A&M Hosts No. 18 K-State Friday at G. Rollie

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COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M volleyball team returns home Friday to play host to No. 18 Kansas State at 6:30 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum.

It will be Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night at the Holler House. A&M faculty and staff will be provided two free tickets to the match, along with a free bag of popcorn.

The Aggies improved to 12-3 overall and 2-3 in the Big 12 after sweeping Baylor, 30-27, 30-24, 30-24, in Waco on Wednesday. It was A&M’s eighth consecutive victory in Waco and its first conference win on the road this season.

The Aggies, who have now equaled their total number of wins last season, are tied with Kansas for sixth place in the Big 12.

A much-improved Kansas State team also equaled its win total from 2006 on Wednesday, moving to 12-3 overall and 4-1 in the Big 12 after defeating Missouri, 30-21, 30-20, 30-20, in Manhattan. It was the Wildcats’ seventh victory in their last eight matches, and they remain in third place in the Big 12 standings.

LOOKING AT THE AGGIES

Sarah Ammerman, a sophomore outside hitter, leads A&M with 3.89 kills and 4.39 points per game for the full season. Mary Batis, also a sophomore outside hitter, is the leader in digs and aces with 3.39 and 0.43 per game, respectively, and ranks second on the team with 3.16 kills and 3.88 points per game.

Junior middle blocker Jillian Phillips is averaging a team-leading 1.30 blocks per game for the full season and is tied for fourth in the Big 12 with a 1.42 block average in conference games only. Senior middle Kelly Stanton leads the Aggie starters with a .388 hitting percentage. Sophomore setter Kristen Schevikhoven is averaging 11.17 assists per game.

As a team, A&M is outhitting its opponents, .289 to .167 for the full season, averaging 15.80 kills to opponents’ 13.36 kills per game. A&M also is averaging 2.59 blocks per game, while foes are averaging 1.35 per game.

LOOKING AT THE WILDCATS

KSU is 7-1 over its last eight matches with a 3-2 loss to Oklahoma on Sept. 19 as the only blemish. The Wildcats’ two other losses on the season were 3-1 setbacks to both No. 16 Hawaii and No. 5 UCLA at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic on Aug. 31 and Sept. 2.

Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year Natalya Korobkova, a 6-3 junior right-side hitter, leads the Wildcats and ranks seventh in the Big 12 with 4.12 kills per game for the full season. Senior setter Stacey Spiegelberg is ranked third in the league with 13.06 assists per game for the full season.

Junior middle blocker Megan Farr is hitting .425 in Big 12 matches only, ranking third in the league, and she is second in the Big 12 with 1.58 blocks per game in conference matches.

As a team, KSU is outhitting its opponents, .280 to .169 and averaging 3.09 blocks to opponents’ 2.43. In addition, the Wildcats are averaging 2.24 aces per game while holding opponents to a 0.98 average. KSU leads the Big 12 in kills by opponents (12.28) and assists by opponents (11.56).

Suzie Fritz is in her seventh season at the helm of the Wildcats and sports a 136-65 record.

THE A&M-KSU ALL-TIME SERIES

KSU holds a narrow 12-11 lead in the all-time series, including 12-10 in Big 12 matches only. A&M, however, is 9-2 all-time against the Wildcats in matches played at G. Rollie. In addition, the Aggies are riding an all-time high three-match winning streak against KSU after sweeping the season series for the first time last year.

A&M picked up its first Big 12 Conference victory of the season and left KSU still searching for its first league win as the Aggies defeated the Wildcats, 30-28, 30-26, 20-30, 20-30, 15-10, at G. Rollie White on Sept. 22, 2006.

The Aggies, playing in their third consecutive five-game match, snapped a three-match losing skid, while K-State suffered its fourth consecutive loss and fell to 0-3 in conference play, marking the first time the Wildcats were winless after three Big 12 matches.

A&M used a balanced attack with four players reaching double figures in kills. Sarah Ammerman led the team with 18 kills. Mary Batis and Christi Hahn had 15 kills apiece and Kelly Stanton pitched in a then-season-high 14. Batis tied libero Zanny Castillo for team-high honors in digs with 20.

Sandy Werner led the Wildcats with 19 kills, and Ginta Gabruseva added 12. Big 12 dig leader Angie Lastra led all players with 29 digs.

A&M quickly jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the decisive fifth game following a solo block by Kelsey Bryant. KSU never got closer than two points, the last time coming at 12-10. Batis, Ammerman and Bryant then posted back-to-back-to-back kills to clinch the victory.

A&M, which was held to a .177 hitting percentage for the match, hit .318 in the final stanza. K-State, which hit .212 for the match, was held to a match-low .087 hitting efficiency in the final frame.

A&M gladly ended several streaks in the second meeting as the Aggies swept Kansas State, 30-28, 34-32, 30-25, at Ahearn Field House on Nov. 4

With the victory, the Aggies not only snapped a three-match losing streak, but they earned their first-ever win in 11 trips to Manhattan and completed their first season sweep against the Wildcats.

Ammerman led the Aggies with 17 kills while hitting a then career-high .324. Hahn finished with 13 kills and only one error for a .414 hitting percentage as the Aggies hit .275.

Zanny Castillo and Stephanie Cadavid led A&M in digs with 13 apiece. Bryant and Stanton led in blocks with six and five, respectively, to help A&M hold the Wildcats to a .172 hitting percentage and give the Aggies a 9 to 6.5 edge in total team blocks.

Lastra had a team-leading 13 kills for K-State, which suffered its fifth straight loss and fell to 9-16 overall and 1-14 in the Big 12. Megan Kroeker added 10 kills, and Leslie Townsend and Lauren Rosenthal led the team in digs with 11 each. Farr also had a team-high five blocks.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

A&M takes on No. 7 Texas Wednesday in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown. First serve is at 6:30 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum, and the match will be televised live by ESPNU. Beth Mowins will call the play-by-play, and Cathy Nelson will provide color commentary.