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Volleyball Closes Out Regular Season at No. 14 ISU

November 25, 2011
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
TEXAS A&M AGGIES (21-7, 10-5 BIG 12)
vs.

#
14 IOWA STATE CYCLONES (22-4, 13-2 BIG 12)

Saturday, Nov. 26, 6:30 p.m.
Hilton Coliseum, Ames, Iowa

Series Records:
Overall
: A&M leads, 24-10
Big 12 matches only
: A&M leads, 22-9
In Ames:
A&M leads 10-5
In College Station:
A&M leads 12-4
Streak
: ISU has won the last five meetings
Last meeting
: ISU def. A&M, 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 25-23, on Oct. 22 in College Station.

Upcoming: The 64-team NCAA Championship bracket will be announced Sunday, Nov. 27 at 5 p.m. on ESPNU.

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Aggies Close Out Regular Season at No. 14 Iowa State

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M (21-7, 10-5 Big 12) wraps up the regular season and plays its final match as a member of the Big 12 Conference on Saturday as the Aggies take on 14th-ranked Iowa State (22-4, 13-2 Big 12) in Ames, Iowa. First serve is slated for 6:30 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum.

A&M, which has already clinched sole possession of third place in the Big 12 standings, had its three-match winning streak snapped on Wednesday, falling to No. 5 Texas, 25-22, 25-29, 25-20, at Reed Arena. The match against the Cyclones concludes a grueling three-match stretch in which the Aggies have faced the three teams who were picked to finish in the top three in the Big 12, according to a preseason vote of the league's coaches, with Texas predicted to finish first and Oklahoma, who A&M swept in the season series, and Iowa State picked to tie for second place.

ISU has won its last five matches and is vying for a share of its first Big 12 title in program history. Even if the Cyclones defeat A&M, they will need help from the Oklahoma Sooners, who take on Texas in Austin. An ISU win and a Texas loss with result in a tie between the two teams for the conference championship. The Cyclones, who will be celebrating Senior Night against the Aggies, have not played since a come-from-behind 22-25, 25-12, 25-15, 24-26, 15-12 victory at Baylor on Nov. 19.

AGGIE QUICK HITS:

  • Texas A&M has already clinched sole possession of third place in the Big 12 standings, as the Aggies hold a one-and-a-half game lead over fourth-place Kansas State with only one match remaining. The third-place finish is A&M's highest since 2004 when the Aggies tied Missouri for third place.
  • A&M jumped three spots and is listed a season-high 27th in the AVCA Coaches Poll. The Aggies are No. 19 in the NCAA RPI.
  • A&M went 10-2 in home matches with its only losses coming against No. 5 Texas on Wednesday and then-No. 15 Iowa State on Oct. 22.
  • A&M, 1-4 against ranked opponent this year, has won four of its last five matches and has gone 7-3 in its last 10 matches to improve to 21-7. This marks the first time the Aggies have reached 21 wins since 2007 when A&M went 21-10. The last time A&M finished with more than 21 wins was 2003, when the Aggies went 23-10 and reached the NCAA Sweet 16.
  • This marks the 13th season the Aggies have reached the 20-victory landmark in coach Laurie Corbelli's 19 years as head coach of the Aggies.
  • Corbelli is three wins away from her 400th A&M victory and the 500th win of her head coaching career. A&M's longest tenured head coach in any sport, she is 397-193 (.673) in her 19th year at the helm of the Aggies and 497-299 (.624) in the 26th season of her head coaching career.
  • A&M is 11-6 against teams in the RPI top 60, including a win against Northern Illinois (16) and two wins each against Oklahoma (30), Baylor (42), Kansas (44) and Creighton (58). A&M is 1-1 against both Kansas State (28) and Missouri (32). Six of A&M's seven losses were against teams in the RPI top 30: Iowa State (2), two against Texas (4), at Michigan (22), at Kansas State (28) and at Missouri (32).
  • A&M has led its opponents in assists in nine of the last 10 matches. The Aggies have led in kills in eight of the last nine matches, including a season-high plus 32-kill margin (73-41) in the win at Oklahoma last Saturday.
  • A&M leads the Big 12 in kills, assists and aces per set and entered the week ranked 23rd in the nation with 14.14 kills per set and 27th in the country with 13.08 assists per set.
  • The Aggies hit a Big 12 season-high .300 in the win at Oklahoma on Saturday and had five players post double figures in kills for the second time this season. Prior to this season, the last time A&M had five players post double-digit kills in the same match was August 26, 2006, at Colorado State when the 30-point scoring format was in effect.
  • The Aggies are 10-3 in three-set matches, 7-2 in four-set matches and 4-2 in five-set matches.
  • A&M's come-from-behind wins against Kansas and Oklahoma during the first half of Big 12 play marked the first time in school history the Aggies have overcome 2-0 set deficits in consecutive matches. The win against No. 22 Oklahoma was the 12th time in school history the Aggies have dropped the first two sets and come back to win, and it was the fourth time in school history A&M accomplished the feat against a ranked opponent.
  • A&M began the season by winning its first nine matches and capturing three tournament titles. The Aggies came within one win of matching the 2007 team for the best start in school history before falling to Xavier, 3-2, at the Michigan/adidas Invitational in the 10th match of the season.

Individual Notes

  • Senior middle blocker Elise Hendrickson leads the Big 12 with 0.34 aces per set. She has had at least one ace in 21 of 28 matches and has tallied two or more aces in 11 matches.
  • Setter Allie Sawatzky, who ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 10.44 assists per set for the full season, recorded the second triple-double of her career in the win at Oklahoma last Saturday, posting 51 assists, 10 kills and 12 digs. Earlier this season, Sawatzky became the first A&M player to post a triple-double since the 25-point scoring format went into effect in 2008 and the first player with a triple double since 2004 when she tallied 11 kills, 46 assists and 11 digs in A&M's 3-2 victory against Baylor on Sept. 28. Sawatzky, whose career-high 60 assists in the win against No. 22 Oklahoma on Oct. 12 is the most by an A&M player since Kristen Schevikhoven had 60 in a 3-1 victory at Colorado on Nov. 21, 2007, using the 30-point scoring format, has 2,174 career assists, ranking 10th in the A&M career records.
  • Middle blocker Lindsey Miller is ranked fourth in the Big 12 and entered the week 60th in the nation with a .324 hitting percentage. She also is fourth in the conference and entered the week 74th in the country with 1.13 blocks per set. In Big 12 matches only the 6-2 junior is third in the league in blocks (1.25) per set and fifth in hitting percentage (.349).
  • Right-side hitter Alisia Kastmo is second on the team among starters with a .309 hitting percentage and 2.73 kills per set for the full season. When she posts 10 or more kills in a match, which she has done 14 times, her hitting percentage jumps to .372.
  •  Kelsey Black leads the team and ranks eighth in the Big 12 with 3.88 points and 3.33 kills per set for the full season. She moved up to third in the league in aces (0.28) after posting back-to-back aces in the match against the Longhorns.
  • Black had 16 digs against Kansas State on Nov. 5 to surpass 1,000 career digs. She joins junior Tori Mellinger, who became A&M's 19th member in the 1,000-dig club on Oct. 22, when she posted 13 digs against Iowa State on Oct. 22. Black, who recorded her 1,000th career point against Oklahoma on Oct. 12 to become the sixth A&M player to reach the milestone since rally scoring began in 2001, also is approaching 1,000 career kills, needing 43.
  • Junior libero Megan Pendergast has played in 27 of 28 matches and has led or tied for the team lead in digs 18 times, more than any other player. She has posted double figures in digs in a team-high 22 matches and has posted 20 or more digs in four matches, including a career-high 24 digs in the 3-1 win at Baylor on Nov. 9. She leads the team and is ranked fifth in the Big 12 with 4.00 digs per set for the full season and is seventh in the league with 3.95 digs per set in conference matches only.
  • Black leads A&M with 17 double-doubles. She has posted double figures in kills in 20 of 28 matches overall and double figures in digs in 21 matches, including in 10 of the last 11 matches.
  • Miller's career-high nine blocks against Kansas State on Oct. 1 is still the most by a Big 12 player in a three-set conference match and ties for the most by a Big 12 player in all three-set matches this season.
  • Black, Miller, Sawatzky and Hendrickson have started every match in 2011, and only Sawatzky has played in all 105 sets. Kastmo, who has played in 104 of 105 sets, has started all but five matches in which senior Sarah Grace started for her in the back row rotation.
  • A&M had six players named to the Academic All-Big 12 Volleyball First Team. Senior outside hitter Chelsea Ringel received special commendation for achieving a 4.0 GPA. Others representing A&M on the first team are Grace, Hendrickson, Kastmo, Miller and Sawatzky. Ringel is making her third consecutive appearance on the team, while Grace, Kastmo and Miller are each making their second consecutive appearance on the first team. Hendrickson and Sawatzky were named to the team in their first year of eligibility.

A&M-ISU SERIES RECORDS:

  • A&M leads ISU, 24-10, since the teams first met in 1981, including 22-9 in Big 12 matches only.
  • A&M is 10-5 against the Cyclones in matches played in Ames.
  • ISU has won nine of the last 11 meetings against A&M, including each of the last five.
  • A&M's last win against ISU was Nov. 12, 2008 at G. Rollie White Coliseum.
  • In the most recent meeting, A&M suffered its first home loss of the season and had a three-match winning streak snapped as the Aggies fell to 15th-ranked ISU, 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 25-23, on Oct. 22 at Reed Arena. Tori Mellinger led A&M with 14 kills and Alisia Kastmo added 11. Megan Pendergast led the Aggies in digs with 17, and Mellinger had 13 digs to complete a double-double. Black also had 13 digs, and Allie Sawatzky finished with 10 digs and 42 assists. Lindsey Miller took team-high honors in blocks with five. ISU, which outhit A&M, .206 to .165, was led by Carly Jenson's 17 kills. Tenisha Matlock had a match-high seven blocks to give the Cyclones a 9-8 edge in team blocks. Libero Kristen Hahn, who leads the Big 12 in dig average, finished with a match-high 19 digs as ISU outdug the Aggies, 75-50. A&M led in kills 55-53. The Aggies entered the match 15-0 when leading in kills.

IOWA STATE NOTES:

  • The 14th-ranked Cyclones are 22-4 overall and are still in the hunt for a share of the Big 12 title with a 13-2 conference mark.
  • The Cyclones, who had a bye on Wednesday are one game behind league-leader and fifth-ranked Texas, which hosts Oklahoma to close out the regular season. ISU needs a win against the Aggies and a Texas loss to Oklahoma to grab a share of the Big 12 title for the first time in program history.
  • ISU will be honoring its four seniors Carly Jenson, Caitlin Mahoney, Kelsey Petersen and Debbie Stadick, at Saturday's match. The class is the winningest class in Iowa State history, winning 75 percent of its matches.
  • ISU, which had a bye on Wednesday, is riding a five-match winning streak after escaping Waco with a 22-25, 25-12, 25-15, 24-26, 15-12 victory at Baylor last Saturday. The Cyclones, who had a season-high 15 blocks, including 28 block assists, overcame an 8-2 deficit in the deciding fifth set. Carly Jenson and Kelsey Peterson led the Cyclones with 17 and 15 kills, respectively, and Tenisha Matlock had eight blocks. Kristen Hahn had a match-high 29 digs.
  • Sophomore libero Kristen Hahn was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for the fourth time this season on Monday after averaging 5.50 digs per set as Iowa State swept Kansas State and defeated Baylor in Waco, 3-2, last week. Her 29 digs against the Bears marked her sixth match of the season with more than 25 digs.
  • ISU is holding Big 12 opponents to a league-best .160 hitting percentage in Big 12 matches only. The Cyclones are hitting .267 in conference matches, which ranks second in the Big 12.
  • Carly Jenson leads the Cyclones and is ranked fifth in the Big 12 with 3.96 kills and 4.45 points per set in all matches. In conference matches only, the 5-11 outside hitter leads the team and is second in the Big 12 with 4.11 kills per set and 4.80 points per set.
  • ISU returns five starters from last year's team that went 20-9 and ranked 25th in the final Top 25 Poll after being upset by Creighton in the first round of the NCAA Championship.
  • The Cyclones, who tied Oklahoma for third place in the Big 12 last year, were picked to tie the Sooners for second place this year, according to a preseason poll of the league's head coaches.
  • Cyclone redshirt freshman outside hitter Hannah Willms was named the Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Junior middle Jamie Straube and junior setter Alison Landwehr were named to the All-Big 12 Preseason Team.
  • Christy Johnson-Lynch (Nebraska '96) is in her seventh season as head coach of the Cyclones and boasts a 147-71 (.674) record. 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. Lynch's husband, Joe Lynch, serves as the volunteer assistant for the Cyclones.

LOOKING AHEAD:

The 64-team NCAA Championship bracket will be announced Sunday, Nov. 27 at 5 p.m. on ESPNU. First- and second-round matches will be played Dec. 1-4 at participating institutions. Regional sites are Gainesville, Fla., Honolulu, Hawaii, Lexington, Ken., and Minneapolis, Minn., with matches played Dec. 9-10. The Final Four will be played at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Dec. 15 and 17.

A&M is expecting to make its 15th NCAA tournament appearance under 19-year head coach Laurie Corbelli and its 19th appearance in the history of the program.

 

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