COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M plays host to the Mississippi State Bulldogs Friday at Reed Arena. First serve is slated for 6 p.m. In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the match will be A&M’s annual “Dig Pink” match, and anyone wearing pink can purchase a ticket for only $3.
The Aggies (9-6, 1-3 SEC) will be aiming to snap a three-match losing skid after suffering a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to LSU Wednesday at Reed. A&M won the first two sets after outhitting the Tigers, .363 to .087, but LSU gained the momentum after the intermission, outhitting A&M .356 to .103 down the stretch to close out a 20-25, 16-25, 25-19, 25-18, 15-10 come-from-behind victory.
Mississippi State (9-7, 0-2 SEC) has not played since Sept. 29, when the Bulldogs fell to Arkansas, 3-0, in Starkville, Miss. The Bulldogs opened SEC action with a 3-0 loss to No. 3 Florida on Sept. 27.
· Dig Pink: anyone wearing pink can purchase a ticket for only $3
· Members of Junior Aggie Club get in free for all home matches
· Regular-price individual match tickets are $9 for reserve seating, $7 for adult general admission and $4 for youth, high school age and under. A&M students without a sports pass also can purchase tickets for $4 each. Tickets may be purchased at Reed Arena or in advance at 12thManFoundation.com.
· Season ticket prices start as low as $65 with three easy and convenient ways to purchase: 1) online, 24 hours a day at tickets.12thmanfoundation.com; 2) by phone by calling 979-845-2311 or toll free at 1-888-99-AGGIE; or 3) in person at the ticket office located inside the Zone at the north end of Kyle Field. Ticket office hours of operation are 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on business days.
FOLLOW THE ACTION:
· Live video of A&M non-televised home matches will be available on AggieAthletics.com to 12th Man TV subscribers.
· Free audio of all A&M home matches will be provided free with Chelsea Reber and Casey Richardson calling the action.
· Live stats will be available on AggieAthletics.com
· Updates and other information can be found by following AggieVolleyball on Twitter.com
Texas A&M returns to the road next weekend, taking on Alabama on Friday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in Tuscaloosa and facing Auburn, Sunday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. in Auburn, Ala.
TEXAS A&M TEAM NOTES:
· Texas A&M ranks third in the SEC in kills (14.29), assists (13.25) and digs (16.15) per set for the full season.
· Five starters are averaging at least 2.45 points per set: Sierra Patrick (3.70 pps); Angela Lowak (3.46 pps); Shelby Sullivan (3.15 pps); Jazzmin Babers (2.68 pps); and Allie Sawatzky (2.46 pps).
· Texas A&M leads its opponents in all positive statistical averages through the first 15 matches:
· A&M fell to LSU despite leading the Tigers in kills, 64-59. It was the first time in 10 matches this season that A&M lost a match when leading its opponent in kills. It also was the first time A&M suffered a loss after winning the second set.
· A&M is coming off a match in which it had season highs in both attack errors (30) and service errors (9) against LSU.
· A&M has lost three consecutive matches for the first time this season and the second time in SEC play. Last year, A&M suffered consecutive losses to Kentucky, Tennessee and No. 11 Florida in College Station.
· A&M has used eight different starting lineups in 15 matches. Only senior setter Allie Sawatzky, sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan and redshirt freshman Jazzmin Babers have started every match. Senior Kelsey Kinley has started off every match as the designated libero.
· In the season opener against South Dakota State, five of six A&M players were making the first start of their careers, including freshman outside hitter Emily Hardesty and redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers.
· Texas A&M won two of three pre-conference tournaments, winning the UTSA Classic with a 3-0 mark and winning its own Texas A&M Invitational. The Aggies, No. 7 Michigan and No. 16 Florida State all finished with 2-1 records in College Station, but A&M was awarded the trophy based on the sets won-lost ratio tiebreaker. A&M placed second at the season-opening UND Classic, won by No. 15 Iowa State.
· Sophomores and freshmen have accounted for 80 percent of A&M’s total kills (627 of 786), 94 percent or 30 of 32 of the team’s solo blocks and 158 of 181 (87 percent) of the team’s block assists. The underclassmen also are responsible for 769 of 976.5 (79 percent) of A&M’s total points.
· Eleven of A&M’s 29 scheduled matches will be against teams that appeared in the 2012 NCAA Championship, including Michigan and Florida State, who reached the Final Four in 2012 and 2011, respectively.
· Texas A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli returns two starters and eight other letterwinners from last year’s team that won the SEC West with a 16-4 record and was 25-6 overall with a No. 17 final RPI after advancing to the NCAA second round, where the Aggies fell to eventual national champion Texas. She also welcomes two redshirt freshmen and four true freshmen.
· A&M, the 2012 SEC Western Division Champion, was picked to win the SEC West again this year, along with LSU, according to a preseason vote of the league’s head coaches. However, in a meeting held in late August, the SEC athletics directors passed a measure, effective immediately, to recognize and award divisional champions in the sports of football and baseball only.
AGGIE PLAYER Notes:
· Senior setter Allie Sawatzky leads the SEC with four triple doubles. Arkansas setter Raymariely Santos has one triple-double and is the only other SEC player to register a triple-double this season. Sawatzky is tied for the league-lead with 11 double-doubles.
· Sawatzky, a 6-2 lefty, has recorded 10 or more kills seven times over the last 10 matches and is hitting a combined .457 when posting 10 or more kills [77 kills, 8 errors, 151 attempts]. She is hitting .314 for the season, ranking second on the team and 16th in the SEC, while averaging 2.05 kills per set. In addition, she is averaging 9.76 assists.
· Sawatzky has started every match of her career (107). She had 40 assists against South Carolina on Sunday, giving her 3,929 assists for her career and moving her into third place in the A&M records, surpassing Yvonne Van Brandt, who had 3,894 assists from 1986-89.
· Middle blocker Shelby Sullivan has hit .368 or higher with 19 attacks in each of the last four matches and has tallied double-figure kills in each of the last two matches. She leads the team and is 15th in the SEC with a .315 hitting percentage for the full season.
· Babers is third in the SEC with 1.25 blocks per set for the full season. The 6-2 redshirt freshman has recorded nine or more blocks in a match three times this season.
· Babers, the SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 16, had a career-high 11 blocks against No. 7 Michigan (Sept. 13). That is the most blocks by an A&M freshman since Melissa Munsch collected 13 against Colorado on Oct. 24, 2001
· Freshman Victoria Arenas made her A&M libero debut in the third set against South Carolina. For the first point of the set, Arenas dug a hard-driven ball that then went over the net and fell in for a kill. It was the first kill of her A&M career. Arenas has appeared in 12 matches overall, starting four, and in 35 sets. She is averaging 1.71 digs per set.
· Sophomore Sierra Patrick has posted double-figure kills in six of her last seven matches and in a team-leading 10 matches overall. Patrick, who missed the Colorado State match to attend a funeral, is ninth in the SEC with 3.44 kills per set and 12th with 3.70 points per set, having seen action on both the left and right sides.
· Patrick, a two-time all-tournament selection in 2013, has posted 20 or more kills in a team-leading three matches this season.
· Sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak has posted double-figure kills in nine matches overall, including each of the last two, and ranks 16th in the SEC with 3.12 kills per set and 15th with 3.46 points per set.
· Senior libero Kelsey Kinley ranks eighth in the SEC with 3.83 digs per set. The College Station native has tallied 10 or more digs in 12 of 15 matches, including a career-high and team season-high 23 in a 3-1 victory at UTSA.
· Redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers has started every match this season and is one of four freshmen on the team to start a match. Outside hitter Emily Hardesty has started six matches, and setter/opposite hitter Kaysie Shebeneck has started five of the last seven matches. In addition, defensive specialist/libero Victoria Arenas has started four matches. Arenas, Babers and Shebeneck all started against Michigan, marking the first time A&M had three freshmen in the starting lineup this season. The trio also was in the starting lineup at Colorado State.
SCOUTING MISSISSIPPI STATE:
· Mississippi State is 9-7 overall, including 0-2 in SEC matches. The Bulldogs also are 0-2 in road matches.
· The Bulldogs finished non-conference play with a 9-5 record, marking the most non-conference wins in the five years with Jenny Hazelwood as head coach.
· The Bulldogs suffered 3-0 sweeps to both No. 3 Florida and Arkansas to begin SEC play. They have not played since falling to the Razorbacks on Sept. 29.
· The loss to Arkansas marked the Bulldogs’ 22nd consecutive conference loss.
· The Bulldogs are making their first conference road trip of the year and will be playing in only their third true road match of the season when they take on the Aggies. State lost at both Baylor and Belmont in its only other road contests.
· Sophomore libero Roxy McVey is second in the SEC and ninth in the country with 5.60 digs per set, which is just off her conference-record pace of 5.64 set last year.
· Freshman opposite hitter Kimmy Gardiner is fourth in the league with 3.98 kills and 4.49 points per set for the full season.
· As a team, State is hitting .220 and averaging 13.79 kills, 12.81 assists, 1.74 aces, 17.40 digs and 1.63 blocks per set. Opponents are hitting .185 and averaging 11.50 kills, 10.86 assists, 15.74 digs and 2.23 blocks per set for the full season.
· Jenny Hazelwood (Mississippi State, 2000) is 45-91 in her fifth season as head coach of the Bulldogs. Her husband, Brian Hazelwood, is the volunteer assistant coach.
ALL-TIME SERIES RECORDS:
· Texas A&M is 1-0 all-time against Mississippi State with the teams meeting for the first time last year, the Aggies’ first season in the SEC.
· The Aggies defeated the Bulldogs, 25-8, 25-14, 25-10, on Oct. 7, 2012, at Reed Arena.
· In the first-ever meeting, the Aggies obliterated a school record for fewest points scored by an opponent since moving to the 25-point cap in 2008, as Mississippi State’s 32 total points smashed the previous record of 41 (25-7, 25-16, 25-18) points scored by Texas Southern on Sept. 11, 2009.
· A&M never trailed in the entire contest.
· Fifteen players saw action for the Aggies. Only two players had two attack errors and the remainder of the A&M players had less as A&M outhit the Bulldogs .356 to -.047.