Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M (12-7, 5-2 SEC) begins a crucial three-match homestand on Friday when the Aggies play host to Tennessee (14-5, 5-2 SEC) for their annual “Dig Pink” match. First serve is at 6:30 p.m. at Reed Arena, and the match will be streamed on SEC Network+ with Casey Richardson and Chelsea Reber calling the action
Texas A&M and Tennessee, both under the direction of first-year head coaches, are tied for fourth place in the Southeastern Conference standings with 5-2 records as they near the halfway point of the conference season.
The Aggies, led by two-time reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Week Hollann Hans and SEC Freshman of the Week London Austin-Roark, have won their last two matches, including a thrilling 3-2 (24-26, 25-20, 25-22, 25-23, 15-12) victory at Georgia on Sunday to complete the season series sweep against the Bulldogs.
Tennessee has not had a match since Oct. 10, when the Lady Vols had their four-match winning streak snapped at then-No. 16 Kentucky, 3-1 (25-10, 25-16, 19-25, 25-12).
Fans are encourage to donate to the Aggies’ online “Dig Pink” fundraiser page, https://giving.side-out. org/campaigns/14710#/.
- Dig Pink Match: Annual fundraiser match in support of breast cancer awareness:
- Free admission for all breast cancer survivors or those undergoing treatment
- (Email [email protected] tamu.edu);
- $3 admission at the door for fans wearing pink
- Bring Your “A” Game: Free Admission for any kid who presents a report card with an A. Only available as a walk up sale on the day of the event. No advance purchases. Concessions Special: Half-off soft pretzels
- Post-Match Autographs: Fans are invited to the court to receive post-match autographs from the team.
TEXAS A&M-TENNESSEE SERIES HISTORY
- Texas A&M has won the last eight matches against the Lady Vols and holds a 10-6 lead in the all-time series, which began in 1982.
- A&M leads, 8-1, in SEC matches only.
- The Aggies’ only SEC loss to Tennessee and the Lady Vols’ most recent victory against A&M was Oct. 19, 2012, at Reed Arena in the teams’ first meeting as SEC foes.
- A&M is 5-2 against Tennessee in matches played in College Station, including 4-1 in SEC matches.
- The teams met only once last year (Oct. 27, 2017), with A&M holding off Tennessee, 3-2 (25-17, 15-25, 25-21, 23-25, 16-14) at Reed Arena despite hitting .124 for the match. Tennessee, hit .099.
- A&M libero Amy Nettles had a match-high and career-high 34 digs, and defensive specialist Amy Houser and freshman setter Camille Conner also had then-career highs in digs with 19 and 16, respectfully, to lead the Aggies to an A&M SEC-record 105 team digs. A&M outside hitter Hollann Hans posted a match high 16 kills and 12 digs, and outside hitter Kiara McGee also reached double-figure kills with 15.
- Tessa Grubbs led the Lady Vols with 12 kills.
TEXAS A&M IN THE SEC
- Texas A&M is tied with Tennessee for fourth place in the SEC standings with a 5-2 record.
- A&M is picked to finish 8th in the SEC in 2018, according to a preseason poll of the league’s head coaches.
- Texas A&M junior outside hitter Hollann Hans was named to the nine-member 2018 Preseason All-SEC Team, as voted on by the league’s head coaches.
- All five of A&M’s SEC wins this season have been against teams that were predicted to finish above the Aggies, according to the preseason poll. A&M has two 3-2 victories against Georgia as well as a 3-2 win at LSU. Both of those teams tied for fourth in the preseason poll. The Aggies swept both Auburn and Arkansas, who were picked to finish sixth and seventh, respectively.
- A&M went 7-11 in conference matches last season to finish in ninth place in the SEC.
- A&M’s best season in the SEC was 2015, when the Aggies, despite dropping their conference season opener to Arkansas, went 16-2 to capture the SEC title, A&M’s first conference championship in program history.
- In their inaugural SEC season opener, the Aggies defeated Ole Miss on Sept. 14, 2012, at Reed Arena, marking Texas A&M’s first SEC victory in any sport. The Aggies went on to finish 16-4, winning the SEC Western Division and placing second overall.
- Texas A&M is 82-35 all-time in SEC matches only.
- The Aggies are 43-16 all-time in SEC home matches and 39-19 in SEC away matches.
AGGIE PLAYER NOTES
- Junior outside hitter Hollann Hans was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week and the third time this season on Monday after averaging 5.94 points, 4.88 kills, 0.62 aces and 2.50 digs per set in A&M’s wins over Auburn and Georgia.
- She also was named Power 5 National Player of the Week by PrepVolleyball.com, which also has the outside hitter listed in the “others considered” for its Midseason All-America Team.
- Hans enters the weekend ranked ninth in the nation for aces per set, 10th in points per set and 17th for kills per set.
- Hans leads the SEC with 5.23 points per set in all matches as well as 5.53 points per set in conference matches only.
- She also leads the SEC with 0.70 aces per set in conference play and is second in the league with 0.52 aces per set for the full season.
- She is second in the league with 4.57 kills per set in SEC matches and third in the conference with 4.49 kills per set for the full season.
- Hans needs only three aces to tie and four to break the A&M record of 24 aces in an SEC season, which she set last year.
- Hans’ 34 points and 32 kills at Florida smashed the previous Texas A&M records for most kills and most points in a match in the 25-point scoring era. She had set the previous record with 28 kills and 32.5 points against Penn State in 2017.
- The 34 points ranks fourth in the A&M all-time single-match records, and the 32 kills ranks eighth in the all-time records.
- Her 32 kills and 34 points are the most by an SEC player in a conference match this season.
- Hans served a school-record eight aces in A&M’s 3-2 win over Georgia on Sept. 23, breaking the previous A&M all-time record of six, reached 12 times, most recently on August 30, 2013, by Allie Sawatzky against South Dakota State.
- Hans’ eight aces against Georgia are the most by an SEC player in a match this season and ties for second in the nation for most aces in a five-set match this season.
- Hans has posted double-figure kills in 16 of 18 matches played, including nine matches in which she has recorded 20 or more kills.
- Hans, only a junior, now has a school-record 62 aces in her SEC career, smashing the previous record of 46 set by Shelby Sullivan (2012-15).
- Sophomore setter Camille Conner, and freshman middle blocker London Austin-Roark are the only two A&M players who have started every match this season.
- Team captain Amy Houser, the only senior on the team, has started every match as the designated libero and has played the position in all but one set.
- Conner is the only player who has appeared in all 69 sets.
- Conner is the only player in the SEC to record a triple-double this season.
- Conner directed the A&M offense to a .424 hitting percentage against Auburn and a .324 hitting percentage at Georgia last weekend, marking the team’s two highest hitting percentages of the season
- Conner had 46 assists and career highs of 13 kills and 18 digs, as well as a personal-best .385 hitting efficiency when posting 10 or more kills, in the Aggies’ 3-2 win at LSU on Sept. 30. It was Conner’s second triple-double of her career, as she was one of only two players in the SEC to accomplish the feat in 2017, having tallied 12 kills, 12 digs and 43 assists against No. 5 Penn State (Sept. 2, 2017).
- Conner came within one dig of posting a triple-double in the 3-2 victory against Georgia on Sept. 23.
- Conner was named SEC Co-Setter of the Week (Sept. 24) following the first week of conference play after averaging 10.25 assists per set and averaging 2.12 kills and 2.94 points per set while hitting .433, in A&M’s wins over Arkansas and Georgia.
- Conner is third in the SEC with 10.32 assists per set for the full season and also third in the league with 10.30 assists per set in SEC play only.
- Conner is second on the team lead with seven double-doubles.
- Amy Houser is No. 5 in the SEC with 4.37 digs per set in SEC matches only.
- Houser is sixth in the league with 4.11 digs per set for the full season.
- Houser’s point-saving play at set point in the third set at Georgia was No. 5 on ESPN SportCenter’s Top 10 plays of the day.
- Houser recorded the first double-double of her career in the 3-2 win at LSU (Sept. 30), posting a career-high 11 assists and tying her career best with a match-high 24 digs.
- She has reached double-figure digs in 11 consecutive matches and 15 matches overall.
- Houser has tallied 20 or more digs in a team-leading six matches.
- Houser was named both SEC Player of the Week and SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 24 after averaging a league-tying high 5.25 digs per set in A&M’s wins over Arkansas and Georgia during the first week of SEC play. It was the first time in her career she had won either honor.
- Houser has a team-high 404 service receptions. She also has a team-best .970 service reception percentage among players who have at least 15 reception attempts.
- Houser had a match-high 19 digs in the three-set victory over Arkansas, tying a school record for most digs by an A&M player in a three-set SEC match.
- Freshman defensive specialist Allison Fields, who played libero in the final set in the sweep against Nicholls, has started 17 of 19 matches and has posted double-figure digs eight times, including a career-high 20 digs against Missouri State.
- Middle blocker London Austin-Roark was named the SEC Freshman of the Week and was PrepVolleyball.com’s runner-up for National Power 5 Freshman of the Week after averaging 1.12 blocks as well as 2.38 kills per set while hitting .421 in the Aggies’ victories against Auburn and Georgia last weekend.
- Austin-Roark leads A&M with 0.96 blocks per set in conference matches only and leads starters with 0.79 blocks in all matches.
- Austin-Roark, who has started all 19 matches, had a career-high nine blocks against Georgia on Sept. 23. It still is the most blocks by an A&M player this season.
- After having appeared in only one match over the first nine matches of the season, sophomore opposite hitter Samantha Sanders has come on strong and appeared in each of the last 10 matches. She had nine kills and hit .364 in A&M’s victory at Georgia on Sunday.
- Sophomore Morgan Davis was the unsung hero in the win at Georgia. Davis, who has trained only at opposite hitter this season, subbed in late in the fourth set against the Bulldogs and finished the match with four kills—including a team-leading three kills in the decisive five set—without an error to hit .800 for the match.
- Freshmen defensive specialist Taylor Voss has seen significant playing time as of late, having seen action in 16 matches and 55 sets, typically as a server for a middle blocker. She had a career-high five digs at Georgia.
- Freshmen middle blockers London Austin-Roark and Mallory Talbert and freshman lefty setter Kaitlyn Rogers all graduated high school early and participated in A&M spring drills and also went on the team’s foreign training tour to Europe in May.
TEXAS A&M NOTES
- A&M had its two highest hitting percentages of the season in each of its last two matches, hitting a season-high .424 in the sweep against Auburn and .324 in the 3-2 victory at Georgia.
- With a 12-7 record, A&M already has two more wins then it totaled in the entire 2017 season.
- Texas A&M is 3-0 in SEC home matches and 5-1 in all home matches this season, with the only loss coming against Missouri State on Sept. 7.
- The Aggies are 2-6 in true away matches after defeating Georgia in Athens on Sunday
- The Aggies are third in the league in aces (1.57) and assists (12.77) per set in all matches.
- In SEC matches only, A&M is third in aces (1.63) and third in assists (12.93) per set.
- A&M is outhitting its opponents, .236 to .190 in all matches and .241 to .214 in SEC matches only.
- For the season, A&M is 6-2 in three-set matches, 3-2 in four-set matches and 3-3 in five set matches.
- Six of A&M’s last 11 matches have been decided in five sets.
- A&M jumped from 79 to 64 in the most recent NCAA RPI (rating percentage index).
TENNESSEE QUICK HITS
- Tennessee (14-5, 5-2 SEC) is coming off a bye week and has not played since falling at No. 16 Kentucky, 3-1 (25-10, 25-16, 19-25, 25-12) on Oct. 10.
- The Lady Vols are only one of two teams to take a set off of Kentucky (11-4, 5-0 SEC) in a conference match.
- The loss to the Wildcats snapped the Lady Vols’ four-match win streak.
- Tennessee, No. 42 in the NCAA RPI released on Monday, is receiving votes in the current AVCA Top 25 Poll and is listed 33rd.
- The Lady Vols, who have two ranked wins, are 10-1 in home matches and 2-4 in true road matches.
- Although Tennessee was outhit by Kentucky, .398 to .156, the Lady Vols rank fourth in the SEC in both hitting percentage (.245) and opponent hitting percentage (.183) for the full season.
- Senior middle hitter Erica Treiber is second in the SEC and 13th in the nation with a .403 hitting percentage while averaging 2.73 kills per set.
- Junior outside hitter Tessa Grubbs has been out since appearing in four of five sets in a 3-2 victory against Missouri on Sept. 28. Grubbs leads the team with 3.75 kills and 4.05 points per set while hitting .270 for the full season
- Eva Rackham is in her first season as a head coach. She came to Tennessee from North Carolina, where she spent nine seasons as an assistant coach for the Tar Heels.
- Rackham, who coached Texas A&M transfer middle blocker Sydnye Fields, was the 2014 AVCA Assistant Coach of the Year.
- The Aggies continue their homestand on Sunday at 2 p.m. as they play host to No. 15 Kentucky.
- Numerous promotions will be taking place on Sunday, including:
- Take a Kid to the Game: Four kids admitted free with the purchase of one adult ticket (Available in-person on game day only. Not available in advance);
- Giveaway: Adidas Maroon Performance T’s for the 1st 100 fans at all entrances
- Kids Zone Sunday: (1 to 2 p.m.) on the upper level concourse from Sec.126-130. Free youth entertainment including inflatables, a selfie station, face painting, balloon animals & more.
- Concessions: Free popcorn for the first 100 kids in the Kids Zone.
- Post-Match Autographs: Fans are invited to the court to receive post-match autographs from the team.