COLLEGE STATION - Texas A&M aims to avenge a Big 12 Conference opening loss to Oklahoma when the Aggies face a rematch against the 21st-ranked Sooners Saturday in Norman, Okla. First serve is slated for 7 p.m. at McCasland Field House.
A&M (17-6, 6-6 Big 12), which blew a two-game lead against Oklahoma when the teams met Sept. 12 in College Station, has been on a roll as of late, having won its last four matches and five of its last six. Included in that stretch are three Big 12 victories, which have lifted A&M to sixth place in the league standings. Most recently, A&M disposed of Kansas, 3-0 (30-25, 30-27, 30-21), Wednesday at G. Rollie White Coliseum.
No. 21 Oklahoma (17-5, 9-3 Big 12) sits in third place in the Big 12, two games behind co-leaders Nebraska and Texas and one game ahead of Kansas State. The Sooners, who sport a 7-2 home record, are riding a two-match winning streak, having defeated both No. 14 Kansas State and Colorado, 3-1.
Last year, Oklahoma had its highest finish ever in the Big 12, placing second with a 17-3 record.
LOOKING AT THE AGGIES
With a 6-6 league mark, Texas A&M has already surpassed its total number of Big 12 wins last year (5). A&M also has surpassed the 2006 team (12-16, 5-15 Big 12) for total victories in the full season with a 17-6 overall record. With only eight matches remaining, A&M will finish above .500 and be eligible for the NCAA tournament. Also, A&M is riding a three-match Big 12 winning streak for the first time since 2005.
Sarah Ammerman, a sophomore outside hitter, leads A&M and ranks seventh in the Big 12 with 4.0 kills per game. She also averages team highs of 0.37 aces and 4.60 points per game, ranking sixth and eighth, respectively, in the league
Mary Batis, also a sophomore outside hitter, is the A&M leader in digs with 3.64 and ranks second on the team with 3.39 kills and 4.04 points per game.
Senior middle Kelly Stanton leads the Aggies and is third in the Big 12 with a .381 hitting percentage for the full season. Junior middle blocker Jillian Phillips ranks fifth in the Big 12 with a .372 hitting efficiency and also is fifth in the league with 1.32 blocks per game for the full season. Phillips ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 1.41 blocks per game in conference games only.
Sophomore setter Kristen Schevikhoven is averaging 11.45 assists per game and directs an offense that entered the week ranked eighth in the nation with a .285 hitting efficiency.
In Big 12 matches only, A&M ranks third in the league in aces per game (1.33), fourth in hitting percentage (.241) and digs per game (15.81), and fifth in kills (15.60) and assists (14.26) per game. In addition, A&M ranks sixth in blocks per game (2.86).
LOOKING AT THE SOONERS
Oklahoma (17-5, 9-3 Big 12) holds down third place in the Big 12 standings after having defeated No. 14 Kansas State and Colorado by identical 3-1 scores in the Sooners’ last two outings. The two wins followed back-to-back three-game losses to Big 12 co-leaders No. 1 Nebraska and No. 6 Texas, marking the only two home losses OU has suffered in nine matches at the McCasland Field House this season. The Sooners’ only other Big 12 loss was a narrow five-game setback at Missouri on Sept. 29.
Three Sooners are averaging more than three kills per game in the full season. Senior outside hitter Mariana Blum leads the team with 3.40 kills per game, and sophomore outside hitter Bridget Laplante and senior outside hitter Sarah Weiland are averaging 3.25 and 3.15 kills per game, respectively. Weiland also leads the team with a .290 hitting percentage.
Middle blocker Anna Stadel, one of five seniors on the squad, averages a team-best 1.05 blocks per game, and senior setter Julie Chester is dishing out an average of 12.68 assists per game, ranking fourth in the Big 12. Senior libero Hannah Sharp leads the Sooners and ranks seventh in the conference with 3.95 digs per game.
In conference play only, the Sooners have compiled a 9-3 mark despite opponents posting a higher hitting percentage (.222 to .185), kill average (15.12 to 14.18), assist average (14.34 to 13.24), dig average (16.02 to 15.02) and blocking average (3.02 to 2.19).
In their most recent outing, the Sooners were outhit, .243 to .186 by Colorado, and also posted fewer kills (67-61), fewer blocks (11-9), fewer assists (61-54) and fewer points (83-78). The only positive categories OU led in were aces (8-5) and digs (68-63). Colorado did commit 18 service errors to OU’s 7.
Five of OU’s conference matches have been decided in five games, with the Sooners winning four of them, including a victory at A&M after dropping the first two games.
THE A&M-OU ALL-TIME SERIES
A&M leads OU, 29-4 since 1976, including 20-3 in Big 12 matches, as well as 12-1 in matches played in Norman. The Sooners, however, have won the last three meetings, including a 3-2 come-from-behind victory in College Station in the Big 12 season opener on Sept. 12.
A&M entered the Sept. 12 match undefeated and riding its best start in school history with a 10-0 record, but the Sooners ended the Aggies’ streak with a 26-30, 26-30, 30-27, 30-24, 15-13 victory in front of 2,363 boisterous fans at G. Rollie White Coliseum.
A&M QUICK HITS
• A&M, which entered the week ranked eighth in the nation with a .285 hitting percentage, has hit above .300 in each of its last four matches for a combined .327 hitting efficiency. Opponents have been held to a combined .156 hitting efficiency.
• Junior Kelsey Bryant has steadily upped her hitting percentage over the last five matches. The right-side hitter is hitting .500 and averaging 2.88 kills per game to help A&M to a 4-1 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 18 matches, including each of the last eight Big 12 matches. She has recorded a double-double seven 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 15 matches. In addition, she has reached double figures in digs in a team-leading 16 matches and also leads the Aggies with 11 double-doubles.
Texas A&M has a midweek bye and then returns home Saturday, Nov. 3 to play host to the Iowa State Cyclones. Match time is tentatively set for 6:30 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum.
MATCH TIME CHANGES ANNOUNCED
Texas A&M has announced match time changes for two upcoming home contests that were conflicting with men’s basketball games. The Aggies’ match against No. 1 Nebraska on Wednesday, Nov. 14 has been changed to a 5:30 start, and 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. This trip will be first come, first serve, so please RSVP as soon as possible.