Nov. 20, 2010
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M returns home to Reed Arena on Sunday to play host to No. 16 Iowa State. First serve is slated for 2 p.m., and fans who show a ticket from the A&M-Nebraska football game can purchase a general admission ticket for only $3.
Free stats, live video and audio of the match will be available at AggieAthletics.com with Ryne and Lara Hillenberg calling the action.
ISU (18-7, 11-6 Big 12), which enters the weekend tied for third in the conference after a home sweep against Colorado on Wednesday, is the first of three nationally ranked opponents the Aggies face to close out the regular season.
A&M, 13-14 overall and 7-10 in Big 12 matches after knocking off Kansas State for only the second time ever in Manhattan, Kan., plays at No. 8 Texas on Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Gregory Gym in Austin and then returns home to conclude the regular season against fifth-ranked and current Big 12 leader Nebraska on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 4 p.m. at Reed Arena.
The Aggies upset the defending Big 12 champion Longhorns, 3-0, when the teams met earlier this season in a State Farm Lone Showdown at Reed Arena. It remains one of only two conference losses for Texas, which enters the weekend in second place in the Big 12 standings with a 15-2 record.
A&M's match against the Huskers (25-2, 17-1 Big 12), who also fell to A&M in their last appearance at Reed Arena, will be the final Big 12 match ever for Nebraska, which joins the Big Ten Conference next season.
It will be "ResLife Night" in the season finale against Nebraska, and A&M students who show their dorm key will get in free. In addition, the dorm with the most attendees will win a free pizza dinner.
A&M QUICK HITS:
Sophomore libero Tori Mellinger has 429 digs for the full season, the eighth most digs in a season in school history. She needs nine more digs to move into seventh, ahead of Stacy Sykora, who had 437 digs in 1998, and 13 more digs to move into sixth, again surpassing Sykora, who had 441 digs in 1996. Mellinger has posted double figures in digs in a team-leading 22 matches -- including eight matches in which she has tallied 20 or more digs -- and she has led or tied for team-high honors in digs in 18 matches.
Junior outside hitter Kelsey Black has led or tied for the team lead in kills in all 27 matches this season and has led or tied for the team lead in points in all but one match. Junior outside hitter Chelsea Ringel tied Black for team-high honors in kills at Texas Tech, the only time Black has not led outright. Sophomore middle blocker Lindsey Miller had 11.0 points to Black's 10.5 points at Missouri, marking the only time Black did not at least share in the team lead in points this season.
Black's 85 attack attempts at Baylor on Nov. 6 is the second most swings by an A&M player in school history. Laura Jones (2003-05) holds the school record with 88 swings in a 3-2 victory over LSU on Sept. 10, 2005.
Black has scored 501 points this season, ranking sixth in the A&M rally-scoring season records. She needs only 12 more points to move into fifth place, surpassing Sarah Ammerman, who had 512.5 in 2007, and 24 points to move into fourth place, ahead of Laura Jones, who tallied 524.5 points in 2003.
A&M has played nine five-set matches this season, tying the school record for most five-set matches in a single season set in 1988 and tied in 2005. The Aggies are 2-7 in five-set matches this season.
A&M leads the Big 12 with 1.24 aces per set and ranks second for fewest aces allowed (0.79) per set in all matches.
In conference matches only, A&M is second in the league for fewest kills allowed per set (12.09) and fewest assists allowed (11.35) per set.
Individually, Kelsey Black continues to lead the Big 12 in points (4.86) and aces (0.38) per set and is second in the league with 4.16 kills per set. Freshman setter Allie Sawatzky is seventh in the conference with 9.67 assists per set, and sophomore libero Tori Mellinger is seventh in the league with 4.17 digs per set for the full season. In addition, sophomore middle blocker Lindsey Miller is ninth in the Big 12 with 1.06 blocks per set for the full season.
In Big 12 matches only, Black is second with 4.72 points per set and third with 4.16 kills per set. Mellinger is seventh in digs with a 4.28 average, and Sawatzky is seventh in assists with 9.60 per set. In addition, Miller is seventh in the league with 1.12 blocks per set in conference play.
A&M is 11-0 this season when winning the first set and 10-2 when winning the third set. Conversely, A&M is 2-14 when losing the first set, and 3-12 when dropping the third set.
Freshman setter Allie Sawatzky, who has started every match for the Aggies this season, has tallied 50 or more assists in five matches, including 52 assists in the win against Oklahoma.
Sophomore middle blocker Lindsey Miller, who hit an A&M season-high .611 (minimum 10 kills) against Colorado on Oct. 23, has posted double figures in kills 10 times this season, including five times in the last eight matches. In addition, Miller has totaled 31 blocks in the last five matches, averaging 1.48 blocks per set during that span.
Aggie libero Tori Mellinger recorded a career-high 34 digs against Missouri on Oct. 13, the most digs by a Big 12 player this season. Her 34 digs also is the most by an A&M player in the rally-point scoring era -- using both the 30- and 25-point scoring cap -- and ranks fifth all-time in the Aggie record books. It is the most digs by an Aggie since Erin Gibson had 35 against Colorado in 2000 and only four shy of tying the all-time record of 38 set by Yvonne Van Brandt in 1988 and tied by Stacy Sykora in 1998 using side-out scoring.
A&M entered the week ranked 22nd in the nation in home attendance, averaging 1,504 per match in 12 home contests. The Aggies, who are currently 6-6 in home matches this season, had a season-high 3,305 in attendance to cheer them on to a 3-0 victory against No. 8 Texas on Sept. 16.
Black has twice tied the A&M all-time record for aces in a match this season for both a three-set match and a five-set match, posting six apiece against Sam Houston State and Pacific. She has 39 aces in 2010, the most by an A&M player since Aggie All-American Melissa Munsch (2001-04) posted 42 aces in 2004. Black needs six more aces to break into the A&M top 10 for aces in a single season.
Black, Miller, Sawatzky and Stephanie Minnerly have started every match this season, and Ringel has started all but one and has played in all 103 sets. Mellinger has been the designated libero in every set.
A&M must win each of its three remaining matches to finish above .500 overall and be eligible for consideration for the NCAA tournament. The 64-team tournament field will be announced Sunday, Nov. 28 between 2-2:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPNews.
Laurie Corbelli, the winningest coach in A&M volleyball history, is 376-183 in her 18th season at the helm of the Aggies and 476-289 in the 25th season of her head coaching career.
A&M-ISU SERIES RECORDS:
A&M leads ISU, 24-8, since the teams first met in 1981, including 22-7 in Big 12 matches only.
A&M is 12-2 against the Cyclones in matches played in College Station.
ISU has won seven of the last nine meetings against A&M, including each of the last three.
A&M's last win against ISU was Nov. 12, 2008 at G. Rollie White Coliseum. Junior Sarah Ammerman had a match-high 16 kills to lead A&M to a 25-23, 25-14, 18-25, 25-20 victory over the Cyclones.
In the most recent meeting, ISU defeated A&M, 25-22, 21-25, 25-11, 26-24, on Oct. 16 at Ames High School in Ames, Iowa. Carly Jenson led the Cyclones with 20 kills, and Victoria Henson and Jamie Straube added 14 and 11, respectively. Kelsey Black had 15 kills to lead A&M, and Elise Hendrickson added 12. ISU All-American libero Ashly Mass led all players with 21 digs, and the Cyclones outhit A&M, .254 to .169.
A LOOK AT IOWA STATE:
The 16th-ranked Cyclones are 18-7 overall and tied with Oklahoma for third place in the Big 12 standings with an 11-6 mark. They are 5-4 in away matches.
ISU returns all but one starter from last year's most successful season (27-5 record) in school history, including AVCA All-Americans Victoria Henson (outside hitter) and Ashley Mass (libero), who led the Cyclones to the NCAA Sweet 16.
One of the scheduled returners, junior outside hitter Rachel Hockaday, suffered a season-ending knee injury in ISU's season opener. Hockaday was an All-Big 12 honorable mention selection in 2009 and was named to the league's preseason All-Big 12 team this fall.
The Cyclones are coming off a 3-0 (25-13, 25-9, 25-22) home victory over Colorado on Tuesday, which snapped the Cyclones' only two-match losing skid of the season. Victoria Henson led all players with 15 kills while hitting .480, and Ashley Mass took match-high honors with 20 digs.
Henson leads the Big 12 with 4.40 kills per set. She is second in the Big 12 with 4.80 points per set for the full season.
Sophomore setter Alison Landwehr leads the conference with 11.72 assists per set, and senior libero Ashley Mass is third in the league with 4.88 digs per set. In addition, sophomore middle blocker Jamie Straube is sixth in the league with a .323 hitting efficiency.
ISU is ranked in the top three in the Big 12 for hitting percentage (.263), opponent hitting percentage (.165), assists (13.56), kills (14.38) and digs (16.76) per set for the full season.
The Cyclones, who placed second in the Big 12 last year, were picked to finish third this year, according to a preseason poll of the league's head coaches.
Christy Johnson-Lynch (Nebraska `96) is in her sixth season as head coach of the Cyclones. She was the starting setter for Nebraska's national championship team in 1995, when current A&M Athletics Director Bill Byrne was the A.D. for the Huskers.
The Aggies play at No. 8 Texas on Wed., Nov. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Gregory Gym in Austin and then conclude the regular season at home against No. 5 Nebraska on Sat., Nov. 27 at 4 p.m. at Reed Arena. The match will be the Cornhuskers' final match as members of the Big 12 Conference, as they leave for the Big Ten Conference next year.