Texas A&M (10-1, 2-0 SEC), the hottest team in the SEC with a nine-match winning streak, returns to Reed Arena Sunday for an SEC contest against Kentucky (6-6, 0-2 SEC). First serve is at 1 p.m. The Aggies will be attempting to avenge their season-ending NCAA second round 3-0 loss to the Wildcats last year at Reed Arena.
While the Aggies join Florida (9-2, 3-0 SEC) as the only undefeated teams in league play, Kentucky is still in search of its first SEC win of the 2012 season and is looking to snap a four-match losing streak after falling at LSU in five sets on Friday.
• Texas A&M Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day: Texas A&M faculty and staff can purchase a general admission ticket for only $3 by using the promo code “thanksTAMU” at http://www.12thmanfoundation.com/ticket-center/promo.aspx
• Fans who present a ticket from Saturday’s football game against South Carolina State can purchase a $3 general admission ticket.
Season and individual match tickets are on sale, with several convenient options available to purchase the tickets: 1) online, 24 hours a day at tickets.12thmanfoundation.com; 2) by calling the ticket office at 979-845-2311 or toll free at 1-888-99-AGGIE; 3) in person at the ticket office located inside the Zone at the north end of Kyle Field during normal business hours; or 4) in person at Reed Arena beginning one hour before match time.
FOLLOW THE ACTION:
Live video with Chelsea Reber calling the action will be available on 12thMan.TV to premium subscribers. Live stats will be available on AggieAthletics.com, and live updates and other information can be found by following @AggieVolleyball on Twitter.
After beginning SEC play with three consecutive home matches, the Aggies take their first conference road trip of the season next weekend as they take on Missouri, Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Columbia. The Aggies then head to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to take on Alabama, Sunday, Sept. 30, at 1:30 p.m. Live audio of the matches will be available at AggieAthletics.com.
Texas A&M extended its win streak to nine with a pair of home victories last weekend to open SEC play. On Sept. 14, the team recorded A&M’s first-ever SEC victory in any sport by defeating Ole Miss, 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-16), at Reed Arena. It was the sixth consecutive sweep by the Aggies, who outhit the Rebels, .310 to .202. A&M senior opposite Alisia Kastmo led all players with 15 kills while hitting at a .444 clip. She also led A&M with 10 digs, while senior middle blocker Stephanie Minnerly led in blocks with four.
On Sunday, four players reached double figures in kills to help A&M defeat Auburn, 3-1 (25-22, 25-16, 25-27, 25-18) at Reed. Senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger and junior setter Allie Sawatzky tied for team-high honors with 12 kills each. Both players finished with double-doubles as Mellinger tallied a team-high 19 digs and Sawatzky dished out a season-high 41 assists. Auburn overcame five match points to win the third set, ending the Aggies’ streak of six consecutive sweeps and 21 consecutive sets won.
SERIES HISTORY VS. KENTUCKY
• A&M leads the all-time series against the Wildcats, 5-3, including 3-2 in home matches.
• Kentucky has won the last three meetings against the Aggies, including last year’s 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-19) victory over A&M in the second round of the NCAA Championship at Reed Arena. It marked A&M’s first-ever NCAA home loss after going 15-0.
• Then-sophomore Whitney Billings and junior Ashley Frazier led the Wildcats with 17 and 14 kills, respectively, while hitting a combined .448 as Kentucky advanced to Regionals, which it was hosting. Senior outside hitter Kelsey Black had 11 kills for A&M and was the only Aggie to reach double figures in kills.
• A&M’s last win against Kentucky was in 1985 at G. Rollie White Coliseum in College Station.
A&M’s all-time results vs. Kentucky
Overall: 5-3 H: 3-2.. A: 0-1.. N: 2-0
Oct. 9, 1982 N W 15-9, 16-14
Oct. 29, 1982 H W 4-15, 13-15, 15-2, 15-11, 15-12
Oct. 30, 1982 H W 15-9, 10-15, 16-14, 10-15, 15-11
Sept. 14, 1985 N W 15-9, 15-6, 15-7
Oct. 4, 1985 H W 15-10, 8-15, 15-5, 15-10
Oct. 31, 1986 A L 15-11, 8-15, 12-15, 8-15
Oct. 15, 1988 H L 4-15, 16-18, 12-15
Dec. 2, 2011 H L 18-25, 21-25, 19-25
AGGIE QUICK HITS:
• A&M’s 10-1 record ties the all-time school record for best start after 11 matches. The 1995 team holds the record for most wins with only one loss after going 12-1
• A&M has won the first set in all 11 matches this year. A first-set win against Kentucky will mark the first time in school history that an A&M team has won the first set in each of the first 12 matches of the season.
• The Aggies are receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 Poll and are listed a season-high 28th this week.
• A&M is holding its opponents to a .138 hitting efficiency, the best in the SEC. The Aggies have held their opponent below .200 in all but two matches, No. 5 USC and Auburn.
• A&M entered the week ranked sixth in the nation and No. 1 in the SEC with 14.81 kills per set.
• A&M also leads the SEC with 13.61 assists and 17.31 digs per set and is third in the league with 1.44 aces per set for the full season.
• In SEC matches only, A&M leads the conference with 14.57 assists and 15.29 kills per set and is second with 17.43 digs per set and a .186 opponent hitting percentage.
• Senior libero Megan Pendergast tied her career high with four aces against Auburn. She ranks second in the SEC with 0.43 aces per set in all matches, and she leads the conference with a 0.71 ace average in SEC matches only.
• Senior middle blocker Lindsey Miller ranks eighth among active players in the SEC with 817 career kills. Senior opposite Alisia Kastmo is 15th with 709 career kills.
• Middle blocker Lindsey Miller, who has taken team-high honors in blocks in nine of 11 matches this season, leads the team and is third in the SEC with 1.21 blocks per set. She currently ranks eighth in the A&M career records with 386 total blocks and needs only five more blocks to move into seventh in the A&M records with 391.
• Senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger ranks 10th in the A&M records with 1,226 career digs. She needs eight more digs to move into ninth.
• A&M entered the week ranked sixth in the nation with 14.81 kills per set, 11th in the nation with 13.61 assists per set and 24th in the country with 17.31 digs per set.
• A&M leads its opponents in every positive statistical category, holding opponents to a .138 hitting efficiency, 11.14 kills, 10.42 assists, 0.50 aces, 15.64 digs, 1.71 blocks and 13.35 points per set.
• Kastmo has posted double figures in kills in a team-leading eight matches, including each of the last four. Pendergast has tallied double-figure digs in a team-high eight matches.
• A&M has used the same starting lineup in all 11 matches thus far: seniors Lindsey Miller and Stephanie Minnerly at middle blocker; senior Alisia Kastmo at opposite; senior Tori Mellinger and junior Heather Reynolds on the outside; and junior Allie Sawatzky at setter. Senior Megan Pendergast has started out every match as the team’s designated libero.
• Each of A&M’s starters has been named to at least one all-tournament team in the three tournaments A&M has played this year. Kastmo, the MVP of the Delaware Invitational, and Sawatzky have appeared on two all-tournament teams. Minnerly, the MVP of the Yale Classic, Mellinger, Miller and Reynolds have each appeared on one all-tournament team.
• Lindsey Miller and Allie Sawatzky have started every match of their careers. The match against Delaware earlier this season marked Miller’s 100th consecutive start, and she has now started each of the last 103 matches. Sawatzky has started in all 72 matches throughout her career.
• Texas A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli celebrated the 500th win of her 26-year head coaching career and her 400th victory in her 20th season at the helm of the Aggies in A&M’s season-opening victory against Texas State on Aug. 24 at Reed Arena. She is now 509-301 for her career and 409-195 at A&M.
• Corbelli returns 10 letterwinners – including four starters plus the libero -- from last year’s team that went 23-8 and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. She also welcomes one transfer and seven highly touted freshmen who represent the 20th-ranked recruiting class in the nation.
• Twelve of A&M’s 29 regular season matches will be against teams that appeared in the 2011 NCAA tournament.
• In their inaugural season in the SEC, the Aggies have been picked to finish second in the SEC West behind seven-time defending west champion LSU. Tennessee is projected to win the East Division and the overall SEC title. A&M finished third in the Big 12 with an 11-5 record in 2011.
• Kastmo and Minnerly both have graduated with bachelor’s degrees and are continuing their education as they complete their athletic eligibility. Kastmo graduated in August with a degree in finance and is pursuing a master’s degree in real estate. Minnerly, a fifth-year senior, graduated in December 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in university studies. She is pursuing a second degree, a bachelor’s of science in agricultural leadership and development, and is scheduled to graduate in May 2013.
• Kentucky, picked to finish second in the SEC Eastern Division, has been ranked as high No. 10 in the AVCA coaches poll this year but dropped out of the Top 25 this week. The Wildcats are receiving votes and are tied for 29th.
• Kentucky’s four-match losing streak is its longest since closing out the 2004 season with seven consecutive losses, marking the end of coach Jona Braden’s seven-year tenure as head coach of the Wildcats.
• As a team, Kentucky is outhitting its opponents, .223 to .196, averaging 13.31 kills to opponents’ 12.31 kills per set. The Wildcats also are averaging 12.29 assists, 1.13 aces, 14.27 digs and 2.62 blocks per set. Opponents are averaging 0.76 aces, 13.71 digs and 2.27 blocks per set.
• Senior 6-2 outside hitter Ashley Frazier needs only six kills to reach 1,000 for her career. She ranks fourth among active players in the SEC with 994 career kills and leads the Wildcats with 3.18 kills per set this season.
• Senior libero Stephanie Klefot is a two-time SEC Libero of the Year. She tied her career-high with 29 digs in the 3-2 loss at LSU and ranks second in the SEC with 5.88 digs per set in conference matches only. She leads Kentucky with 3.96 digs per set in all matches.
• Klefot and junior 6-2 outside hitter Whitney Billings were both named to the 2012 preseason All-SEC Team.
• Alexandra Morgan, a 6-1 junior middle blocker, leads the Wildcats with a .341 hitting percentage and 1.16 blocks per set.
• Craig Skinner is 164-71 (.698) in his eighth season as head coach of the Wildcats and has led Kentucky to seven consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. Before being hired at Kentucky, Skinner served five seasons in the Big 12 Conference as an assistant coach at Nebraska.