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Volleyball Concludes Regular Season

November 20, 2012
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
TEXAS A&M (22-5, 14-4 SEC) VS. TENNESSEE (21-6, 14-4 SEC)
Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012
7 p.m. (6 p.m. CT), Thompson-Boling Arena
Knoxville, Tennessee

TEXAS A&M VS. OLE MISS
Friday, Nov. 23, 2012
7 p.m., Gillom Sports Center
Oxford, Miss.

Live Audio: 12thMan.TV (free)
Live Stats:
AggieAthletics.com
In-Game Updates:
Twitter.com/AggieVolleyball

Aggies Close Out Regular Season at Tennessee, Ole Miss

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M volleyball team (22-5, 14-4 SEC) concludes its inaugural Southeastern Conference campaign with a pair of road matches this week, taking on Tennessee in Knoxville on Wednesday and facing Ole Miss in the regular season finale, Friday in Oxford. First serve against the Lady Volunteers is at 6 p.m. (CT), and the match against the Rebels begins at 7 p.m. at the Gillom Sports Center.

The Aggies are riding a seven-match winning streak and clinched at least a share of the of the SEC Western Division championship with a 3-1 (25-20, 18-25, 25-15, 25-15) victory against Missouri in College Station on Friday. A&M, which had a bye on Sunday, has a two-match lead over Arkansas (21-8, 12-6 SEC) for the outright SEC West title with two matches remaining.

Tennessee (21-6, 14-4 SEC), which toppled A&M, 3-0, earlier this season in College Station, also is riding a seven-match winning streak, including a 3-2 victory over previously undefeated and league-champion Florida on Nov. 4. Last week, the Lady Vols got by Auburn, 3-2 (23-35, 25-20, 29-31, 25-19, 15-6) and then swept LSU, 25-20, 25-19, 25-21, in Knoxville.

Ole Miss is 11-16 overall and 5-13 in the SEC entering a match against Alabama on Wednesday. The Rebels have lost six of their last seven matches, including a 3-1 (17-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-22) loss at Arkansas on Sunday.

FOLLOW THE ACTION:
Live audio of the match will be available free on AggieAthletics.com with Chelsea Reber and Kelly Stumph calling the action. Live stats also will be available on AggieAthletics.com, and live updates and other information can be found by following @AggieVolleyball on Twitter.

UP NEXT:
The 64-team NCAA Championship bracket will be unveiled Sunday, Nov. 25 at 3 p.m. on ESPNU. A&M is expected to make its second consecutive and 20th overall appearance in the postseason tournament. Last year, the Aggies were a No. 16 seed and were selected to host first and second rounds. A&M defeated Lipscomb, 3-1, before falling to future SEC-foe Kentucky, 3-0, in the second round.

RECENT RESULTS:
Texas A&M won its seventh consecutive match and clinched at least a share of the SEC Western Division title with a 25-20, 18-25, 25-15, 25-15 victory over Missouri Friday on Senior Night at Reed Arena. A&M's five seniors, playing in their final regular season home match, led the Aggies to the victory. Alisia Kastmo set a career high with 25.5 points and tied career highs with 21 kills and four aces. Tori Mellinger posted her team-leading 12th double-double of the season with 13 kills and 14 digs. Lindsey Miller also reached double figures in kills with 10 and hit .444, and Stephanie Minnerly led the Aggies in blocks with three. In addition, libero Megan Pendergast led all players with 17 digs. A&M outhit Missouri .229 to .173 for the match, posting 59 kills to the Tigers' 43. Junior setter Allie Sawatzky dished out 50 assists to lead A&M to a 59-40 overall assists advantage, and the Aggies also led in digs (65-50) and aces with a season-high nine aces to the Tigers' one. Missouri, the SEC leader in blocks per set, outblocked A&M, 9.5 to 7.

SERIES HISTORY VS. TENNESSEE:

  • Tennessee leads the all-time series, 6-2, including 3-1 in matches played in Knoxville.
  • Earlier this season, the Lady Vols outhit A&M, .381 to .186 to defeat the Aggies, 25-21, 25-19, 25-21, on Oct. 19 in College Station in the first meeting as conference foes. Alisia Kastmo led A&M with team highs of 11 kills and 12 digs. Tiffany Baker led the Lady Vols with 15 kills while hitting at a .636 clip, and Kelsey Robinson added 14 kills. Libero Ellen Mullins had a match-high 18 digs for Tennessee.
  • A&M last met Tennessee in Knoxville on Dec. 4, 2004, for an NCAA second-round match. The 10th-ranked Lady Vols won the match, 30-21, 24-30, 30-23, 32-30.

A&M's all-time results vs. Tennessee:

Overall: 2-6        H: 1-2          A: 1-3   N: 0-1
Nov.      12-13,  1982            A          L          8-15, 15-12, 16-14, 6-15, 8-15
Oct.       7,     1983    H          L          1-15, 13-15, 7-15
Oct.       14,   1983    N          L          12-15, 10-15, 14-16
Nov.      2,     1985    A          W         15-6, 15-6, 15-5
Oct.       31,   1987    A          L          14-16, 13-15, 9-15
Oct.       29,   1994    H          W         15-0, 15-4, 15-10
Dec.      4,     2004    A          L          21-30, 30-24, 23-30, 30-32
Oct.       19,   2012    H          L          21-25, 19-25, 21-25

SERIES HISTORY VS. OLE MISS:

  • A&M owns a 6-0 all-time record against Ole Miss.
  • This will be the first meeting between the two teams in Oxford.
  • Earlier this season, A&M defeated Ole Miss, 3-0, on Sept. 14, 2012, in the Aggies' first-ever conference match as a member of the SEC. A&M's Alisia Kastmo led all players with 15 kills while hitting at a .444 clip and also completed a double-double with a team-high 10 digs. Tori Mellinger finished with 13 kills, including the one that clinched the historic win. Kara Morgan led Ole Miss with 12 kills, and Ashley Veach and Amanda Philpot tied for match-high honors with 12 digs each. A&M outhit Ole Miss, .310 to .202, for the match.

AGGIE QUICK HITS:

  • A&M is No. 18 in this week's Rating Percentage Index (RPI). Stanford is No. 1, and Penn State, Texas, Louisville and Nebraska round out the top five. At No. 14, Florida is the top-rated team representing the SEC, followed by No. 15 Tennessee, Texas A&M, No. 24 Kentucky and No. 27 Arkansas. Missouri is No. 50.
  • The Aggies are receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 Poll and are tied with Michigan for 28th.
  • Texas A&M needs one victory to reach 23 and equal the most wins since the team went 26-6 and reached the NCAA Elite Eight in 2001. A&M reached the 20-win landmark at Auburn on Nov. 9, marking the 14th 20-plus win season in head coach Laurie Corbelli's 20-year tenure.
  • A&M is ranked 12th in the nation and leads the SEC with 14.54 kills per set for the full season. A&M also leads the league and is 14th in the country with 13.56 assists per set. In addition, the Aggies lead the SEC with a .167 opponent hitting percentage for the full season.
  • In SEC matches only, A&M leads the league in assists (13.63) and kills (14.47) per set.
  • A&M is 13-1 in road matches, including 9-1 at away sites and 4-0 at neutral sites.
  • A&M has the fewest receptions errors in the SEC, having allowed only 62 aces this season. Florida, which has played three fewer sets, has allowed 69 aces.
  • A&M won the first set in each of the first 14 matches of the season and in 21 of 27 matches overall. The Aggies are 19-2 when winning the first set and 3-3 when dropping the opening set. No. 5 USC and No. 11 Florida are the only teams that have come back to defeat the Aggies after dropping the opening set. A&M has twice defeated Arkansas after losing the first set and came back to defeat Georgia, 3-2, after losing each of the first two sets.
  • Five A&M players who have appeared in 84 or more sets overall are averaging at least 2.10 points per set for the full season and in SEC matches only. Senior opposite Alisia Kastmo leads the team with 4.17 points per set overall and 4.28 points per set in SEC contests only.
  • A&M has led its opponent in kills in 23 of 27 matches and is 21-2 when leading in kills. Kentucky and Florida are the only two teams to defeat A&M when trailing in kills, and both of those matches were decided in five sets.
  • A&M is 21-0 when posting a higher hitting percentage than its opponent and 1-4 when trailing in hitting percentage.
  • A&M is outhitting its opponents .249 to .167 for the full season and .246 to .185 in SEC matches only.
  • A&M has used the same starting lineup in 25 of 27 matches with seniors Lindsey Miller and Stephanie Minnerly at middle blocker, senior Alisia Kastmo at opposite, senior Tori Mellinger on the outside along with junior Heather Reynolds, and junior Allie Sawatzky at setter. Senior Megan Pendergast has started out every match as the team's designated libero. Kelsey Kinley started two matches -- the first two starts of her career -- in place of Reynolds in the back row.
  • Texas A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli celebrated the 500th win of her 26-year head coaching career and her 400th victory in her 20th season at the helm of the Aggies in A&M's season-opening victory against Texas State on Aug. 24 at Reed Arena. She is now 521-305 for her career and 421-199 at A&M.
  • Twelve of A&M's 29 regular season matches are against teams that appeared in the 2011 NCAA tournament. A&M is currently 6-5 against 2011 NCAA tournament teams.
  • In their inaugural season in the SEC, the Aggies were picked to finish second in the SEC West behind seven-time defending west champion LSU. Tennessee was projected to win the East Division and the overall SEC title. A&M, which finished third in the Big 12 with an 11-5 record in 2011, is 9-0 in the SEC West.

PLAYER POINTS:

  • Junior Allie Sawatzky, who became the first A&M player to be named SEC Offensive Player of the Week when she received the honor on Nov. 5, directs the A&M offense that leads the SEC and is ranked in the top 15 in the nation in both kills and assists per set. The attacking-minded setter averages 10.24 assists per set and leads all SEC setters with 178 total kills and 1.85 kills per set for the full season. She also averages 4.73 attacks, 2.12 digs and 2.32 points per set.
  • Lindsey Miller and Allie Sawatzky have started every match of their careers. Miller has started 119 consecutive matches. Sawatzky has started all 88 matches throughout her career.
  • Libero Megan Pendergast became the first A&M player to receive an SEC weekly honor when she was named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 1. The senior leads A&M and is seventh in the league with 4.16 digs per set in conference matches only. She is eighth in the SEC with 4.04 digs per set for the full season.
  • Pendergast has posted double-figure digs in 21 of 27 matches, including five matches in which she had 20 or more digs. Against Arkansas on Nov. 4, the senior had a career-high and match-high 32 digs, the second most digs by an A&M player during the rally scoring era -- including the 30-point scoring cap period -- and tying for eighth in the A&M all-time match records. The 32 digs obliterated her previous career high of 24 digs, set last year in a 3-1 victory over Baylor.
  • Lindsey Miller, who has tied or led the team in blocks in 18 of 27 matches this season, leads A&M and is sixth in the SEC with 1.05 blocks per set for the full season. She is ninth in the league and 86th in the nation with a .337 hitting percentage. Miller has led the team in total blocks and blocks per set, as well as hitting percentage, in the season ending stats every year in her career.
  • Miller ranks fifth in the A&M career records with 390 block assists. She needs two more to move into a tie for fourth and three more to move into a tie for third.
  • Tori Mellinger, considered the best all-around player on the team, is second on the squad with 2.80 kills, 3.23 digs and 3.19 points per set for the full season.
  • Mellinger, who has posted double figures in digs in each of the last eight matches, ranks third in the A&M records with 1,428 career digs, the most by an A&M player since rally scoring -- including the 30-point cap -- went into effect in 2001. She needs 44 digs to surpass two-time All-American and three-time Olympian Stacy Sykora, who is second in the record books with 1,471 career digs.
  • Alisia Kastmo has had double-figure kills in a team-leading 20 matches this season, including four 20-plus kill performances. She leads A&M and ranks seventh in the SEC with 3.66 kills per set for the full season. She is sixth in the league in SEC matches only with 3.78 kills per set.
  • Kastmo posted a career high and team season high 25.5 points in the 3-1 win against Missouri on Friday. She also tied her career highs with 21 kills and four aces. The Tyler, Texas, native now ranks sixth in the league with 4.17 points per set for the full season and fifth with 4.28 points per set in SEC contests only. In addition, she is fourth in the SEC with 0.28 aces per set in all matches.
  • Allie Sawatzky had 50 assists against Missouri on Friday, the third time she has reached the 50-assist mark this season. It gave her 3,248 for her career, moving her from sixth to fourth place in the A&M career records.
  • Each of A&M's starters was named to at least one all-tournament team in the three tournaments A&M played this year. Senior opposite Alisia Kastmo, the MVP of the Delaware Invitational, and Allie Sawatzky appeared on two all-tournament teams. Senior middle blocker Stephanie Minnerly, the MVP of the Yale Classic, senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger, junior outside hitter Heather Reynolds and Lindsey Miller and have each appeared on one all-tournament team.
  • Alisia Kastmo and Stephanie Minnerly both have graduated with bachelor's degrees and are continuing their education as they complete their athletic eligibility. Kastmo graduated in August with a degree in finance and is pursuing a master's degree in real estate. Minnerly, a fifth-year senior, graduated in December 2011 with a bachelor's degree in university studies. She is pursuing a second degree, a bachelor's of science in agricultural leadership and development, and is scheduled to graduate in May 2013.

TENNESSEE NOTES:

  • Tennessee (21-6, 14-4 SEC) is riding a season-high seven-match win streak and will finish second in the SEC Eastern Division behind overall league champion Florida.
  • Tennessee is receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 Poll and is listed 27th.
  • The Lady Vols are the only SEC team to defeat the champion Gators, defeating Florida, 3-2 (17-25, 25-21, 27-29, 25-23, 19-17), in Gainesville, Fla., on Nov. 4
  • Kelsey Robinson leads the SEC with 20 double-doubles. She is second in the SEC and 26th in the country with 4.93 points per set and second in the league and 34th in the country with 4.29 kills per set.
  • Like A&M, two of UT's losses were against Kentucky. The Lady Vols' other two SEC losses were to Missouri in the SEC opener and against Arkansas in the third match of the season.
  • Senior DeeDee Harrison is second in the SEC with 1.17 blocks per set.
  • Rob Patrick is in his 16th season as head coach of the Lady Vols.

OLE MISS NOTES:

  • Ole Miss is 11-16 overall and 5-13 in SEC matches entering a contest against Alabama on Wednesday.
  • Freshman 6-1 middle blocker Nakeyta Clair leads the Rebels and is second in the SEC with a .369 hitting percentage in league matches. She also ranks third in the SEC with 1.14 blocks per set in league matches.
  • As a team, Ole Miss is outblocking its opponents 2.08 to 1.80 for the full season.
  • Joe Getzin is in his 11th season as head coach of the Rebels.
No. 24 Texas A&M Hosts No. 16 Kentucky Sunday at 11 a.m.
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