COLLEGE STATION, Texas- Sophomore outside hitter Mary Batis was named MVP at the season-opening Texas A&M Invitational after leading the Aggies to a 3-0 record and the tournament title this weekend.
The Aggies, who did not drop a game in the entire tournament, capped the weekend and the championship by defeating Prairie View A&M, 30-13, 30-22, 30-19, in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 2,111 this evening at G. Rollie White Coliseum. A&M had swept Centenary earlier in the day and defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 3-0, in the opener on Friday.
“All of these matches are really kind of building on something for preparation for the Big 12 and beyond,” A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. “We are training ourselves and working ourselves to be prepared to play the best team. We are really playing against ourselves, and we’re challenging ourselves to be the best we can.”
Batis showed off her complete-game skills throughout the weekend to take top tournament honors, averaging 2.88 kills per game while hitting at a .415 clip and leading the team with 0.62 aces and 3.38 digs per game.
Kelly Stanton and Ammerman, who had a match-high 17 kills with no errors in 30 attempts and a career-high .567 hitting percentage while playing only two games against the Panthers, joined Batis on the all-tournament team.
The Aggies hit .395 and held Prairie View to a .073 hitting percentage for the match. A&M also outblocked the Panthers, 8.5 to 1.5.
A&M scored the first four points of the match and continued to build upon its lead in the opening frame. The Aggies reeled off multiple scoring runs throughout the game and outhit the Panthers, .441 to -.059 to race away to a 30-13 win.
Jenny Banse replaced Ammerman in the second game and tallied seven of her career-high 10 kills in the stanza as the Aggies won the game, 30-22 and took a 2-0 lead going into the break.
There were five ties early in the third game before A&M began to pull away. The teams were tied for the final time at 6-6 when Banse gave the Aggies the lead for good with a kill. The Panthers stayed within striking range at 15-14 but were unable to contain Ammerman, who had nine kills in the final game. Ammerman and the Aggies slowly began to pull away. Ahead 27-18, A&M went on a three-point run to close out the match with Banse putting down the clinching kill.
Setters Kristen Schevikhoven and Jola Kelner posted 29 and 18 assists respectively as the Aggies ran a 6-2 offense for the majority of the match.
“All the outsides have been connecting well with both setters,” Corbelli said, “and that allows the hitters to get hot.”
Batis led the team with nine digs, and Kelsey Bryant, Jen Moore and Stephanie Cadavid added eight apiece. Stanton took top honors in blocks with four.
Ashley Campbell led the Panthers with eight kills.
The Aggies travel to Bozeman, Mont., next weekend to participate in the Montana State Holiday Inn Classic. A&M opens the tournament Friday against Utah State at 5:30 p.m. (CDT). A&M takes on Washington State Saturday at 11 a.m. and then concludes the tournament against the host Bobcats Saturday at 8 p.m.
Texas A&M Invitational All-Tournament Team:
Ashlee Freeman, Centenary
Laura de la Fuente, Prairie View A&M
Lauren Paslay, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Jordan Wagner, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Kelly Stanton, Texas A&M
Sarah Ammerman, Texas A&M
Tournament MVP: Mary Batis, Texas A&M
Tournament Team Standings:
1. Texas A&M 3-0
2. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 2-1
3. Prairie View A&M 1-2
4. Centenary 0-3