COLLEGE STATION -- Texas A&M (9-11, 4-5 Big 12) begins the second half of the Big 12 Conference schedule Saturday as the Aggies play host to the Kansas Jayhawks (9-10, 3-7 Big 12). First serve is at 3 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum.
Several promotions will be held for the match. It will be “Volleyball Camper Appreciation Day,” and children wearing a 2008 A&M volleyball camp T-shirt will be admitted free. Any fans wearing a costume also will receive free admission. Prizes will be awarded for the best student costumes, including a $250 book scholarship from Sterling C. Evans Library for use at the MSC Bookstore.
In addition, the volleyball team will hold its first-ever “Dig for the Cure” match. The Aggies will join a nationwide initiative to help raise money and awareness of breast cancer. Fans not wearing costumes are encouraged to wear pink to show support for breast cancer awareness. The team will be wearing pink socks, and head coach Laurie Corbelli will be wearing a special-edition pink training jersey, which will be signed and auctioned off. Proceeds will benefit breast cancer awareness and research.
The Aggies are looking to snap a three-match losing skid and keep the Jayhawks winless in College Station. A&M is tied with Colorado and Missouri for sixth place in the Big 12 after falling at No. 2 Nebraska, 3-0, Wednesday in Lincoln.
Kansas, which has never won in 13 visits to G. Rollie, is coming off a 3-0 loss at Baylor. The Jayhawks are in 10th place in the Big 12 standings.
Junior outside hitter Mary Batis needs only two kills to reach 1,000 for her career. The San Antonio native, who will become the 14th player in A&M history to reach the 1,000-kill milestone, leads the Aggies and ranks ninth in the Big 12 with 3.39 kills per set for the full season. Batis also leads the team and ranks 10th in the league with 3.77 points per set. In addition, Batis is A&M’s dig leader with 2.77 per set for the full season.
Junior outside hitter Sarah Ammerman leads the team with 0.21 aces per set and ranks second on the squad with 3.07 kills and 3.47 points per set.
Senior middle blocker Darla Donaldson leads the team and is ranked third in the Big 12 with 1.17 blocks per set in Big 12 matches only. Junior setter Jola Kelner has started the last six matches in place of Kristen Schevikhoven, who has been out with an ankle injury suffered at Colorado. Schevikhoven played in two sets at Nebraska. Senior middle blocker Kelsey Bryant, who missed two matches following the Colorado match with a shoulder injury, appeared in two sets against Baylor but did not play at Nebraska. Senior middle blocker Jillian Phillips, the team’s leading blocker from last year, remains out indefinitely with a stress fracture.
SCOUTING THE JAYHAWKS
• Kansas is 9-10 overall and in 10th place in the Big 12 standings with a 3-7 record in conference matches only.
• KU’s conference wins have been against Iowa State, a team the Aggies lost to in the conference season opener, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma.
• The Jayhawks, who are 2-5 in away matches, including 1-4 in Big 12 road matches, is coming off a 3-0 loss at Baylor on Wednesday. Baylor outhit the Jayhawks, .427 to .245. Karina Garlington led Kansas with 10 kills, marking the 16th consecutive match she reached double figures in kills.
• Garlington ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 3.88 kills per set and fifth with 4.44 points per set for the full season. In Big 12 matches only, she ranks fourth with 3.74 kills and fifth with 4.19 points per set. Savannah Noyes ranks fifth in the league with a .365 hitting percentage in Big 12 matches only.
• Garlington and A&M’s Kristen Schevikhoven and Sarah Ammerman were teammates at Front Range Volleyball Club and won the 2006 AAU National Championship.
• Kansas’ three-set match at Baylor was the Jayhawks’ first three-set contest in Big 12 action this season.
• Ray Bechard (Fort Hays State ‘80) is 170-153 in his 11th season as head coach of the Jayhawks.
THE A&M-KANSAS ALL-TIME SERIES
• A&M leads the all-time series, 22-4, since the teams first met in 1990, including 21-4 in Big 12 matches only and 13-0 in matches played in College Station.
• A&M, which swept the season series last year, has won the last four meetings, including a 25-20, 25-19, 16-25, 19-25, 15-8 victory in Lawrence on Oct. 8.
• In the most recent meeting, four Aggies reached double figures in kills as A&M posted a .311 hitting percentage, its second highest efficiency during the first half of Big 12 play this season. Sarah Ammerman led the Aggies with 17 kills, and Jennifer Banse finished with a career-high 15 kills. Darla Donaldson added 12 kills, one shy of equaling her career high, and Mary Batis also pitched in 12 kills for the Aggies.
Donaldson led A&M with eight blocks as A&M outblocked the Jayhawks15-5. Jola Kelner, starting her second match of the season in place of injured setter Kristen Schevikhoven, had 52 assists, and libero Chelsea Ringel led all players with 14 digs.
Jenna Kaiser led the Jayhawks with 18 kills and Garlington finished with 15.
• Junior outside hitter Mary Batis needs only two kills to reach 1,000 for her career and become the 14th player in A&M history to join the 1,000-Kill Club. The most recent member was Laura Jones (2002-05), who is A&M’s all-time kill leader with 2,064.
• Junior outside hitter Sarah Ammerman also is nearing the 1,000-kill mark, needing 60 more to reach the milestone. She is second on the team with 3.07 kills per set.
• Batis also is closing in on 1,000 career digs, needing only 89 more. She leads the team with 2.77 digs per set for the full season. Only nine players have posted both 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in their A&M careers.
• Senior middle blocker Darla Donaldson, the only A&M player to have played in every set this season, ranks third in the Big 12 with 1.17 blocks per set in conference matches only. In addition, she is hitting .329 to rank 10th in the league in Big 12 matches only.
• A&M is in the midst of its toughest stretch of the schedule this season. On Oct. 15, A&M played No. 3 Texas, the first of five ranked opponents in a string of seven matches for the Aggies. Included in the seven-match stretch are two matches apiece against No. 2 Nebraska and No. 3 Texas, in addition to a match at No. 16 Kansas State, as well as Baylor, which is receiving votes and defeated the Aggies, 3-1.
• A&M ranks in the top five in the Big 12 for fewest kills allowed (12.45), fewest assists allowed (11.43)and fewest digs allowed (13.32) per set in Big 12 matches only.
• Freshman libero Chelsea Ringel has posted double-digit digs in each of the last six matches. She has recorded double figures in digs in eight matches total, tying Mary Batis for most double-figure dig matches this season. Ringel leads the Aggies with 3.03 digs per set in Big 12 matches only and is second on the team with a 2.56 average for the full season. She is averaging 3.38 digs per set over the last six matches.
• Freshman middle blocker Stephanie Wells, who had appeared in only four sets prior to the Kansas match in Lawrence on Oct. 8, drew the first start of her career against the Jayhawks and responded with four blocks, including one solo. Wells, who also started against Texas Tech, Baylor and Nebraska in place of the injured Kelsey Bryant and played in one set against Texas, had a career-high six kills and hit .556 against the No. 2-ranked Huskers.
• A&M held Texas Tech to a .029 hitting percentage in Lubbock on Oct. 11, the lowest by an A&M Big 12 opponent since the Aggies held Iowa State to a -.016 hitting efficiency on Sept. 27, 2002. Meanwhile, the Aggies themselves hit a season-high .387 against the Lady Raiders, the highest by an A&M team since the Aggies hit .402 at Kansas on Oct. 6, 2007, a span of 31 matches.
• In spite of injury-plagued A&M’s makeshift lineup against Kansas, the Aggies hit .311, the Aggies’ highest hitting percentage in a five-set Big 12 match since hitting .378 at Missouri on Nov. 26, 2005. In addition, A&M posted 15 blocks, one shy of its season high, which the Aggies set against Missouri in the previous match.
• Junior outside hitters Mary Batis and Sarah Ammerman each surpassed 1,000 career points earlier this season. Batis, who leads the team and ranks 10th in the Big 12 with 3.77 points per set, surpassed 1,000 points for her career after posting 24.5 points against Oklahoma on Sept. 21. She enters the Kansas match with 1,126 total points, needing nine points to pass Christi Hahn (2003-06) for third place in the career records.
Ammerman recorded 15.5 points against Missouri on Oct. 4 to surpass 1,000 points. Ammerman, who is second on the team with 3.47 points per set and now has 1076.5 for her career, is the fifth A&M player to surpass the milestone since rally scoring began in 2001. Laura Jones (2002-05) is A&M’s all-time career leader with 2,346.5 points.
• Jennifer Banse’s career-high 24 digs against Oklahoma on Sept. 21 marked the most digs in a match by an A&M player since former libero Holly Clay had 28 at Texas Tech on Oct. 22, 2005. The junior outside hitter ranks second on the team with 2.26 digs per set in Big 12 matches only and is third on the team with 2.24 digs per set for the full season.
• A&M’s win against No. 16 BYU on Sept. 6 was the Aggies’ highest ranked victory since upsetting No. 9 Texas on Oct. 16, 2004, in College Station. Prior to the BYU match, A&M’s most recent win against a ranked opponent was against No. 22 Minnesota on Sept. 2, 2006, at the Billiken Invitational in Saint Louis.
• A&M played four matches against ranked teams during the pre-conference schedule and went 1-3 against those teams. No other Big 12 team played more than three matches against a ranked opponent during the pre-conference season. A&M is now 1-6 against ranked opponents and until Iowa State’s upset against No. 13 Kansas State on Wednesday was the only Big 12 team besides Nebraska and Texas to have a victory against a Top 25 team.
• Aggie head coach Laurie Corbelli is 336-155 in her 16th year as head coach of the Aggies and 436-260 in the 23rd season of her head coaching career. She is A&M’s winningest coach in terms of total victories and ranks second for winning percentage.
A&M is on the road for both matches next week, taking on No. 13 Kansas State in Manhattan on Wednesday and No. 3 Texas Saturday in Austin. The match against the Wildcats begins at 7 p.m. at Ahearn Field House and will be televised live by FSNKC. The match against the Longhorns is at 6:30 p.m. at Gregory Gym in Austin.
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