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Volleyball Gets Another Key Win Against OU

November 19, 2011
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
NORMAN, Okla. - Setter Allie Sawatzky recorded her second triple-double of the season and directed a well-balanced Texas A&M offense to a Big 12 season-high .300 hitting percentage as the Aggies defeated Oklahoma, 24-26, 25-16, 25-22, 25-17, tonight at McCasland Field House.

With the win, the Aggies complete a season-series sweep against the Sooners for only the second time since 2005. In addition, A&M improves to 21-6 overall and 10-4 in the Big 12 Conference to secure at least a third place finish in league play, its highest finish since 2004.

"It is a huge win," A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. "It has been a long time since we swept OU. I knew this was a really important match, but I came into this match more confident than I have been all year because of the way the team has been working, the way the team has been practicing, and the attitude on the team. It's just been so much fun to be around them and to coach them. It just kind of spread, the confidence and the trust. We have a really good feeling right now, and it is showing up in our play."

Junior right-side hitter Alisia Kastmo led a group of five Aggies to post double figures in kills with a match-high 17 while hitting at a .432 clip. Junior outside hitter Tori Mellinger added 13 kills, and senior outside hitter Kelsey Black and junior middle blocker Lindsey Miller pitched in 12 kills apiece. Sawatzky finished with 10 kills, 51 assists and 12 digs.

Junior libero Megan Pendergast anchored the back row, recording a team-high 19 digs and leading the way in holding the Sooners to a .154 hitting percentage. Black and Mellinger completed double-doubles with 16 and 13 digs, respectively, and Miller led all players with five blocks.

"Our defense was incredible," Corbelli said. "We had great effort on defense, and our ball control also was equally good. Just super pleased.

"For the most part, the team played well composed and consistent and executed the game plan beautifully. I've really seen in our team a real maturity in our serve receive. It's just a lot more confident. Our passing is so much more consistent and it allows our attackers to get into a better rhythm, and it is just a time that looks as if we are peaking, and it is a great time to be playing this well."

A&M appeared to be on its way to a first-set win, but despite trailing in every positive statistical mark, Oklahoma managed to fight off three set points for a come-from-behind 26-24 win. There were 10 ties and four lead changes, with A&M using a 3-0 run to build a 22-20 lead, its largest lead since a 4-1 advantage. A&M was then whistled for a ball handling error to put the Sooners within 22-21, but a block by Mellinger and Miller put the Aggies up, 23-21. The teams traded kills, with Sawatzky winning a joust at the net to put A&M at set point, 24-22. The Sooners rallied, getting back-to-back kills and an ace to take a 25-24 lead. OU, which had allowed A&M to come back from three match points for a 3-2 win when the teams met earlier this season in College Station, clinched the set on the next play, using a triple block to reject Black's attack from the back row.

A&M used an 8-1 run early in the second set to take an 8-3 lead, a lead the Aggies would hold on to this time en route to the win. The teams exchanged sideouts until consecutive kills by Kastmo and a block by Black and Miller put the Aggies up, 16-9. The Sooners would get no closer than five points, at 17-12 and 18-13, and were trailing 23-16 when they committed back-to-back hitting errors to close out the set and evening the match at a set apiece.

A&M led the entire third set as OU spotted the Aggies a 6-0 lead to begin the frame. The Sooners chipped away at the lead and got within a point at 9-8. They stayed within a point as the teams continued to trade sideouts until a kill by Sawatzky and a block by Kastmo and Elise Hendrickson gave A&M a 19-16 cushion. The Sooners later got within a point at 23-22 after two A&M miscues before Miller put down a kill following a slide attack to put the Aggies at set point. OU hit into the net on the ensuing play to clinch the win for A&M and give the Aggies a 2-1 lead in the match.

Hendrickson posted three of her nine kills during an 8-1 run that gave the Aggies a 9-3 lead in the fourth set. A&M, which outhit the Sooners, .303 to -.054 in the stanza, later used a pair of 4-0 runs to eventually build a 23-11 lead. OU made a late rally, scoring five unanswered points before Sawatzky put the Aggies at set point, pushing a well-directed attack to a wide-open corner of the Sooners' court. A&M hit into the net on the next play, but OU committed one of its only two service on the night to end the match.

A&M closes out its regular season home schedule on Wednesday as the Aggies play host to No. 9 Texas in a State Farm Lone Star Showdown at Reed Arena. The match, which will be the final conference meeting between the long-time archrivals, has been changed to a 5 p.m. start.

It will be "Senior Night", as A&M's five seniors -- Kelsey Black, Sarah Grace, Elise Hendrickson, Chelsea Ringel and Cinthya Roberto -- will be honored immediately following the match.

"It is going to be emotional with five seniors, two who have been with us for four and a half years," Corbelli said. "It marks some great careers by Kelsey and Chelsea, as well as the others. But just getting to play a top-10 team at home against our big rival, it sets the stage for the match of the year in terms of everything that is involved. Texas is really, really good, so I'm expecting a really good match and a lot of fun."

The Aggies swept the then-No. 8 Longhorns last year at Reed Arena.

All A&M students will be admitted free to the match by showing their A&M student ID. Fans showing a ticket to the Thursday A&M-Texas football game can purchase a general admission ticket for only $3.

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