Aggies Aim for Record Start, Third Consecutive Tourney Title

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COLLEGE STATION -- The 7-0 Texas A&M volleyball team will be aiming to break the school record for the best season start, as well as going for its third consecutive tournament title this weekend as the Aggies participate in the UTSA Classic Friday and Saturday at the Convocation Center at the University of Texas-San Antonio.

With the 3-1 victory at Texas State on Tuesday, the Aggies tied the 1982 team for the best start in school history. A&M will set the record for best start after eight matches should it defeat the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters, who the Aggies face Friday at 3:30 p.m.

A&M, which began the season by winning both the Texas A&M Invitational and the Montana State Holiday Inn Classic, concludes the tournament Saturday, facing Auburn at 3:30 p.m. and UTSA at 7 p.m.

Live scoring of the matches will be available at goutsa.com.

A&M QUICK HITS

• More on the record start: The 2007 Aggies join the 1982 squad as the only A&M teams to win the first seven matches of the season. The 1982 team, under the direction of coach Terry Condon, lost its eighth match to fall to 7-1 after dropping a five-game decision at 19th-ranked Nebraska.

The previous best unbeaten streak at the start of a season by a Laurie Corbelli-coached A&M team was six, accomplished in 2001 and 2005. The 2001 team, the most recent A&M team to advance to the NCAA Elite Eight, had its undefeated streak snapped by ninth-ranked and eventual national champion Stanford, 3-1, in College Station. After opening 6-0, the 2005 team suffered its first loss to No. 6 Florida at the UTSA Dome Rally.

• Alamo City Homecoming: The trip to San Antonio will be a homecoming for three Aggie players: sophomore outside hitters Jenny Banse and Mary Batis and sophomore defensive specialist Stephanie Cadavid. Banse attended Churchill High School and was the 2004 San Antonio Express-News Player of the Year as a junior. Batis, the San Antonio Express-News Player of the Year in 2005, and Cadavid played for Clark High School, where they led the Cougars to the 2003 Texas Class 5A state title. The three joined forces in club ball, competing for Alamo Volleyball Club and winning the national title in the 15s open division at the 2003 Junior Olympics.

• Aggies sweep tournament fields: A&M already has two tournament titles under its belt after cruising through the competition at both the season-opening Texas A&M Invitational and the Montana State Holiday Inn Classic. A&M didn’t drop a game in either tournament to begin the season 6-0.

Mary Batis was named MVP at the Texas A&M Invitational, and Sarah Ammerman was the MVP at the MSU tournament after garnering all-tournament honors at the A&M Invitational.

Senior middle blocker Kelly Stanton joined Batis and Ammerman on the all-tournament team in College Station. Junior middle blocker Jillian Phillips and sophomore setter Kristen Schevikhoven earned all-tournament recognition for the first time in their A&M careers after receiving the honor at the MSU Holiday Inn Classic.

• Recent results: Texas A&M spoiled Texas State’s home season debut, defeating the Bobcats 30-22, 27-30, 30-24, 30-14 Tuesday night in front of 1,611 at Strahan Coliseum. With the win, the Aggies extended their winning streak against the Bobcats to 12. Texas State, 3-21 all-time against the Aggies, fell to 2-3 overall but became the first team to take a game off the Aggies this season.

Mary Batis led the Aggies with 13 kills and 10 digs. Sarah Ammerman added 12 kills, and Kelsey Bryant pitched in 10 while hitting .400. Kelly Stanton tallied eight blocks to spark the Aggies to a 13-4 advantage in blocks, and Kristen Schevikhoven had 41 assists.

Emily Jones, the younger sister of former A&M two-time All-American and Aggie all-time kill leader Laura Jones, led all players with 19 kills, and Amy Weigle added 16 for the Bobcats, who were outhit, .309 to .176 in the match.

• A&M connections: The UTSA athletic department has numerous connections to A&M, starting with athletic director Lynn Hickey, who was the A&M women’s basketball head coach from 1984-94. Hickey, who led the Aggies to their first NCAA tournament appearance, also served as senior associate athletic director/senior woman administrator at A&M before being hired as A.D. at UTSA in 1999.

Roadrunner assistant volleyball coach Carol Price played volleyball at A&M from 2000-03 under current Aggie head coach Laurie Corbelli, and UTSA head volleyball coach Laura (Neugebauer) Groff was an assistant coach at A&M under former Aggie head coach Al Givens in 1991 and 1992.

Roadrunner head baseball coach Sherman Corbett pitched at A&M from 1982-84, and associate head coach Jason Marshall was a standout for the Aggies from 1989-92.

Other former A&M students who now work for UTSA athletics include sports information director Kyle Stephens, A&M Class of 1997, and senior associate athletic director/senior woman administrator Elizabeth Dalton, a 1990 Aggie graduate.

OPPONENT NOTES

Louisiana Tech is 5-4 after sweeping Louisiana-Monroe on Tuesday. Shannon Phillips, a 6-1 senior outside hitter, leads the Lady Techsters with 5.7 kills per game and a .303 hitting percentage and was named the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week. As a team, Tech is outhitting its opponents, .181 to .143.

Auburn is 6-2 after sweeping Kennesaw State on Tuesday. Senior outside hitter Rachel Shanks leads the Tigers with 4.19 kills per game. As a team, Auburn is outhitting its opponents, .232 to .123

UTSA is 3-4 entering a match against Houston Thursday night. Coached by former A&M assistant Laura (Neugebauer) Groff and former A&M player Carol Price, the Roadrunners went 2-1 at the North Florida Labor Day Classic last weekend. Freshman outside hitter Jessica Rowland is a two-time all-tournament selection and is averaging a team-high 3.68 kills per game.

THE ALL-TIME SERIES

A&M and Louisiana Tech will be meeting for the first time.

A&M is 1-0 against Auburn, having defeated the Tigers 16-14, 15-10, 16-14 on Sept. 1, 1996, at the University Park Inn Classic in Fort Collins, Colo.

The Aggies are 6-0 against UTSA. The teams last met August, 30, 2002, in College Station, where A&M swept the Roadrunners for the fifth time in six meetings.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

The Aggies open Big 12 Conference play Wednesday, Sept. 12 at home against Oklahoma. Match time is 6:30 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum.

The Sooners swept the series against A&M last year en route to an all-time best second place finish in the league.

It will be Fish Camp Night at G. Rollie when the Aggies host the Sooners. Anyone wearing their Fish Camp T-shirt will be admitted free.