COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Texas A&M volleyball team (12-14, 7-9 Big 12), which jumped from 10th place to a tie for fifth in the Big 12 standings after going 2-0 last week, looks to keep its winning streak going and its postseason hopes alive as the Aggies take on Oklahoma (11-14, 7-10 Big 12) Wednesday in Norman. First serve is at 7 p.m. at McCasland Field House.
Free audio of the match will be available at AggieAthletics.com with Matt Simon calling the play-by-play. The link to GameTracker also will be available at AggieAthletics.com.
A&M, fighting to finish above .500 in order to be eligible for consideration for the NCAA tournament, entered into a must-win situation last week with six matches remaining in the regular season. The Aggies reduced the magic number to four after knocking off both fourth-place Iowa State and fifth-place Baylor last week. With the wins, A&M moved into a tie with Baylor and Missouri for fifth in the Big 12, only one win behind the Cyclones.
Oklahoma, which had a bye last weekend, is coming off a 3-1 victory against Kansas in Norman last Wednesday. The Sooners, who can finish no better than .500, are in eighth place in the league standings, only a half game behind the three fifth-place teams.
Junior outside hitter Mary Batis leads the Aggies and is ranked ninth in the Big 12 with 3.36 kills per set. She also leads A&M with 3.78 points per set for the full season. Junior outside hitter Sarah Ammerman, who joined Batis in A&M’s 1,000-Career Kills Club with her match-high 16-kill performance against Iowa State last Wednesday, is second on the squad with 3.13 kills and 3.49 points per set.
Senior middle blocker Darla Donaldson, the only A&M player to see action in every set this season, leads the team and is ranked eighth in the Big 12 with 1.02 blocks per set in Big 12 matches only.
Junior setter Kristen Schevikhoven, who missed six starts after suffering a severe ankle injury at Colorado on Sept. 27, has started the last six matches and is averaging 10.40 assists per set since returning to the starting lineup.
Senior Kelsey Bryant, who missed six starts due to a lingering shoulder injury, has played in every set in the last four matches and is averaging a team-high 1.02 blocks per set during that span.
Freshman Kelsey Black has been the designated libero in each of the last six matches and has posted double-figure digs in five of those contests, including a career-high and team-high 23 against Nebraska on Nov. 5 and a team-high 17 against the Cyclones. Black, who leads the Aggies with a 2.68 dig average in Big 12 matches only, is averaging a team-leading 3.48 digs since the recent move to libero.
Junior outside hitter Jennifer Banse has posted double-figure digs in four of the last five matches, including 20 digs against Nebraska, the second time she has reached 20 or more digs in her career. She also had 18 digs in the sweep at Baylor, the most digs by an A&M player in a three-set match this season.
Aggie head coach Laurie Corbelli is 339-158 in her 16th year as head coach of the Aggies and 439-264 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.
SCOUTING THE SOONERS
• Oklahoma has won three of its last five matches -- including a huge 3-2 upset at No. 3 Texas on Oct. 29 -- and is in eighth place in the Big 12.
• The Sooners improved to 6-5 in home matches after defeating Kansas, 3-1, on Nov. 12. Bridget Laplante led the Sooners with 14 kills and also had 25 digs. Caitlin Higgins and Francie Ekwerekwu had 12 kills each against the Jayhawks, and Lacy Barnes led all players with 26 digs. Sarah Freudenrich led in blocks with five.
• The Sooners, who had a bye on Saturday, are likely to have three freshmen, two sophomores and one junior in their starting lineup against the Aggies after losing four starters from last year’s team that went 22-10 and advanced to the NCAA second round.
• OU, which placed 4th in the Big 12 last season with a 13-7 record, was picked to finish tied with Baylor for eighth place in the league standings according to a preseason vote of the Big 12 head coaches.
• OU ranks second in the Big 12 with 15.81 digs per set. Lacy Barnes (3.93 dps) and Bridget Laplante (3.29) are both ranked in the top 10 in the league individual rankings for dig average.
• The Sooners are paced by 5-11 redshirt sophomore middle blocker Francie Ekwerekwu, who leads the team with 2.61 kills per set while hitting .274. Ekwerekwu was named to the preseason All-Big 12 team after earning Big 12 All-Freshman Team honors last year.
• Sophomore 6-1 middle blocker Chrissy Disarro leads OU and is ranked second in the Big 12 with 1.29 blocks per game for the full season.
• Freshman starting setter Brianne Barker (9.05 aps), a two-time Texas Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year, was A&M freshman Kelsey Black’s former teammate at Amarillo High School, and the pair led the Lady Sandies to back-to-back state titles in 2006 and 2007. Aggie freshman Stephanie Wells also was a member of the 2007 state championship team.
• Oklahoma ranks last in the Big 12 for fewest kills allowed (13.57), fewest assists allowed (12.60) and fewest digs allowed (17.23).
• Santiago Restrepo (East Stroudsburg, 1986) is 80-69 in his fifth season as head coach at Oklahoma.
THE A&M-OU ALL-TIME SERIES
• A&M leads the overall series, 30-5, since 1976.
• OU has swept the season series each of the past two seasons.
• A&M leads the series, 12-2, in matches played in Norman, with both of OU’s victories coming in each of the last two seasons.
• A&M is 21-4 against OU in Big 12 matches only, including 10-2 in conference matches played in Norman.
• A&M has not won in Norman since Oct. 8, 2005.
• In the most recent meeting, Mary Batis had a then career-high 22 kills and Jennifer Banse and Kelsey Black posted career-high digs with 24 and 22, respectively, to lift Texas A&M to a 26-28, 25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 15-8 victory over Oklahoma at G. Rollie White Coliseum on Sept. 21. The win snapped the Sooners’ four-match winning streak against the Aggies. Batis had 13 digs to finish with a double-double. Ammerman had 18 kills and 14 digs to also record a double-double, as did setter Kristen Schevikhoven, who posted a season-high 55 assists and 11 digs. Darla Donaldson finished with a career-high 12 kills and led the Aggies with five blocks.
Bridget Laplante led the Sooners with 14 kills, and Caitlin Higgins and Francie Ekwerekwu had 12 kills apiece. Barker and Higgins tied for team-high honors in digs with 19 apiece.
A&M, which committed a season-high 15 service errors, outhit the Sooners, .258 to .175, for the match, posting 70 kills to Oklahoma’s 57.
• A&M has only two more home matches remaining. The Aggies host Colorado on Saturday, Nov. 22 for “Senior Night” and then turn out the lights at G. Rollie White Coliseum on Wednesday, Nov. 26 against Texas Tech. The Aggies will move to Reed Arena, home of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, for at least the next three seasons while the Memorial Student Center is being renovated. The future status of volleyball’s return to the Holler House will be evaluated upon completion of the renovation.
• The Aggies are in a must-win situation in each of the remaining four matches in order to finish above .500, a requirement to be eligible for the NCAA tournament. Matches remaining in order are against Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas Tech and Missouri. Missouri is currently tied with A&M for fifth place in the Big 12. OU is eighth, and Colorado and Tech are ninth and 11th, respectively.
• The Aggies’ final home match against Texas Tech also will mark the 500th match of Laurie Corbelli’s A&M coaching career.
A&M closes out the home portion of the regular season with a two-match home stand starting Saturday, Nov. 22 against Colorado. The Aggies will celebrate “Senior Night” against the Buffaloes and will recognize Kelsey Bryant, Darla Donaldson and Jillian Phillips prior to the match, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum. A&M plays its final at G. Rollie Wednesday, Nov. 26 against Texas Tech. First serve against the Red Raiders is slated for 6:30 p.m.
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