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Texas A&M Battles LSU Wednesday in Baton Rouge

Texas A&M (13-10, 5-7 SEC) vs. LSU (15-8, 5-6 SEC)
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013
6 p.m., Pete Maravich Assembly Center

TV: Cox Sports Television
Live Audio/Stats: AggieAthletics.com
In-Game Updates: Twitter.com/AggieVolleyball

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M (13-10, 5-7 SEC) takes a two-match road winning streak into Baton Rouge as the Aggies face rival LSU (15-8, 5-6 SEC) Wednesday at the Pete Maravich Center. First serve is at 6 p.m., and the match will be televised by Cox Sports Television.

A&M, in the midst of a schedule that includes five matches in 10 days, has won back-to-back conference matches for the first time this season and recorded its first SEC road victories of the year with a sweep at Mississippi State last Friday and a 3-1 victory at Ole Miss on Sunday.

LSU, which overcame a two-set deficit to top the Aggies, 3-2, in College Station earlier this season, is coming off a weekend which also included a pair of five-set road matches. On Friday, the Tigers held off Georgia in Athens, 27-25, 20-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-11, and then suffered a heartbreaking setback at No. 20 Kentucky, 23-25, 25-16, 26-24, 25-27, 15-13. LSU enters Wednesday’s match in eighth place in the SEC standings, holding a half-game lead over the ninth-place Aggies.


·         The match will be televised by Cox Sports Television (Suddenlink channel 119 in Bryan College Station) with Lyn Rollins on play-by-play and Brittany Roderick providing commentary

·         Free live audio will be available on AggieAthletics.com with Chelsea Reber calling the action

·         Link to live stats will be available on AggieAthletics.com

·         Updates and other information can be found by following AggieVolleyball on Twitter.com


A&M returns home this weekend for two of its final three home matches of the regular season. On Friday, the Aggies play host to Tennessee at 4 p.m. at Reed Arena. The match is part of a doubleheader with the men’s basketball team, which hosts Rice at 8 p.m. On Sunday, A&M takes on Auburn at 1:30 p.m. at Reed.


Texas A&M made its first-ever match at Mississippi State a quick one, taking less than an hour and a half to defeat the Bulldogs, 25-17, 25-21, 25-15, Friday in Starkville, Miss. The Aggies hit an SEC school-record .439, posting 50 kills in 98 attempts while committing a season-low seven errors en route to notching their first SEC road victory of the year. Aggie sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak led all players with 17 kills — the most kills by an A&M player in a three-set match this season — while hitting .517. Senior setter Allie Sawatzky orchestrated a balanced offense as six A&M players posted four or more kills each. Sawatzky tallied 37 assists and also pitched in eight kills while hitting .636. Senior libero Heather Reynolds anchored A&M’s back row play with a team-high 16 digs, and redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babersspearheaded the front-row defense with five blocks as A&M held the Bulldogs to a .214 hitting efficiency.

On Sunday, Texas A&M completed a successful weekend, posting its second consecutive road victory with a 25-10, 25-20, 22-25, 25-21 win against Ole Miss in Oxford. Sawatzky tallied her sixth triple-double of the season as she dished out 31 assists, scooped up 11 digs and was part of a trio of Aggies to post double-figure kills with 10 while hitting .450. Lowak once again took team-high honors in kills with 11, and sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan also posted double-digit kills with 10 as A&M led the Rebels in kills, 52-44. Defensively, Reynolds paced the Aggies with a team-high 13 digs, and Babers led all players with six blocks as A&M outhit Ole Miss, .193 to .097, and outblocked the Rebels, 11-9.


·         Texas A&M ranks third in the SEC and 17th in the nation with 13.33 assists per set for the full season. The Aggies also are third in the league and 18th in the country with 14.31 kills per set.

·         A&M is fifth in the conference in both hitting percentage (.248) and digs per set (15.71).

·         In SEC matches only, A&M ranks third with 13.16 assists per set and is fourth in both hitting percentage (.258) and kills per set (14.09).

·         Five starters are each averaging more than 2.50 points per set in all matches, as well as in SEC matches only. With her consistent strong play over the last several weeks, sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan has steadily climbed the ranks and has now overtaken the team lead with 3.42 points per set for the full season and 3.72 points per set in SEC matches only. Sophomore outside hitters Sierra Patrick andAngela Lowak also are averaging more than three points per set in all matches with 3.41 and 3.29, respectively. Redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers (2.67 pps) and senior lefty setter Allie Sawatzky (2.52 pps) round out the top five.

·         A&M has used 11 different starting lineups in 23 matches and 12 different lineups when considering the designated libero. Only setter Allie Sawatzky and middle blockers Shelby Sullivan and Jazzmin Babershave started every match. They are also the only three who have played in all 84 sets.

·         In the season opener against South Dakota State, five of six A&M players were making the first start of their collegiate careers, including two freshmen:  Emily Hardesty and Jazzmin Babers at outside hitter and middle blocker, respectively. Senior setter Allie Sawatzky was the only upperclassman in the lineup, as sophomore outside hitters Angela Lowak and Sierra Patrick and sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan also drew their first career starts.

·         Sophomores and freshmen have accounted for 81 percent of A&M’s total kills (971 of 1202) and 80 percent of the team’s total points (1184 of 1484.5). In addition, the underclassmen are responsible for 95 percent or 40 of 42 of the team’s solo blocks and 254 of 293 (87 percent) of the team’s block assists.

·         Six of A&M’s losses have been to ranked opponents. The Aggies, who lead the SEC with seven matches against Top 25 opponents, are 1-6 against ranked foes, defeating Florida State, 3-0, and falling to No. 7 Michigan, 3-2, No. 15 Iowa State, 3-1, and No. 11 Missouri and No. 22 Colorado State, 3-0. A&M also fell to third-ranked Florida, 3-0, in Gainesville and then lost to the No. 5 Gators, 3-2, in College Station.

·         Texas A&M won two of three pre-conference tournaments, winning the UTSA Classic with a 3-0 mark and winning its own Texas A&M Invitational. The Aggies, No. 7 Michigan and No. 16 Florida State all finished with 2-1 records in College Station, but A&M was awarded the trophy based on the sets won-lost ratio tiebreaker. A&M placed second at the season-opening UND Classic, won by No. 15 Iowa State.

·         Eleven of A&M’s 29 scheduled matches will be against teams that appeared in the 2012 NCAA Championship, including Michigan and Florida State, who reached the Final Four in 2012 and 2011, respectively. A&M is currently 4-6 against last year’s NCAA tournament teams.

·         Texas A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli returns two starters — setter Allie Sawatzky and outside hitterHeather Reynolds, who is a defensive specialist this year — and eight other letterwinners from last year’s team that won the SEC West with a 16-4 record and was 25-6 overall with a No. 17 final RPI after advancing to the NCAA second round, where the Aggies fell to eventual national champion Texas. She also welcomes two redshirt freshmen and four true freshmen.

·         A&M, the 2012 SEC Western Division Champion, was picked to win the SEC West again this year, along with LSU, according to a preseason vote of the league’s head coaches. However, in a meeting held in late August, the SEC athletics directors passed a measure, effective immediately, to recognize and award divisional champions in the sports of football and baseball only.


·         Senior setter Allie Sawatzky leads the SEC with six triple-doubles, including most recently a 10-kill, 31-assist, 11-dig performance in a 3-1 victory at Ole Miss on Sunday. Arkansas setter Raymariely Santos has one triple-double and is the only other SEC player to register a triple-double this season. Sawatzky is tied for first in the league with 15 double-doubles.

·         Sawatzky, a 6-2 lefty who averages 9.99 assists and 2.13 kills per set, has recorded 10 or more kills 11 times this season and is hitting a combined .448 when posting 10 or more kills.

·         Sawatzky is second on the team and 17th in the SEC with a .308 hitting percentage. She hit a career-high .714 (minimum 10 kills) with 10 kills, 0 errors in 14 attempts in the sweep against Mississippi State on Oct. 11, equaling the 10th best individual hitting percentage in program history when taking 10-14 swings in a match. Sawatzky is hitting .316 in SEC matches only, ranking 11th in the league.

·         Sawatzky has started every match of her career (115) at setter and has played in 425 of 428 total sets during her career. She moved into third place in A&M career assists records on Oct. 6 at South Carolina, surpassing Yvonne Van Brandt, who had 3,894 assists from 1986-89. Sawatzky, who now has 4,279 career assists, also ranks 10th in the career records with 867 points.

·         Middle blocker Shelby Sullivan is second in the SEC with a .444 hitting percentage in conference matches only. She also is listed 11th in the league with 3.72 points per set in SEC matches and ranks 14th with 3.05 kills per set in conference matches only. Sullivan has posted double-figure kills in four of the last five matches, including a career-high 16 kills against both Arkansas and No. 7 Missouri, while hitting a combined .525.

·         Sullivan hit a career-high .682 (16k-0e-22ta) against Missouri, ranking eighth in the A&M single match records when making 20 or more attack attempts. Sullivan is sixth in the SEC and 48th in the nation with a .363 hitting percentage for the full season.

·         Jazzmin Babers is second in the SEC and 50th in the nation with 1.26 blocks per set for the full season. The 6-2 redshirt freshman, who is fourth in the SEC with 1.30 blocks per set in league matches only, has recorded nine or more blocks in a match three times this season, and her nine blocks in the sweep against Georgia on Sept. 29 ties for the league lead for most blocks in a three-set SEC match this season.

·         Babers, the SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 16, had a career-high 11 blocks against No. 7 Michigan (Sept. 13). It is the most blocks by an A&M freshman since Melissa Munsch collected 13 against Colorado on Oct. 24, 2001.

·         Sophomores Sierra Patrick and Angela Lowak have each posted double-figure kills in a team-best 13 matches. Patrick, who has seen action on both the left and right sides, leads the Aggies and is 16th in the SEC with 3.10 kills per set for the full season, and Lowak is second on the team and 17th in the conference with 3.03 kills per set in all matches. The duo is 15th and 17th, respectively, in the league in points per set for the full season, with Patrick averaging 3.41 points and Lowak averaging 3.29.

·         Patrick, a two-time all-tournament selection in 2013, has posted 20 or more kills in a team-leading four matches this season. Lowak, also a two time all-tournament selection, had a career-high 21 kills against Loyola Marymount.

·         Senior setter/defensive specialist Mariah Agre leads the team and is seventh in the SEC with 0.31 aces per set for the full season.

·         Senior Heather Reynolds was the designated libero for the first time in her career against Arkansas on Oct. 25 and has now been the libero in each of the last five matches. She has tallied double-figure digs in four of the five matches, including a match-high and season-high 18 digs against No. 5 Florida on Nov. 3.

·         Senior Kelsey Kinley, the libero in the first 18 matches of the season, leads the Aggies and ranks 11th in the SEC with 3.41 digs per set. The College Station native has tallied 10 or more digs in a team-leading 16 matches, including a career-high and team season-high 23 in a 3-1 victory at UTSA. Kinley has taken or tied for team-high honors in digs in 12 matches overall.

·         Freshman Victoria Arenas made her A&M libero debut in the third set against South Carolina on Oct. 6. For the first point of the set, Arenas dug a hard-driven ball that then went over the net and fell in untouched for a kill. It was the first kill of her A&M career. Arenas, who has been a defensive specialist for all but the two sets she played libero, has appeared in 19 matches overall — starting six — and in 58 sets. She had a career-high 20 digs in the 3-1 win against Arkansas on Oct. 25 and is currently third on the team with 2.41 digs per set in SEC matches.

·         Redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers has started every match this season and is one of four freshmen on the team to start a match. Outside hitter/opposite hitter Emily Hardesty has started 10 matches, and setter/opposite hitter Kaysie Shebeneck has started five matches. In addition, defensive specialist/libero Victoria Arenas has started six matches. ArenasBabers and Shebeneck all started against Michigan, marking the first time A&M had three freshmen in the starting lineup this season. The same trio has now appeared in the starting lineup three times overall.


·         LSU (15-8, 5-6 SEC) was picked to win the SEC Western Division, along with A&M. It is the ninth straight year the Tigers have been the preseason division favorite.

·         The Tigers are coming off a 3-2 (23-25, 25-16, 26-24, 25-27, 15-3) heartbreaking loss at No. 20 Kentucky on Sunday. It was the Tigers’ 10th five-set match of the season, including the third five-setter over the last four matches.

·         Middle blocker Briana Holman was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday after averaging 3.70 kills and 1.20 per set while hitting .378 in a 3-2 win at Georgia and the five-set loss to the Wildcats.

·         Holman leads the SEC and is seventh in the nation with 1.51 blocks per set. She also leads the Tigers and is in the top 10 in the SEC with a .336 hitting percentage and 3.99 points per set. She has LSU ranked second in the conference and 29th in the nation with 2.71 team blocks per set.

·         As a team, LSU is outhitting its opponents, .219 to .191, but opponents lead in kills per set, 13.62 to 12.87.

·         Head coach Fran Flory (Texas ‘84) is 294-181 in her 16th season at the helm of the Tigers. She served as an assistant coach at Texas A&M in 1987 under former Aggie head coach Al Givens.


·         Texas A&M is 23-14 overall against LSU, including 7-3 in matches played in Baton Rouge.

·         Five of the last eight meetings have been decided in five sets, including a come-from-behind 20-25, 16-25, 25-19, 25-18, 15-10 LSU victory in College Station on Oct. 9.

·         In the Oct. 9 meeting, Patrick led A&M with 15 kills and 17 digs, and Lowak and Sullivan added 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Sawatzky finished with 10 kills, 48 assists and nine digs. Kinley posted double figures in kills with 12, and Babers finished with a team-high six blocks. Holman had 18 kills to lead the Tigers, who also had four players post double-figure kills. LSU outhit A&M, .237 to .209 and outblocked the Aggies, 11.0 to 8.5. A&M led in kills, 64-59.

·         Last year, in A&M’s inaugural season in the SEC, the Aggies defeated LSU, 3-1, in Baton Rouge.

·         A&M is 6-4 against the Tigers with Laurie Corbelli as head coach of the Aggies, including 2-0 in Baton Rouge.

A&M’s results vs. LSU during the Corbelli era:

Overall: 6-4    H:  1-2    A:  2-0    N:  3-2
Sept. 16, 199      N      W         15-0, 15-7, 15-6
Sept. 11, 1998             N          W         15-5, 15-5, 17-15
Sept. 1, 2002      H      W         30-32, 24-30, 30-16, 30-24, 15-10
Sept. 10, 2005             N          W         28-30, 30-17, 30-28, 29-31, 15-13
Sept. 1, 2006      N      L          32-30, 34-36, 23-30, 16-30
Aug. 29, 2008     N      L          25-23, 21-25, 25-20, 17-25, 18-20
Dec. 5, 2009       A       W         18-25, 2-24, 23-25, 25-23, 15-10
Aug. 28, 2010     H      L          9-25, 17-25, 22-25
Oct. 26, 2012      A       W         25-20, 22-25, 25-11, 25-16
Oct. 9, 2013        H      L          25-20, 25-16, 19-25, 18-25, 10-15

Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics


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Posted by on Nov 13 2013. Filed under Sports.
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