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No. 16 Seed Aggies Host Lipscomb in NCAA 1st Round

November 30, 2011
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

NO. 16 SEED TEXAS A&M AGGIES (22-7, 11-5 BIG 12)
vs.
LIPSCOMB LADY BISONS (20-10, 11-2 ATLANTIC SUN
)

NCAA Championship - First Round
Thursday, Dec. 1, 6:30 p.m.
Reed Arena, College Station, Texas

College Station Sub-Regional Schedule:

Thursday, Dec. 1 - First Round
4:30 p.m.  #16/17 Kentucky (26-5) vs. Dayton (25-6)
6:30 p.m.  No. 16 seed Texas A&M (22-7) vs. Lipscomb (20-10)

Friday, Dec. 2 - Second Round
6:30 p.m.  First-round winners

All-Session tickets:

Reserved All-Session Ticket: $16
General Admission Adult All-Session Ticket: $12
General Admission Youth/Student All-Session Ticket: $6

Tickets can be purchase online 24/7 at AggieAthletics.com, by phone (1-888-99-AGGIE) or at the Athletic Ticket Office at Kyle Field during the hours of 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. or at the Reed Arena Box Office starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday. Single-session tickets will not be available until the day of the match.

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No. 16 Seed Aggies Host Lipscomb in NCAA First Round

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M (22-7, 11-5 Big 12) was awarded a No. 16 seed and selected to host first and second rounds in the 2011 NCAA Volleyball Championship. The Aggies, an at-large entry representing the Big 12 Conference, will face Lipscomb (20-10) in the first round Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Reed Arena. The Lady Bisons earned an automatic berth after winning the Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship.

The match will be the second of the day at Reed and will follow an opening contest between 16th-ranked Kentucky (26-5) and Dayton (25-6), which begins at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. The two winners of the first-round matches meet Friday at 6:30 p.m., with the second-round winner advancing to the Lexington, Kentucky Regional to be played Dec. 9-10.

The first 500 college students will be admitted free to the first- and second-round matches, courtesy of Texas A&M Apple Campus Store, MacResource Computers. Students must show a valid college ID at the north student entrance to receive free admission. Tickets are for general admission seating only.

All-session tickets are $16 for reserved seating, $12 for adult general admission and $6 for students and youth general admission. Tickets are available for purchase online at AggieAthletics.com. Tickets also can be purchased by calling the ticket office at 1-888-99-AGGiE or in person at the ticket office at Kyle Field during normal business hours. The box office at Reed will open at 10 a.m. on Thursday.           

Single session tickets are only available the day of the match. Prices are $9 for reserved seats, $7 for adult general admission, $5 for students and $4 for youth.

Free live video of first- and second-round matches played at Reed will be available at AggieAthletics.com. Also live audio will be available for A&M matches.

A&M, 14-0 all-time in home NCAA tournament matches and 13-1 in its NCAA opening matches under 19th-year head coach Laurie Corbelli, is making its 19th overall appearance in the Big Dance, including its 15th showing with Corbelli at the helm. The Aggies have won four of their last five matches and enter the tournament coming off their biggest win of the season after knocking off No. 14 Iowa State, 3-1, in the regular season finale in Ames, Iowa, on Nov. 26. The Aggies went 11-5 and finished third in the Big 12 Conference, which has seven teams in the NCAAs, including No. 1 seed Texas and the fourth-seeded Cyclones.

Lipscomb is making its third consecutive and fourth overall appearance in the tournament. The Lady Bisons avenged an earlier loss and topped No. 1 seed Belmont, 3-0, to win their third straight A-Sun tournament title, but then fell, 3-1, to non-conference foe Xavier -- which defeated A&M, 3-2 at the Michigan tournament in September -- to close out the regular season.

Kentucky, ranked No. 16 in the latest AVCA Top 25 Poll and No. 17 in the Volleyball Magazine Top 20 Poll, is making a school-record seventh consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship tournament and its 13th overall. A&M's future conference member finished second to Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference after falling to the Lady Vols, 3-1, in a match that could have given the Wildcats a share of the conference title. The loss snapped a nine-match winning streak.

Dayton is making its eighth overall and fifth consecutive appearance in the post-season tournament. The Flyers, winners of three consecutive Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament titles, are 4-7 all-time in the NCAAs and have advanced to the second round in each of the last two years. They enter the tournament having won their last six matches, including a sweep over Notre Dame to conclude the regular season.

TEXAS A&M TOURNAMENT NOTES

Texas A&M is making its 19th overall appearance (1981, '82, '85, '86, '93, '94, '95, '96, '97, '98,' 99, '00, '01, '02, '03, '04, '05, '09, '11) in the NCAA tournament since the inception of the event in 1981...The Aggies are 22-18 (.550) in NCAA tournament matches, including 20-14 (.588) under 19th-year head coach Laurie Corbelli...A&M has never lost an NCAA match when playing on its home court, going 14-0 in matches played at G. Rollie White Coliseum. This will be the first time an NCAA match has been played at Reed Arena, home for the Aggies since 2009...The Aggies last hosted first and second rounds in 2003 and swept both Nicholls State and Wisconsin to advance to the Lincoln, Nebraska Regional, where they fell to Southern California in the Sweet Sixteen...With Corbelli at the helm, the Aggies are 13-1 in NCAA opening matches, including 12-1 in first-round matches - A&M had a first-round bye in 1995...A&M is 15-3 all-time in first-round matches...A&M is making its first NCAA appearance since 2009, when the unranked Aggies eliminated No. 19 Arizona, 3-1, in the first round and then stunned No. 15 seed and 18th-ranked LSU, 3-2, at Baton, Rouge, La. A&M advanced to the Omaha Regional, which was also dubbed the "Big 12 Regional" as Big 12 Conference teams Texas, Nebraska, Iowa State and Texas A&M made up the four-team regional field. A&M was eliminated in the regional semifinal after falling to second-ranked Texas...A&M's best finishes in the NCAA tournament were regional final, Elite Eight appearances in 1999 and 2001...Should A&M win its first two rounds this year, the Aggies would advance to the Lexington, Kentucky Regional, to be held at Memorial Coliseum on Dec. 9-10...The Aggies are 8-6 against the tournament field this season...The Big 12, ranked the toughest conference in the national according to RichKern.com, had seven teams selected to the tournament field: No. 1 seed Texas and No. 16 seed Texas A&M competing in the Lexington Regional bracket; No. 4 seed Iowa State in the Minneapolis Regional bracket; Baylor and Missouri competing in the Gainesville Regional; and Oklahoma, and Kansas State playing in the Honolulu Regional...Texas earned the Big 12's automatic bid by winning the conference title with a 15-1 record.

NCAA TOURNAMENT NOTES

Thirty-one conferences were awarded automatic qualification, and the remaining 33 slots were filled with at-large selections...The Big 10 Conference led all conferences with eight teams selected. The Pac 12 and the Big 12 garnered seven teams each...The top 16 teams were seeded nationally and placed within four regions. Texas is the No. 1 seed for the first time since the NCAA began seeding the top 16 teams and heads up the Lexington Regional...Nebraska is the No. 2 seed, and Illinois and Iowa State are the No. 3 and 4 seeds, respectively...Sixteen first-and second-round matches will be played Dec 1-3 on the campuses of participating institutions...Winners will advance to one of the four predetermined regional tournaments to be played Dec. 9-10...The four regional winners will meet at the Final Four, to be hosted by the University of Texas-San Antonio and the San Antonio Sports Association and played at the Alamodome on Dec. 15 and 17...Penn State is the three-time defending national champion...For complete tournament bracket and information, visit the NCAA official Website at www.NCAA.com.

TEAM PROFILES

  • Texas A&M returns to the NCAA tournament for the first time since reaching the Sweet Sixteen in 2009...The Aggies are 27th in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll and 17th in the NCAA RPI rankings...A trio of All-Big 12 first team selections lead the Aggies, with senior Kelsey Black averaging team highs of 3.27 kills and 3.82 points per set, junior middle blocker Lindsey Miller hitting .337 and averaging a team-best 1.14 blocks per set, and junior right-side hitter Alisia Kastmo, who is averaging 2.74 kills and 3.22 points per set while hitting at a .310 clip...Sophomore 6-2 lefty setter Allie Sawatzky averages 10.36 assists per set, as well as 1.50 kills per set, and directs a well balanced offense that averages 14.01 kills and is hitting .245...Libero Megan Pendergast anchors the back row with 4.03 digs per set...Senior middle blocker Elise Hendrickson has 35 aces on the year and averages 0.32 aces per set...Junior Tori Mellinger, who moved to outside hitter after being the libero her first two seasons, is averaging 1.89 kills, 2.22 points and 2.82 digs per set...Laurie Corbelli needs two wins to reach 500 in her 26-year head coaching career, as well as 400 wins in her 19th season at A&M.
  • Lipscomb is making its third consecutive and fourth overall appearance in the tournament. The Lady Bisons are 0-3 all-time in the tournament. Last year Lipscomb was eliminated by Ohio State in the first round...Lipscomb earned the Atlantic Sun Conference automatic bid, avenging an earlier loss and upsetting No. 1 seed Belmont, 3-0, to win its third straight A-Sun tournament title...The Lady Bisons fell, 3-1, to non-conference foe Xavier -- which defeated A&M, 3-2 at the Michigan tournament in September -- on Nov. 26 to close out the regular season...The Lady Bisons are ranked 23rd in the nation with 14.10 kills per set and are 28th in the country with a .255 hitting percentage. They also rank 38th nationally with 13.02 assists per set...Senior middle blocker Katie Rose was named the A-Sun Co-Player of the Year after hitting .346 and averaging 3.18 kills and 0.78 blocks per set in conference matches. Junior Kaycee Green (3.52 kps) was named to the first team, and Jewell Dobson (.315, 2.29 kps) and Lauren Ford (3.20 kps) were unanimous selections to the A-Sun All-Freshman Team....Brandon Rosenthal is in his ninth season as head coach of the Lady Bisons.
  • Kentucky (26-5) is an at-large selection from the Southeastern Conference and is making a school-record seventh consecutive and 13th overall appearance in the NCAA Championship tournament. The Wildcats, who will serve as hosts of the Lexington, Kentucky Regional, are 10-12 all-time in the tournament and are one of only 16 teams to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament in each of the last seven seasons. Last year, they were eliminated by Purdue in the first round...Ranked No. 16 in the latest AVCA Top 25 Poll and No. 17 in the Volleyball Magazine Top 20 Poll, A&M's future conference foe finished second to Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference after falling to the Lady Vols, 3-1, in a match that could have given the Wildcats a share of the conference title. The loss snapped a nine-match winning streak...Junior libero Stephanie Klefot averages 4.75 digs per set and was tabbed the SEC Libero of the Year for the second consecutive season. She was joined on the All-SEC first team by sophomore outside hitter Whitney Billings (2.45 kps, 3.04 pps) and junior setter Christine Hartmann, who ranks 31st in the nation with 11.1 assists per set. Junior outside hitter Ashley Frazier (3.12 kps) collected SEC second-team honors, and 6-5 outside hitter Lauren O'Conner was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team...Craig Skinner is in his seventh season as head coach of the Wildcats.
  • Dayton (25-6) is making its fifth consecutive and eighth overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament...Dayton earned the Atlantic 10's automatic bid as three-peat regular season and tournament champions...The Flyers hold a 4-7 all-time record in the tournament and have advanced to the second round in back-to-back seasons...Last year, Dayton swept Butler in the first round and fell to Ohio State, 3-2, including a 16-14 loss in the deciding fifth set...The Flyers enter the 2001 tournament riding a six-match winning streak after defeating Notre Dame, 3-0, in the final match of the regular season...Dayton defeated Xavier, 3-1, in the title match of the A-10 tournament. Xavier defeated Texas A&M, 3-2, in September...Junior 6-4 outside hitter Rachel Krabacher , the A-10 Player of the Year, ranks 13th in the nation with 4.53 kills per set and is 17th in the country with 5.01 points per set... Junior Samantha Selsky was the league's Setter of the Year, and head coach Kelly Sheffield was named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year... Sophomore middle blocker Megan Campbell was named to the A-10 First Team and ranks fourth in the country with a .416 hitting percentage and 12th with 1.43 blocks per set...As a team, the Flyers' .287 hitting percentage is fifth best in the nation...Dayton is receiving points in the AVCA Coaches Poll and is listed 29th... Sheffield is in his fourth season at Dayton and the 11th season of his head coaching career.

AGGIE QUICK HITS:

Goodbye to the Big 12: Texas A&M leaves the Big 12 a winner after upsetting 14th-ranked Iowa State, 3-1, in Ames on Nov. 26 in the Aggies' conference finale. The Aggies, who will be members of the Southeastern Conference starting next year, were picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 according to a preseason vote of the league's coaches but managed a third place finish with an 11-5 record in what is considered the toughest conference in the nation by RichKern.com. It is A&M's highest finish since tying Missouri for third place in 2004.

For the record: An all-time record home crowd of 4,606 came to A&M's final home match of the regular season and witnessed the final Big 12 Conference meeting between rivals A&M and Texas. The Aggies, 10-2 in home matches, average 1,782 fans per match, ranking 19th in the nation. Their only losses were against fifth-ranked Longhorns and then-No. 15 Iowa State on Oct. 22.

22 wins and counting: A&M enters the NCAA tournament with a 22-7 record, giving the Aggies their most wins since 2003 when they went 23-10 after advancing to the Sweet Sixteen. This is the 13th season A&M has reached the 20-victory landmark in coach Laurie Corbelli's 19 years as head coach of the Aggies. A&M will finish the season with no more than eight losses, the fewest since having only six losses in A&M's 2001 Elite Eight season.

Corbelli approaching milestone victories: Aggie head coach Laurie Corbelli is two 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 398-193 (.673) in her 19th year at the helm of the Aggies and 498-299 (.625) in the 26th season of her head coaching career.

From worst to best: A&M opened its final match of the regular season and its last-ever Big 12 Conference match with its worst set of the season, as No. 14 Iowa State held the Aggies to a .000 hitting percentage and only 10 points at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. A&M went out a winner, though, regrouping to win the match, 10-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-16, and spoiling the Cyclones' Senior Night. The win against ISU, which was second in the nation in the Ratings Power Index (RPI), marked the highest ranked win of the season for the Aggies, who are 2-4 against Top 25 opponents.

Three named to All-Big 12 First Team: Senior Kelsey Black was a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 First Team while making her second consecutive appearance on the team. Juniors Lindsey Miller and Alisia Kastmo were named to the first team for the first time in their careers. A&M tied Iowa State and Texas for most members on the first team. It marks only the second time in Big 12 history that A&M has had as many as three players named to the first team and the first time since 1999 when Jenna Moscovic, Amber Woolsey and Summer Strickland were named to the first team and went on to lead the Aggies to their first NCAA Elite Eight appearance.

Balancing act: Twice this season, A&M has had five players reach double figures in kills in a match. The Aggies had five players post double figures in kills for the second time this season while hitting a Big 12 season-high .300 in the 3-1 win at Oklahoma on Nov. 19. The Aggies also had five players reach double figures in kills in the 3-2 win against Baylor on Sept. 28. 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.

Triple threat: Sophomore 6-2 lefty setter Allie Sawatzky, who ranks fifth in the Big 12 with 10.36 assists per set for the full season, recorded the second triple-double of her career in the win at Oklahoma on Nov. 19, 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 2,207 career assists, ranking 10th in the A&M career records.

Serving up aces: The Aggies lead the Big 12 with 1.39 aces per set. Individually, senior middle blocker Elise Hendrickson leads the Big 12 with 35 total aces and  0.32 aces per set. She has had at least one ace in 21 of 29 matches and has tallied two or more aces in 11 matches. Kelsey Black is fifth in the Big 12 with a 0.27 ace average.

Miller time: Junior middle blocker Lindsey Miller ranks fourth in the Big 12 and 71st in the nation with 1.14 blocks per set. She also is sixth in the league and 75th in the country  with a .337 hitting percentage. She finished Big 12 play ranked third in the league with 1.27 blocks per set and sixth with a .342 hitting percentage in conference matches only. Her career-high nine blocks in the sweep against Kansas State on Oct. 1 was 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.

Don't count 'em out: 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. A&M fought off  one match point in the third set in the win against Kansas and three match points in the fourth set in the victory against No. 22 Oklahoma. The win against the Sooners 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. The last time the Aggies had come back from a 2-0 deficit against a ranked opponent was against No. 23 Baylor on Nov. 10, 1999, at G. Rollie White Coliseum.

The 1,000 Club: Kelsey 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 36.

Double vision: Kelsey Black leads the Aggies with 17 double-doubles this season. She has posted double figures in kills in a team-high 20 matches and double figures in digs in 22 matches. Only libero Megan Pendergast has had more double-digit dig performances with 23, including in each of the last six matches.

Heating up: Right-side hitter Alisia Kastmo is hitting .310 for the season, ranking second on the team. But when the 6-4 junior posts 10 or more kills, she is hitting at a .369 clip. Kastmo has posted double figures in kills in 15 matches and has led or tied for team-high honors in kills nine times. Kastmo, who ranked 10th in the Big 12 with a .301 hitting percentage in conference matches only, is second on the team with 2.74 kills per set for the full season and is averaging 3.22 points per set.

Dig this: Junior libero Megan Pendergast has played in 28 of 29 matches and has led or tied for the team lead in digs 19 times, more than any other player. She has posted double figures in digs in a team-high 23 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 4.03 digs per set for the full season and finished seventh in the league with 4.00 digs per set in conference matches only.

Starting notes: Kelsey Black, Lindsey Miller, Allie Sawatzky and Elise Hendrickson have started every match in 2011, and only Sawatzky has played in all 109 sets. Alisia Kastmo, who has played in 108 of 109 sets, has started all but six matches in which senior Sarah Grace started for her in the back row rotation.

It's academic: 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 Sarah Grace, Elise Hendrickson, Alisia Kastmo, Lindsey Miller and Allie 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.

It's academic - Part 2: Kastmo was named to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-District Second Team, by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). A Tyler, Texas, native majoring in business, Kastmo is A&M's first player to receive academic all-district honors from CoSIDA since Jen Woods was named to the second team in 2007. The 14-member Academic All-District 7 first and second teams were voted on by CoSIDA members in the district, which encompasses the states of Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. To be eligible, student-athletes must be a starter or key reserve playing in at least 50 percent of their team's scheduled contests, have at least a 3.30 cumulative grade-point average and have achieved at least sophomore status.

Senior salute - Five seniors will be concluding their A&M careers. Kelsey Black and Chelsea Ringel both played fours seasons for the Aggies and were a part of A&M's Sweet Sixteen run in 2009. Transfers Sarah Grace and Elise Hendrickson have played the last two seasons at A&M after transferring from Baylor and Arizona, respectively, and Cinthya Roberto, who was a two-time All-American at nearby Blinn College, transferred in from Florida for her final season.

So close: A&M began the season by winning its first nine matches. The Aggies, who captured three tournament titles during the run, 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.

Three-time tournament champions - Texas A&M won three of the four tournaments it competed in this season, and Kelsey Black was named the MVP in all three. In the season-opening Texas A&M Invitational, the Aggies defeated Creighton twice and UTSA to win the title. Alisia Kastmo, Lindsey Miller and Allie Sawatzky earned all-tournament honors. A&M then won the Portland/NIKE Invitational, defeating Portland, Butler, Nevada and Washington State. Kastmo joined Black on the all-tournament team. Miller and Sawatzky joined Black on the all-tournament team at the Ladyjack Invitational at Stephen F. Austin. The Aggies defeated both SFA and Northern Illinois to improve to 9-0. A&M's streak of tournament championships came to an end on the final weekend of non-conference tournament play as the Aggies went 1-2 at the Michigan/adidas Invitational in Ann Arbor, Mich. Sawatzky garnered her third all-tournament honor.

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