COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M (13-14, 8-9 Big 12) aims to continue its winning ways and keep its postseason hopes alive as the Aggies play host to Colorado (12-14, 6-11 Big 12) Saturday at G. Rollie White Coliseum. A&M will be celebrating “Senior Night”, on Saturday, and Aggie seniors Kelsey Bryant, Darla Donaldson and Jillian Phillips. as well as manager Melissa Thrailkill, will be honored prior to the match, which begins at 6:30 p.m.
In celebration of “Senior Night”, it also will be “Class of 2009 Appreciation Night”, and all new Aggie Ring recipients will be admitted free by showing their ring. Also the Junior Aggie Club will be hosting events for the kids, including an appearance by Reveille at the pre-match carnival.
Stats, video and audio of the match will be available free of charge at AggieAthletics.com.
High stakes are on the line for both A&M and Colorado, as both teams are in a must-win situation for the remaining three matches of the regular season in order to finish above .500, a requirement to be considered for the NCAA tournament. The loser of the A&M-CU match will be eliminated from postseason contention.
Since entering into a must-win situation with six matches left in the regular season, A&M has won its last three, equaling its longest conference winning streak of the season. The wins have been against fourth-place Iowa State, Baylor and most recently a 3-2 victory at Oklahoma, Wednesday in Norman. With the win against the Sooners, the Aggies are now tied with Baylor for fifth place in the Big 12, only one game behind the Cyclones.
Colorado upset then-No. 2 Nebraska on Oct. 29 but has since dropped its last five
matches. On Wednesday, the Buffs dropped a 3-1 decision at Iowa State to drop into a tie with Kansas for ninth place in the Big 12.
Junior outside hitter Mary Batis, who leads the Aggies with 3.35 kills and 2.82 digs per set, needs only six digs against the Buffaloes to reach 1,000 for her career and become the ninth player in A&M history to surpass both 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs. Batis also leads A&M with 3.78 points per set for the full season.
Sarah Ammerman, also a member of A&M’s 1,000 Kills Club, has been clutch throughout A&M’s three-match winning streak. The junior outside hitter, who is hitting .191 and averaging 3.23 kills and 3.59 points per set for the full season, is hitting .294 and averaging 4.59 kills and 4.83 points over the last three matches. She is coming off a 26-kill performance at Oklahoma. The 26 kills is the most by an A&M player this season and one shy of her career high. In addition, Ammerman has moved into 10th in the Big 12 rankings with 3.33 kills per set in conference matches only.
Senior middle blocker Darla Donaldson, the only A&M player to see action in every set this season, is averaging 1.09 blocks per set over the last three matches and leads the team and is ranked eighth in the Big 12 with 1.0 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 seven matches and is averaging 10.31 assists per set since returning to the starting lineup. She is averaging 9.76 assists for the full season.
Senior Kelsey Bryant, who missed six starts due to a lingering shoulder injury, has played in every set in the last five matches and is averaging a team-high 1.0 blocks per set during that span.
Freshman libero Kelsey Black has posted double figures in digs in six of the last seven matches, including in each of the last four matches. In addition, she has posted 20-plus digs in two of the last four matches, including a career-high 24 digs at Oklahoma to tie the team season high. Black, who is averaging 2.56 digs per set for the full season, is averaging a team-leading 4.33 digs during the Aggies’ current three-match winning streak, and she leads the team with 2.86 digs per set in Big 12 matches only.
Junior outside hitter Jennifer Banse also has been critical to the Aggies’ winning streak, averaging 3.92 digs per set and extending her double-digit digs to four matches.
Aggie head coach Laurie Corbelli is 340-158 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 BUFFALOES
• Colorado, 12-14 overall, has dropped to 6-11 and tied for ninth in the Big 12 after losing its last five matches.
• The Buffaloes have not won since upsetting No. 2 Nebraska, 3-1, in Boulder on Oct. 29.
• Most recently, Colorado fell to Iowa State, 21-25, 25-29, 32-30, 25-15, Wednesday in Ames. Emilee Sisco led the Buffs with 18 kills while hitting .326. ISU hit .242 with 70 kills, 81 digs and 12 blocks.
• Colorado, like A&M, must win its remaining three matches to finish above .500 and be in consideration for the NCAA tournament. The Buffs finish out the regular season against Oklahoma in Boulder and at No. 3 Texas.
• Colorado is 3-7 in away matches.
• Senior middle blocker Lauren Schaefer leads the starters and ranks eighth in the Big 12 with a .328 hitting percentage. Senior libero Callie Webster is ranked seventh in the league with 3.90 digs per set. Sophomore middle Schylur Edelman is seventh in the conference with 1.04 blocks per set.
• Colorado returns all six starters plus the libero from last year’s team that went 6-22 and tied Texas Tech for last place in the Big 12 with a 1-19 record.
• The Buffs were picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 according to a preseason vote of the league coaches.
• Pi’i Aiu (Colorado ‘89) is 198-152 in his 12th season as head coach at Colorado.
THE A&M-CU ALL-TIME SERIES
• A&M leads the all-time series, 17-9, since the teams first met in 1994, including 9-3 in matches played at G. Rollie and 16-9 in Big 12 matches only.
• Colorado has won two of its last three matches played in College Station.
• Colorado ended a two-match losing skid to the Aggies when the teams met earlier this season in Boulder. The Buffs overcame a two-set deficit after Aggie starting setter Kristen Schevikhoven went down with a severe ankle injury early in the third set to defeat A&M, 16-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-20, 15-9, at the Coors Events Center on Sept. 27.
• Mary Batis led A&M in kills and digs with 14 and 16, respectively. Darla Donaldson hit .500 and had 13 kills and nine blocks. Sarah Ammerman and Jennifer Banse also reached double figures in digs with 13 and 11, respectively. Alex Buth led the Buffs with 26 kills while hitting at a .429 clip. She also tied for match-high honors with 17 digs. Emilee Sisco added 20 kills for the Buffs. The overall team stats were relatively close for the match, with A&M leading in points, 80-76, and blocks, 13-5. Colorado outhit A&M, .249 to .236 and led in kills, 70-66, assists, 68-56, and digs, 57-54. Both teams had an ace apiece, and Colorado committed seven service errors to A&M’s two.
• A Colorado win will give the Buffs only their second season sweep against the Aggies since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996. Their only other sweep was in 2006. A&M has swept the season series five times, including last year.
• The Aggies 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 takes over G. Rollie during its massive renovation. The future status of volleyball’s return to the Holler House will be evaluated upon completion of the renovation.
• The Aggies’ final home match against Texas Tech also will mark the 500th match of Laurie Corbelli’s A&M coaching career.
• Junior outside hitter Mary Batis became only the 14th player in A&M history to join the 1,000-Kill Club when she posted 11 kills against Kansas on Oct. 25, giving her 1,009 kills for her career. She now has 1,089, ranking 11th in the A&M career records.
• Batis also is closing in on 1,000 career digs, needing only six more. She leads the team with 2.82 digs per set for the full season. While 14 players have reached 1,000 digs during their A&M careers, Batis will become only the ninth player in A&M history to record both 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career.
• The match against No. 3 Nebraska on Nov. 5 was A&M’s league-leading 10th match against a ranked opponent this season. A&M is 1-9 against ranked opponents. Colorado is 1-6 against Top-25 teams with the one victory coming against No. 2 Nebraska on Oct. 29 in Boulder.
• Senior middle blocker Jillian Phillips, who has missed 22 matches with a stress fracture in her lower leg, last appeared in a match at Kansas State on Oct. 29, playing in the last four points in the match. It was her first appearance since Oct. 4 in a match against Missouri. Last year, Phillips played in every match and led the team and ranked seventh in the Big 12 with 1.21 blocks per game in Big 12 matches.
• Freshman libero Kelsey Black had a career-high 24 digs against Oklahoma on Saturday, equaling the A&M team-season high set by Jennifer Banse against Oklahoma on Sept. 21. The 24 digs is the most by an A&M player since former libero Holly Clay had 28 at Texas Tech on Oct. 22, 2005, when the 30-point scoring system was being used.
A&M plays its final home match Wednesday, Nov. 26 against Texas Tech. First serve against the Red Raiders is slated for 6:30 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum. It will be the last match at the Holler House for at least three years.
A&M closes out the regular season Friday, Nov. 28 at Missouri. First serve is at 6:30 p.m. at the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo.
NCAA SELECTION SHOW
The NCAA Selection Show to announce the 64-team field is currently scheduled to air on ESPNU on Sunday, Nov. 30 from 9-9:30 p.m. (CST).