42 of 43 sets. She is second on the team and 10th in the SEC with 0.33 aces per set. She also is second on the team with 1.69 assists per set and is third on the team with 2.24 digs per set.

SCOUTING FLORIDA:

·         Florida is 13-1 overall and is riding an eight-match win streak. The Gators, whose only loss is against then No. 1 Penn State, opened SEC play with sweeps against both Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

·         Florida is outhitting its opponents .338 to .161.

·         Senior setter Taylor Brauneis leads the SEC with 0.51 aces per set. She is third in the league with 11.54 assists per set.

·         Senior middle Chloe Mann and freshman right side Alex Holston rank in the top five in the SEC in hitting percentage. Mann, a 2012 first-team All-American and the SEC Player of the Year, is hitting .510 and Holston is hitting .403.

·         Mary Wise (Purdue ‘81) is 699-81 (.896) in her 23rd season as head coach at Florida.

SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA:

·         South Carolina is 9-5 overall and 1-1 in SEC play entering a Friday contest against Arkansas. Last weekend, the Gamecocks fell to Missouri, 3-0, in the conference opener and then defeated Tennessee, 3-1. Both matches were on the road.

·         The Gamecocks are 6-0 in home matches entering the Arkansas match.

·         Sophomore outside hitter Juliette Thevenin leads the SEC with 4.94 kills and 5.32 points per set.

·         As a team, South Carolina is third in the SEC with a .252 hitting percentage for the full season. Opponents are being held to a .182 percentage.

ALL-TIME SERIES RECORDS:

Texas A&M vs. Florida:

·         Texas A&M is 0-7 all-time against Florida, including 0-3 in Gainesville.

·         In the only meeting last year, Texas A&M won the first two sets, 25-14, 27-25, but 11th-ranked Florida came back to win the next three, 25-23, 25-23, 15-6, to take the match, 3-2, at Reed Arena. It was the first time in the series that the match was determined in five sets.

·         A&M has not played in Gainesville since Dec. 7, 1995, when the Aggies fell to the then fourth-ranked Gators, 15-4, 15-13, 15-4, in the NCAA East Regional semifinals.

A&M’s all-time results vs. Florida:

Overall: 0-7        H: 0-3          A: 0-3   N: 0-1

Oct.   28,  1988           A          L          17-15, 9-15, 3-15, 6-15

Sept.  7,    1989           H          L          15-10, 13-15, 12-15, 8-15

Sept.  25,  1992           A          L          7-15, 8-15, 3-15

Sept.  19,  1993           H          L          6-15, 15-12, 7-15, 8-15

Dec.   7,    1995           A          L          4-15, 13-15, 4-15

Sept.  9,    2005           N          L          28-30, 30-19, 24-30, 26-30

Oct.   21,  2012           H          L          25-14, 27-25, 23-25, 23-25, 6-15

Texas A&M vs. South Carolina:

·         Texas A&M is 4-0 all-time against South Carolina, including 2-0 in matches played in Columbia.

·         A&M has won all four matches in straight sets.

·         The teams first met Oct. 10, 1993, in Columbia, where A&M defeated the host Gamecocks, 15-7, 15-8, 15-7, in Laurie Corbelli’s first season as head coach of the Aggies.

·         Last year in the first meeting as SEC opponents, A&M defeated South Carolina, 25-12, 25-16, 25-16, at Reed Arena on Oct. 5, 2012. A&M completed the series sweep with a 25-19, 25-16, 25-23 victory on Oct. 28 in Columbia.

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