Aggies Battle No. 3 Texas in State Farm Lone Star Showdown

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COLLEGE STATION -- Texas A&M (18-8, 7-8 big 12) clashes with third-ranked and Big 12 Conference co-leader Texas (19-3, 14-1 Big 12) in the second edition of the State Farm Lone Star Showdown Friday in Austin. First serve is at 6:30 p.m. at Gregory Gym.

A&M, winner of five of its last seven matches, is facing its second of three consecutive Top 15 opponents when the Aggies take on the Longhorns. On Wednesday, the Aggies, who are tied with Missouri for sixth place in the conference standings, pushed No. 12 Kansas State to five games but came up short in a 30-19, 30-27, 30-32, 28-30, 15-10 loss to the Wildcats at Ahearn Field House in Manhattan, Kan.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Aggies. After the Texas match, A&M hosts the other Big 12 co-leader, Nebraska, the defending national champion and the No. 2-ranked team in the country.

Texas enters the match riding a 15-match winning streak, including a school-record nine straight sweeps after defeating Kansas, 30-20, 30-19, 30-18, in Lawrence on Wednesday.

LOOKING AT THE AGGIES

With an 18-8 record, Texas A&M has already surpassed its total number of victories in each of the last two seasons and needs just one more win to equal the number of wins tallied by the 2004 team, which went 19-9, advanced to the NCAA Second Round and ranked No. 20 in the final rankings. The Aggies, who are 7-8 in Big 12 matches, also have easily surpassed their five total conference victories last season.

Setter Kristen Schevikhoven, who transferred after one year at the University of Northern Colorado, has made a huge impact on the Aggies’ success this season. The 5-9 sophomore directs the A&M offense, which entered the week ranked 11th in the nation and third in the Big 12 with a .281 hitting efficiency for the full season.

Middle blockers Kelly Stanton and Jillian Phillips are hitting a team-leading .374 and .365, respectively, for the full season, ranking sixth and seventh in the Big 12. Right-side hitter Kelsey Bryant also is above the .300 mark, as she is hitting .318 for the full season.

Outside hitter Sarah Ammerman leads A&M and ranks sixth in the Big 12 with 4.35 kills per game in conference matches. She also is a threat from the service line, where she averages 0.44 aces per league game, ranking second in the conference.

Outside hitter Mary Batis is the A&M leader in digs with 3.62 per game and ranks second on the team with 3.38 kills and 3.99 points per game for the full season. Libero Jen Moore is averaging 3.11 digs per game.

As a team, A&M is listed third in the Big 12 in digs (15.98), fourth in hitting percentage (.238) and aces (1.29) per game and eighth in opponent hitting percentage (.247) in conference games only.

LOOKING AT THE LONGHORNS

Texas entered the week ranked No. 1 in the nation with a .338 hitting percentage. The Longhorns upped their season hitting percentage to .340 after out-hitting Kansas, .408 to -.091, in their record-setting ninth consecutive sweep.

Texas also ranked fourth in the country in assists (16.12), seventh in kills (17.25) and ninth in blocks (3.32) per game in the national statistics released on Tuesday.

Individually, senior setter Michelle Moriarty entered the week ranked fourth in the nation with 14.0 assists per game, and senior middle blocker Brandy McGee’s .441 hitting percentage also ranks fourth nationally.

Juliann Faucette, a candidate for National Freshman Player of the Year, leads the Longhorns and is ranked 25th in the country with 4.8 kills per game, and sophomore outside hitter Destinee Hooker leads the Horns with 5.67 points per game for the full season.

Junior middle blocker Lauren Paolini leads the Horns and ranks third in the Big 12 with 1.38 blocks per game.

Texas is 10-0 in home matches this season. Pepperdine is the only team to have taken a game off the Longhorns at Gregory this season.

Texas’ only three losses were two season-opening losses at then-No. 3 Penn State, and a 3-0 loss at then-No. 1 Nebraska to begin Big 12 play. Ashley Engle did not play in any of the three losses, and Destinee Hooker to not play at Nebraska.

Jerritt Elliott (Cal State Northridge “91) is 148-57 in his seventh season as head coach of the Longhorns.

THE A&M-TEXAS ALL-TIME SERIES

Texas has won the last six matches against A&M, including a 3-0 victory in College Station on Oct. 3. With the victory, Texas improved its record to 56-22 in the series since 1976 and improved to 13-10 in Big 12 matches only against A&M.

Texas is 29-4 against A&M in matches played in Austin. A&M has not won in the Capital City since Oct. 6, 2001.

The Aggies’ most recent victory against the Longhorns was Oct. 16, 2004, in College Station.

In the most recent meeting, Texas topped A&M, 30-25, 30-28, 30-25, on Oct. 3, 2007 in the year’s first edition of the State Farm Lone Star Showdown at G. Rollie White Coliseum. A crowd of 3,382 saw Texas’ National Freshman of the Year candidate Juliann Faucette lead all players with 20 kills while hitting .395. Lauren Paolini and Destinee Hooker added 13 kills apiece as Texas won its fifth consecutive match.

Sarah Ammerman led A&M with 17 kills, and Mary Batis and Jillian Phillips added 13 and 12, respectively.

As a team, Texas totaled 63 kills and hit .352 for the match. A&M had 46 kills and was held to a .238 hitting percentage, although A&M outblocked the Longhorns, 10-6.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Texas A&M returns home Wednesday to play host to defending national champion Nebraska at G. Rollie White Coliseum. The start time has been moved up to 5:30 p.m. because of a men’s home basketball later that evening.

Nebraska, currently ranked No. 2 in the nation and tied with Texas for the Big 12 lead, is the third consecutive Top 15 opponent for the Aggies.

The Huskers defeated A&M, 3-0, in Lincoln on Sept. 22. It marked Nebraska’s 16th consecutive victory against A&M, which has not defeated the Huskers since Oct. 2, 1999, in College Station.