Aggies Begin Second Half of Big 12 at Texas Tech

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COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M volleyball team begins the second half of Big 12 Conference play Saturday, taking on Texas Tech in Lubbock. First serve is at 7 p.m. at United Spirit Arena.

The Aggies are 15-6 overall and in seventh place in the Big 12 with a 4-6 league mark. They are riding a two-match winning streak, having defeated Colorado on Saturday and non-conference foe Sam Houston State on Tuesday, both in College Station.

Texas Tech won its Big 12 opener against Colorado back on Sept. 12 but has since lost nine straight matches to fall to 7-12 overall and 1-9 in the Big 12 and drop to 10th place in the league standings. The Red Raiders have been swept in each of their last three matches, including a 30-22, 30-15, 30-14 loss at Kansas State in their most recent outing.

LOOKING AT THE AGGIES

Texas A&M has already surpassed its total number of wins last year (12), and at 4-6 in the Big 12, the Aggies need only one more victory to tie their total number of conference victories last season. Another victory also will guarantee that the Aggies will finish the season with a winning record. Should A&M’s win come against Texas Tech, it will mark the Aggies’ first Big 12 two-match winning streak of the season.

Sarah Ammerman, a sophomore outside hitter, leads A&M and ranks seventh in the Big 12 with 3.88 kills per game. She also averages a team-best 4.14 points per game, which ranks ninth in the league.

Mary Batis, also a sophomore outside hitter, is the A&M leader in digs and aces with 3.57 and 0.36 per game, respectively, and ranks second on the team with 3.41 kills and 4.07 points per game.

Junior middle blocker Jillian Phillips entered the week ranked 24th in the nation with a .389 hitting percentage. She also leads A&M and is ranked fifth in the Big 12 with 1.31 blocks per game for the full season and ranks fourth in the Big 12 with a 1.42 block average in conference games only.

Sophomore setter Kristen Schevikhoven is averaging 11.27 assists per game overall and directs an offense that entered the week ranked 11th in the nation with a .280 hitting percentage. The Aggies have since upped their hitting efficiency to .283 after sweeping Sam Houston State on Tuesday.

In Big 12 matches only, A&M ranks fifth in the league in hitting percentage (.229), kills per game (15.25), assists per game (13.94) and aces per game (1.25) and ranks fourth in blocks per game (2.89) and digs per game (15.69).

LOOKING AT THE RED RAIDERS

Texas Tech (7-12, 1-9 Big 12) is coming off back-to-back three-game losses against Top 25 opponents, No. 25 Oklahoma and No. 14 Kansas State. The two losses extended the Red Raiders’ losing streak to nine, which includes a 3-2 loss at Texas A&M on Sept. 19.

In conference matches only, Tech rates last in the league in hitting percentage (.137) and opponent hitting percentage (.277), as well as assists (11.11), kills (11.89), aces (0.76) and digs (13.22) per game. The Red Raiders are ranked 10th in block average with 2.26 per game in Big 12 matches only.

Junior outside hitter Michelle Flores leads the Red Raiders with 3.05 kills per game for the full season. Senior middle blocker Alicia Ostmeyer is second with 2.61 kills per game and leads the attackers with a .326 hitting efficiency. Senior setter Emily Ziegler is hitting an overall team-best .356 with 1.36 kills per game. She also is averaging 10.67 assists per game. Senior libero Jenn Harrell is averaging 3.89 digs per game, which ranks eighth in the Big 12.

Nancy Todd (Arizona State, 1995) is in her fifth season as head coach of the Red Raiders and is 3-6 against the Aggies.

THE A&M-TEXAS TECH ALL-TIME SERIES

A&M leads Tech, 45-26 (.634), in the all-time series but holds only a 16-12 (.571) advantage in matches played in Lubbock. Tech has won the last two meetings against the Aggies at United Spirit Arena.

In the most recent meeting, A&M held off Tech, 30-27, 30-21, 21-30, 27-30, 15-10, in front of 1,897 at G. Rollie White Coliseum in College Station on Sept. 19. Sarah Ammerman and Mary Batis tallied 21 kills apiece, and Kelly Stanton and Jillian Phillips added 10 kills each to lead the Aggies to their first Big 12 victory of the season and snap a two-match losing skid.

Michelle Flores led Tech with 18 kills, and Amy Gandy and Alicia Ostmeyer contributed 16 each. Tech outhit A&M, .283 to .232 and led in digs, 72-70, but also committed 14 service errors to A&M’s 9. A&M led in kills (75-71), aces (7-4) and blocks (11-7).

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

A&M returns home Wednesday, Oct. 24 to play host to the Kansas Jayhawks. First serve is at 6:30 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum. Kansas will be looking for its first-ever victory in College Station, as the Jayhawks are 0-12 at G. Rollie. Earlier this season, A&M snapped a four-match losing skid in matches played at Kansas with a 30-26, 30-25, 30-19 victory against the Jayhawks on Oct. 6.

A&M will then look to avenge a 3-2 loss to Oklahoma when the Aggies travel to Norman Saturday, Oct. 27. First serve against the No. 23 Sooners is at 7 p.m. at McCasland Field House.