COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M (0-3) makes its season home debut this weekend as the Aggies host the Texas A&M Invitational Friday and Saturday at G. Rollie White Coliseum. No. 16 BYU (3-0), American University (2-1) and Siena College (0-2), all NCAA tournament participants last year, will participate in the round-robin event. (The complete release in pdf format is available at AggieAthletics.com)
Friday, Sept. 5 Siena vs. No. 16 BYU 4:30 p.m. Texas A&M vs. American 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 6 No. 16 BYU vs. American 9:30 a.m. Texas A&M vs. Siena 11:30 p.m. American vs. Siena 4:30 p.m. Texas A&M vs. No. 16 BYU 6:30 p.m.
Live Stats: AggieAthletics.com TV: none Internet Video Streaming: Available free of charge for A&M matches only at AggieAthletics.com Internet Audio: BYU matches only at BYUCougars.com
BYU, which advanced to the NCAA regional finals in 2007, is pitted against Siena in the opening match at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. The Aggies and American follow at 6:30 p.m.
Four matches will take place on an action-packed Saturday, starting with BYU and American at 9:30 a.m. A&M then takes on Siena at 11:30 a.m. After a short break, American and Siena play at 4:30 p.m., and A&M and BYU meet at 6:30 p.m. to close out the tournament.
Tickets can be purchased by calling 888-99-AGGIE or going online at 12thManFoundation.com. Tickets also will be available at the entrance to G. Rollie beginning one hour before each session. General admission tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for students/youth. Reserved seats are $9 each.
A&M, which has not lost a home opener since 1989, is 0-3 after competing in the Bluejay Invitational last weekend at Creighton in Omaha, Neb. The Aggies lost in five sets to No. 21 LSU, and then fell to No. 16 Minnesota, 3-1, and closed out the weekend with a 3-0 setback to Creighton.
Junior outside hitter Mary Batis was named to the all-tournament team after averaging a team-leading 3.42 kills, 4.33 digs and 3.71 points per set.
Senior Jillian Phillips leads A&M with 1.33 blocks per game after posting a career-high 11 blocks in the opener against LSU.
As a team, A&M was outhit, .265 to .152 last weekend, averaging 12.0 kills per set while allowing 14.83 kills per game. In addition, A&M was out-dug, 18.5 to 15.67, out-blocked, 28.0 to 22.0 and out-aced, 1.17 to 0.42.
A&M returns five starters from last year's team that went 21-10 overall and tied for sixth in the Big 12 Conference with a 10-10 record but missed out on an NCAA bid. Senior Kelsey Bryant is a three-year starter on the right side. Junior outside hitters Sarah Ammerman and Batis also have been starters since their freshman seasons. Phillips, who led A&M with 1.20 blocks per game while hitting .334 last season, returns in the middle, and junior setter Kristen Schevikhoven returns after leading A&M to a .272 hitting percentage last year, the second highest hitting percentage in school history.
A&M returns three other letterwinners, senior middle blocker Darla Donaldson, who has stepped in to replace last year's senior starter Kelly Stanton in the lineup, along with junior setter Jola Kelner and junior outside hitter Jennifer Banse, who could easily be starters.
Volleyball Magazine and PrepVolleyball.com Top-50 high school recruits Kelsey Black and Chelsea Ringel, along with freshman Stephanie Minnerly and junior transfer Dylan Faulkner, enrolled at A&M in January and participated in the Aggies' spring drills and went with the team on a two-week training trip through Europe in June. Freshman Stephanie Wells joined the team in August.
Ringel was the designated libero in all 12 sets at the Bluejay Invitational and ranks second on the team with 2.92 digs per set. Black saw action in eight sets and averaged 1.62 kills and 1.5 digs per set.