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Texas A&M Plays Host to Arkansas, No. 11 Missouri

October 24, 2013
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

Texas A&M (10-8, 2-5 SEC) vs. Arkansas (13-7, 6-3 SEC)
Friday, Oct. 25, 2013
6 p.m., Reed Arena

Promotions:
·      Aggies CAN: free admission by donating a canned food item
·      Volleyball team autograph session after the match
·      Members of Junior Aggie Club get in free to all home matches

Texas A&M vs. No. 11 Missouri
Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013
1:30 p.m., Reed Arena

Promotions:
·      $3 admission by presenting Texas A&M-Vanderbilt football ticket
·      Kids’ Halloween costume contest, with best costume winner receiving $25 gift card
·      Members of Junior Aggie Club get in free to all home matches

Texas A&M Plays Host to Arkansas, No. 11 Missouri at Reed

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- After a tough road outing, Texas A&M (10-8, 2-5 SEC) looks to get back into the win column this weekend as the Aggies return to Reed Arena to play host to both Arkansas (13-7, 6-3 SEC) and league-leader and 11th-ranked Missouri, Friday and Sunday, respectively.

First serve against the Razorbacks is slated for 6 p.m., and it will be an “Aggies CAN” event with free admission by donating a canned food item. Following the match, the volleyball team will host an autograph session.

The match against the Tigers, who enter the weekend 23-0, including 7-0 in SEC matches, will begin at 1:30 p.m. at Reed. Present a football ticket from Saturday’s Texas A&M-Vanderbilt football game and get in for only $3. In addition, there will be a kids’ Halloween costume contest, with the winner receiving a $25 gift card.

A&M is looking to break a two-match losing skid after suffering back-to-back road losses last weekend at Alabama and Auburn. Arkansas, in fourth place in the SEC standings, is coming off a 1-1 weekend in which the Razorbacks fell to then-No. 2 Florida, 3-1, and defeated Georgia, 3-1, in Fayetteville. Missouri, one of only two remaining undefeated teams in the nation, jumped to the top of the SEC standings and catapulted seven spots to No. 11 in the Top 25 after defeating Georgia, 3-1, and stunning preseason favorite Florida, 3-1, to improve to a school-record 23-0.

FOLLOW THE ACTION:
·      Live video of A&M home matches will be available on AggieAthletics.com to 12th Man TV premium subscribers.
·      Free audio of all A&M home matches will be provided free with Chelsea Reber and Casey Richardson calling the action.
·      Live stats will be available on AggieAthletics.com
·      Updates and other information can be found by following AggieVolleyball on Twitter.com

UP NEXT:
The Aggies conclude a three-match home stand against No. 5 Florida, Sunday, Nov. 3 at Reed Arena. The match, which will televised nationally by ESPNU, will begin at 1 p.m. Show a ticket from the Texas A&M-UTEP football game and get in for only $3.

TEXAS A&M TEAM NOTES:

·         Texas A&M ranks third in the SEC and 17th in the nation with 14.31 kills per set. The Aggies are fourth in the league and 18th in the country with 13.32 assists per set, and they are fourth in the conference with 16.06 digs per set for the full season.

·         In SEC matches only, A&M is fourth in both kills (13.92) and assists (13.00) per set and fifth in hitting percentage (.244)

·         Five starters are averaging at least 2.60 points per set: sophomore outside hitters Sierra Patrick (3.53 pps) and Angela Lowak (3.36 pps); sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan (3.21 pps); redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers (2.66 pps); and senior setter Allie Sawatzky (2.62 pps).

·         A&M has used nine different starting lineups in 18 matches. Only setter Allie Sawatzky and middle blockers Shelby Sullivan and Jazzmin Babers have started every match. Senior Kelsey Kinley has started off every match as the designated libero.

·         In the season opener against South Dakota State, five of six A&M players were making the first start of their collegiate careers, including freshman outside hitter Emily Hardesty and redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers. Senior setter Allie Sawatzky was the only upperclassman in the lineup, as sophomore outside hitters Angela Lowak and Sierra Patrick and sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan also drew their first career starts.

·         Sophomores and freshmen have accounted for 79 percent of A&M’s total kills (737 of 930), 94 percent or 30 of 32 of the team’s solo blocks and 203 of 233 (87 percent) of the team’s block assists. The underclassmen also are responsible for 901.5 of 1159.5 (78 percent) of A&M’s total points.

·         Four of A&M’s losses have been to ranked opponents. The Aggies, tied with Florida in the SEC for most matches against ranked opponents, are 1-4 against Top 25 teams, defeating No. 16 Florida State, 3-0, and falling to No. 7 Michigan, 3-2, No. 15 Iowa State, 3-1, and both No. 3 Florida and No. 22 Colorado State, 3-0.

·         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.

·         Eleven of A&M’s 29 scheduled 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. A&M is currently 3-4 against last year’s NCAA tournament teams.

·         Texas A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli returns two starters -- setter Allie Sawatzky and outside hitter Heather Reynolds, who is a defensive specialist this year -- 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, where the Aggies fell to eventual national champion Texas. 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 leads the SEC with five triple-doubles, including most recently a 10-kill, 25-assist, 12-dig performance in a sweep against Mississippi State on Oct. 11. Arkansas setter Raymariely Santos has one triple-double and is the only other SEC player to register a triple-double this season. Sawatzky is tied for the league-lead with 13 double-doubles.

·         Sawatzky, a 6-2 lefty, has recorded 10 or more kills nine times over the last 13 matches and is hitting a combined .461 when posting 10 or more kills [99 kills, 11 errors, 191 attempts]. She is second on the team and 15th in the SEC with a .316 hitting percentage, while averaging 2.20 kills per set. In addition, she is averaging 9.85 assists. Sawatzky, who hit a career-high .714 (minimum 10 kills) with 10 kills, zero errors in 14 attempts in the sweep against Mississippi State, is hitting .338 in SEC matches only, ranking 13th in the league.

·         Sawatzky has started every match of her career (110) and played in 406 of 409 total sets during her career. She moved into third place in the A&M career records against South Carolina on Oct. 6, surpassing Yvonne Van Brandt, who had 3,894 assists from 1986-89. Sawatzky, who now has 4,080 career assists, needs only 3.5 points to move into the A&M top 10 for career points, overtaking former middle blocker Kelly Stanton who tallied 828.5 points from 2004-07.

·         Middle blocker Shelby Sullivan has hit above .300 in six of the last seven matches, including a career-high .636 (minimum 10 kills) at Alabama, recording a career-high and team-high 15 kills with only one error in 22 attempts. She is hitting .408 in SEC matches only, ranking fifth in the league, and she is hitting a team-best .324 for the full season, ranking 14th in the league.

·         Babers is second in the SEC and 47th in the nation with 1.26 blocks per set for the full season. The 6-2 redshirt freshman, who is tied for third in the SEC with 1.32 blocks per set in league matches only, has recorded nine or more blocks in a match three times this season.

·         Babers, the SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 16, had a career-high 11 blocks against No. 7 Michigan (Sept. 13). It is the most blocks by an A&M freshman since Melissa Munsch collected 13 against Colorado on Oct. 24, 2001.

·         Sophomore Sierra Patrick has posted double-figure kills in a team-leading 11 matches and leads the Aggies and is 13th in the SEC with 3.22 kills per set for the full season. She also leads A&M and is 14th in the conference with 3.53 points per set for the full season, having seen action on both the left and right sides.

·         Patrick, a two-time all-tournament selection in 2013, has posted 20 or more kills in a team-leading three matches this season.

·         Sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak has posted double-figure kills in 10 matches this season, including a match-high 15 kills at Auburn. She is second on the team and ranks 16th in the SEC in both kills (3.05) and points (3.36) per set.

·         Senior setter/defensive specialist Mariah Agre leads the team and is fourth in the SEC with 0.34 aces per set for the full season and is sixth in the league with 0.35 aces per set in SEC matches only. Agre has played in 17 matches this season and has registered at least one ace in all but three contests.

·         Senior libero Kelsey Kinley leads the Aggies and ranks eighth in the SEC with 3.84 digs per set. The College Station native has tallied 10 or more digs in 15 of 18 matches, including a career-high and team season-high 23 in a 3-1 victory at UTSA. Kinley has taken or tied for team-high honors in digs in 14 matches overall.

·         Freshman Victoria Arenas made her A&M libero debut in the third set against South Carolina on Oct. 6. For the first point of the set, Arenas dug a hard-driven ball that then went over the net and fell in for a kill. It was the first kill of her A&M career. Arenas has appeared in 14 matches overall, starting four, and in 39 sets. She is averaging 1.72 digs per set.

·         Redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers has started every match this season and is one of four freshmen on the team to start a match. Outside hitter Emily Hardesty has started seven matches, and setter/opposite hitter Kaysie Shebeneck has started five matches. In addition, defensive specialist/libero Victoria Arenas has started four 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.

SCOUTING ARKANSAS:

·            Arkansas is 4-0 in SEC away matches and 6-1 in away matches for the full season.

·            In SEC matches only, Arkansas is third in the league with 2.43 blocks per set and is holding opponents to a .196 hitting percentage, ranking fourth in the conference.

·            In their most recent outing, the Razorbacks were outhit by Georgia, .231 to .185, and outblocked, 11-6, but won the match, 25-23, 25-23, 22-25, 25-23. Arkansas posted nine aces, including four by Monica Bollinger. Meredith Hays and Hayley Koop tied for match-high honors in kills with 18 each, and Emily Helm had 23 digs.

·            Junior outside hitter Meredith Hays, a transfer from New Mexico State, leads the Razorbacks and is fourth in the SEC with 3.99 kills and 4.46 points per set, but she is being held to a .143 hitting percentage.

·            Senior libero Emily Helm is fourth in the league with 4.49 digs per set for the full season. She is third in the SEC with 5.00 digs per set in conference matches only.

·            Arkansas runs a 6-2 offense with Raymariely Santos (6.03 aps) and Ashley Vazquez (5.26 aps) setting. Santos has one triple double and is the only SEC player other than A&M’s Allie Sawatzky to accomplish the feat this season.

·            Arkansas assistant coach Carol Price-Torok is Texas A&M Class of ‘04. She played middle blocker and right side for Aggie coach Laurie Corbelli from 2000-03 and also lettered in basketball.

•    Robert Pulliza (Ball State, 1996) is in his sixth season as head coach of the Razorbacks.

SCOUTING MISSOURI:

·            With a 23-0 record, Missouri joins Colorado State (17-0) as the only other undefeated team in the nation.

·            The Tigers enter the week coming off their first victory over a top-five opponent after upsetting then-No. 2 Florida, 3-1, Sunday in Columbia, Mo. Emily Wilson led the Tigers with 14 kills, and Carly Kan and Lisa Henning added 13 and 12 kills, respectively, as the Tigers hit .303 as a team. Defensively, Missouri outblocked Florida, 9.5 to two.

·            Missouri’s previous best start in school history was 19-0 in 1982.

·            MU leads the nation with a .374 hitting percentage. The Tigers are second in the nation in assists (14.31), third in kills (15.15) and ninth in aces (1.81) per set.

·            Individually, senior setter Molly Kreklow is No. 2 in the country with 12.43 assists per set. Her top target, senior outside hitter Lisa Henning is 24th in the nation with 4.28 kills per set and ranks 19th with 4.94 points per set. Henning is hitting .348 and junior middle blocker Whitney Little is hitting at a .508 clip, ranking second in the country.

·            Kreklow, the niece of head coach Wayne Kreklow, is the reigning AVCA National Player of the Week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week.

ALL-TIME SERIES RECORDS:

Texas A&M vs. Arkansas: A&M leads 2-0

A&M and Arkansas met for the first time in program history last year in the Aggies’ debut season in the SEC. The Aggies won both meetings despite dropping the first set in each contest, defeating the Razorbacks 3-2 (21-25, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 15-3) on Oct. 12, 2012, at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville and winning 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-28, 25-17) on Nov. 4, 2012, at Reed Arena. In the match at Reed Arena, freshman Sierra Patrick came off the bench and tallied a then-career-high 12 kills to spark the Aggies.

Texas A&M vs. Missouri: A&M leads 25-12

A&M has won the last three meetings against the Tigers and is 25-12 overall. Last year A&M won both meetings by identical 3-1 scores, picking up a road victory for the first time since 2008. A&M, 15-2 all-time against the Tigers in College Station, was 21-11 against Missouri as members of the Big 12.

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