Aggies Look to Extend Winning Streak Against Jayhawks

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COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M volleyball team looks to extend its winning streak to four when the Aggies play host to the Kansas Jayhawks on Wednesday. First serve is at 6:30 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum.

There also will be a Halloween costume contest for Texas A&M students attending the match, and the winner will receive a textbook scholarship from Sterling Evans Library.

The Aggies (16-6, 5-6 Big 12), winners of four of their last five matches, pulled into a tie with Missouri for sixth place in the league standings following a 30-21, 30-25, 30-14 sweep at Texas Tech on Saturday.

Kansas (10-11, 3-8 Big 12) will be looking for its first-ever win in College Station. Kansas is the only Big 12 team that has never won at G. Rollie, having gone home winless in 12 visits to the Holler House.

The Jayhawks have lost their last three matches and six of their last seven and are in ninth place in the Big 12 standings. Kansas is coming off a 30-16, 30-25, 30-26 loss at No. 1 Nebraska on Saturday.

LOOKING AT THE AGGIES

Texas A&M has already surpassed its total number of wins last year (12), and with a 16-6 overall record, the Aggies have guaranteed themselves a winning record with nine matches remaining. In addition, A&M is riding its first Big 12 winning streak this season, and at 5-6 in conference play, the Aggies need only one more victory to surpass their total number of Big 12 victories last season.

Sarah Ammerman, a sophomore outside hitter, leads A&M and ranks seventh in the Big 12 with 3.94 kills per game. She also averages a team-best 4.52 points per game, which ranks eighth in the league.

Mary Batis, also a sophomore outside hitter, is the A&M leader in digs and aces with 3.61 and 0.36 per game, respectively, and ranks second on the team with 3.35 kills and 4.01 points per game.

Junior middle blocker Jillian Phillips leads the team and ranks third in the Big 12 with a .387 hitting percentage. She also leads the Aggies and ranks fifth in the league with 1.3 blocks per game for the full season. In addition, Phillips ranks fourth in the Big 12 in both hitting percentage (.365) and blocks per game (1.39) in conference games only.

Senior middle Kelly Stanton is fifth in the Big 12 with a .373 hitting percentage for the full season.

Sophomore setter Kristen Schevikhoven is averaging 11.31 assists per game overall and directs an offense that entered last week ranked 11th in the nation with a .280 hitting efficiency. A&M has since up its percentage to .285 after hitting a combined .345 in two matches last week.

In Big 12 matches only, A&M ranks third in the league in aces per game (1.33), fourth in hitting percentage (.245) and digs per game (15.74) and fifth in kills (15.46) and assists per game (14.18). In addition, A&M ranks sixth in blocks per game (2.85).

LOOKING AT THE JAYHAWKS

Kansas (10-11, 3-8 Big 12) lost its third consecutive match, equaling its longest losing streak of the season after falling at No. 1 Nebraska, 30-16, 30-25, 30-26, on Saturday. It was the Jayhawks’ sixth loss in their last seven outings, and Kansas fell to 1-6 in road matches.

Freshman outside hitter Jenna Kaiser led Kansas with 10 kills against the Cornhuskers and leads the Jayhawks with 2.67 kills per game for the full season. Junior middle blocker Natalie Uhart leads the team with a .272 hitting percentage, while averaging 2.31 kills per game.

Freshman defensive specialist/libero Melissa Manda leads the team with 3.74 digs per game, ranking 10th in the Big 12.

The Jayhawks list five freshmen on their roster. Kaiser and Karina Garlington were in the starting lineup and appeared in every game against Nebraska, as Kansas became the first team to score 25 or more points in consecutive games against the defending national champions this season. Manda also played in all three games against the Cornhuskers, while freshman outside hitter/middle blocker Carol Americo appeared in one game.

Ray Bechard (Fort Hays State, 1980) is 158-138 in his 10th season as head coach of the Jayhawks.

THE A&M-KU ALL-TIME SERIES

A&M leads the all-time series, 20-4, including a perfect 12-0 against the Jayhawks in matches played at G. Rollie. Earlier this season, A&M posted a convincing 30-26, 30-25, 30-19 victory against Kansas at Horejsi Family Athletics Center in Lawrence, Kan., on Oct. 6. The Aggies hit .395, their highest hitting efficiency in a Big 12 match this season, to snap a four-match losing skid at Kansas. The Jayhawks were held to a .218 hitting percentage.

Four A&M players posted double figures in kills. Mary Batis had 14 while hitting at a .500 clip. Sarah Ammerman added 13 kills while hitting .545, and Kelly Stanton and Jillian Phillips contributed 12 and 11 kills, respectively, hitting .370 and .381. A&M finished with 58 kills overall.

Kansas had 47 kills, as Jenna Kaiser was the only Jayhawk to reach double figures with 16. Emily Brown posted a team-high 11 digs for the Jayhawks, who recorded 43 total to A&M’s 41.

A&M QUICK HITS

• Junior middle blocker Jillian Phillips has hit .353 or above in each of the last eight matches. She is hitting a team-leading .387 for the full season. In addition, Phillips is hitting .411 when reaching double figures in kills, which she has done seven times this season.

• Junior Kelsey Bryant has steadily upped her hitting percentage over the last four matches. The right-side hitter is hitting .516 and averaging 2.92 kills per game to help A&M to a 3-1 record during the stretch. Bryant had a season-high 13 kills and no errors in 16 attempts for a career-high .812 hitting percentage in the four-game victory against Colorado on Oct. 13. Her .812 hitting efficiency ranks second in the A&M records for 15-19 attempts, just short of the all-time record of .824 (14k-0e-17ta) set by All-American Sherri Brinkman in 1983.

• Sophomore Sarah Ammerman has reached double figures in kills in a team-leading 17 matches, including each of the last seven Big 12 matches. She has recorded a double-double six times, including 22 kills and a career-high 21 digs against Oklahoma, marking the first 20-20 performance of her career. Ammerman had 21 kills against Texas Tech to mark the second time in a three-match span that she posted 20-plus kills. Last year, Ammerman had two 20-plus kill performances in the entire season.

• Sophomore Mary Batis has earned team-high honors in digs in a team-leading 14 matches. In addition, she has reached double figures in digs in a team-leading 15 matches and also leads the Aggies with 10 double-doubles.

• Senior libero Jen Moore has reached double figures in digs in 13 matches, including in each of the last five matches.

• Freshman Bre Lewis has left the team for personal reasons. The 6-5 right-side hitter from Topeka, Kan., had appeared in only six matches and a total of 10 games this season, posting six kills.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Texas A&M hits the road to take on No. 21 Oklahoma, Saturday at 7 p.m. at McCasland Field House in Norman. The Aggies will try to avenge a Big 12-opening loss to Oklahoma in which A&M let a two-game lead slip away as the Sooners won the last three games.

MATCH TIME CHANGES ANNOUNCED

Texas A&M has announced match time changes for two upcoming home contests. The Aggies’ match against No. 1 Nebraska on Wednesday, Nov. 14 has been changed to a 5:30 start due to the A&M men’s basketball NIT game that is expected to be played later that evening.

In addition, A&M’s match against Missouri on Saturday, Nov. 17 also has been moved up an hour to a 5:30 p.m. first serve to avoid conflict with a men’s basketball game.

BUS TRIP PLANNED FOR TEXAS MATCH

The Maroon Club is sponsoring a bus trip to Austin to see the Aggies take on No. 5 Texas, Friday, Nov. 9. Match time is 6:30 p.m. at Gregory Gym.

The cost is $20 for Maroon Club members and $25 for all other Aggie fans. The price also includes one ticket to the game, a snack bag, a media guide and a chance to win free prizes.

The bus will depart Post Oak Mall Sears Parking lot at 3:30 p.m. Riders must arrive by 3:15 p.m.

For more information or to sign up, contact Marty Walton at 979-846-3024 or mwalton@athletics.tamu.edu to RSVP. This trip will be first come, first serve, so please RSVP as soon as possible.