Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
Texas A&M Aggies (10-5, 3-0 SEC) vs. No. 11 Florida Gators (13-3, 4-0 SEC)
Friday, October 5, 6 p.m. (7 p.m. ET)
Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O’Connell Center
TV: SEC Network (Melissa Lee, Missy Whittemore)
Twitter Updates: @AggieVolleyball
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M (10-5, 3-0 SEC), riding its best-ever start in Southeastern Conference play, puts its undefeated SEC record on the line Friday, when the Aggies take on 11th-ranked Florida (13-3, 4-0 SEC) in Gainesville. First serve is at 6 p.m. (7 p.m. ET) at the Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O’Connell Center, and the match will be televised on SEC Network with Melissa Lee and Missy Whittemore calling the action.
Led by sophomore setter Camille Conner’s triple-double and double-doubles by junior outside hitter Hollann Hans and senior libero Amy Houser, Texas A&M improved to 3-0 in SEC play for the first time since joining the conference with a come-from-behind 3-2 (24-26, 25-21, 20-25, 25-23, 15-13) victory at LSU on Sunday. It was the Aggies’ first true road victory this season, and they extended their winning streak to a season-best three matches.
Florida, the two-time defending SEC co-champion, won its ninth consecutive match and remained undefeated in conference matches with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 26-24) victory at Alabama on Sunday. Taelor Kellum had a match-high 12 kills, and Rachael Kramer had 10 kills while hitting .556 and also added six blocks as the Gators notched their fourth straight sweep.
TEXAS A&M-FLORIDA SERIES HISTORY
- Florida is 14-1 against the Aggies since the all-time series began in 1988, including 7-0 in matches played in Gainesville.
- Florida is 8-1 against A&M in SEC matches only.
- A&M’s only win in the series was a thrilling come-from-behind 20-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-11 upset over the then 14th-ranked Gators at Reed Arena on Nov. 22, 2015. It was part of a historic 14-match SEC win streak the Aggies rode to close out the SEC season and capture their first conference volleyball title in program history.
- The last time the teams met in Gainesville was Oct. 4, 2017. Texas A&M gave then-No. 1 Florida a scare as the first three sets were decided by the minimum two points, but the Gators remained the only undefeated team in the nation after pulling away for a 26-24, 25-23, 25-27, 25-10 victory at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
- A&M’s third-set 27-25 win marked the first time the Aggies won a set in Gainesville since 1988, when A&M suffered a 3-1 loss in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
- Hollann Hans led A&M with 12 kills and then-junior defensive specialist Amy Houser tied her career-high with three aces. Florida, which outhit A&M .295 to .170 for the match and led in blocks, 12-3, had three players post double-digit kills, including Carli Snyder who led all players with 16 kills.
- In the most recent meeting, No. 3 Florida completed the home-and-home season series sweep by defeating A&M, 25-18, 25-22, 25-20 on Nov. 15, 2017, at Reed Arena. It marked the first time the Aggies did not win a set against the Gators in seven all-time meetings in College Station.
- Florida All-American middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan led all players with 13 kills without an error in 17 attempts for a .765 hitting efficiency. Then-senior outside hitter Kiara McGee led the Aggies with 12 kills
- Since A&M joined the SEC, three of the five meetings in College Station have been decided in five sets.
- This year’s match-up in Gainesville will be the only meeting between the two teams in 2018.
TEXAS A&M IN THE SEC
- Texas A&M is picked to finish 8th in the SEC in 2018, according to a preseason poll of the league’s head coaches.
- A&M went 7-11 in conference matches last season to finish in ninth place in the SEC.
- All three 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 won 3-2 against both Georgia and LSU, who each tied for fourth in the preseason poll, and swept Arkansas, who was picked to finish seventh.
- 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.
- 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 80-33 all-time in SEC matches only.
- The Aggies are 42-15 all-time in SEC home matches and 38-18 in SEC away matches.
AGGIE PLAYER NOTES
- Junior outside hitter Brookah Palmer, sophomore setter Camille Conner, and freshman middle blocker London Austin-Roark 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 57 sets.
- Conner is the only player in the SEC to record a triple-double this 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 Sunday. 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 10.23 assists per set for the full season and is fourth in the league with 9.85 assists per set in SEC play only.
- Conner also ranks fourth in the league with a .411 hitting efficiency while averaging 2.31 kills per set in SEC matches only.
- Amy Houser is No. 1 in the SEC with 5.08 digs per set in SEC matches only.
- Houser is fifth in the league with 4.20 digs per set for the full season.
- Houser recorded the first double-double of her career in the 3-2 win at LSU, posting a career-high 11 assists and tying her career best with a match-high 24 digs.
- Houser has tallied 20 or more digs in five of the last seven matches, including each of the last two.
- She has reached double-figure digs in seven consecutive matches and 12 matches overall.
- 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 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.
- Houser has a team-high 322 service receptions. She also has a team-best .972 service reception percentage among players who have at least 12 reception attempts.
- Hollann Hans leads the SEC with 0.85 aces per set in conference matches.
- Hans served a school-record eight aces in A&M’s 3-2 win over Georgia on Sept. 23, breaking the previous A&M record of six, reached 12 times, most recently on August 30, 2013, by Allie Sawatzky against South Dakota State.
- Hans’ eight aces against Georgia is 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 leads A&M, ranks second in the SEC and 19th in the nation with 0.50 aces per set for the full season.
- Hans leads A&M, is fourth in the SEC and 18th in the nation with 4.92 points per set for the full season.
- She also leads A&M, is fifth in the SEC and 32nd in the nation with 4.22 kills per set for the full season.
- Hans leads A&M with six double-doubles, including five double-doubles over the last seven matches.
- Hans has posted double-figure kills in 12 of 14 matches played, including six matches in which she has recorded 20 or more kills.
- Hans, only a junior, now has a school-record 52 aces in her SEC career, smashing the previous record of 46 set by Shelby Sullivan (2012-15).
- Freshman defensive specialist Allison Fields, who played libero in the final set in the sweep against Nicholls, has started 13 of 15 matches and has posted double-figure digs six times, including a career-high 20 digs against Missouri State.
- Fields is second on the team with 2.44 digs per set for the full season.
- Freshman middle blocker London Austin-Roark, who has started all 15 matches, had a career-high nine blocks against Georgia, the most blocks by an A&M player this season.
- Austin-Roark leads A&M and is tied for eighth in the SEC with 1.18 blocks per set in conference matches only.
- Sophomore middle blocker Makena Patterson had a career-high 15 kills while hitting .414 in the victory over LSU. It was the fourth time over the last six matches that she set or tied a career high in kills.
- Patterson is ranked ninth in the SEC with a .342 hitting percentage in conference matches only.
- 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 six matches.
- Sanders posted double-figure kills in the second consecutive match and the third time this season and tied her season high with 11 kills at LSU.
- Freshmen defensive specialist Taylor Voss has seen significant playing time as of late, having seen action in 12 matches and 38 sets, typically as a server for a middle blocker.
- The trip to Florida is a homecoming of sorts for sophomore opposite hitter and Orlando native Morgan Davis, who was a star two-sport athlete at Bishop Moore Catholic High School, where she excelled in both volleyball and basketball.
- Davis and Florida freshman setter Marlie Monserez were high school teammates for three years at Bishop Moore Catholic and led the Hornets to back-to-back state volleyball titles in Davis’ final two seasons.
- 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 has used the same starting lineup in each of the last six matches: junior outside hitters Hollann Hans and Brookah Palmer; sophomores Camille Conner (setter) and Makena Patterson (middle blocker); and freshmen London Austin-Roark (middle blocker) and Allison Fields (defensive specialist).
- The Florida match is A&M’s 16th match of the season and marks the start of the second half of the Aggies’ 30-match regular-season schedule.
- A&M’s win at LSU was the Aggies’ first true away victory of the season after having dropped the first four away matches. The Aggies suffered a loss at both Ohio State and No. 6 Penn State, as well as two losses at Oklahoma during the pre-conference schedule.
- A&M is second in the SEC with 16.77 digs per set in conference matches only.
- The Aggies also are second in the league in aces (2.08) and assists (12.92) per set in conference matches.
- For the full season, the Aggies are second in the SEC in digs (14.96) per set and third in assists (12.72) and aces (1.65) per set.
- A&M is outhitting its opponents, .224 to .177 in all matches. In SEC matches only, A&M is outhitting its opponents, 197 to .185.
- For the season, A&M is 5-2 in three-set matches, 3-1 in four-set matches and 2-2 in five set matches.
- A&M enters the Florida match having won back-to-back five-set matches, as well as riding a season-best three-match winning streak.
- The Aggies are coming off a match in which four players posted double-figure kills for the first time this season.
- Florida is the second AVCA Top 25 team A&M has faced this season. On Sept. 1, the Aggies fell to No. 6 Penn State, 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-22) in the final match of the Penn State Invitational in State College, Pa.
- A&M is 78th in the first NCAA RPI (rating percentage index), released on Monday.
FLORIDA QUICK HITS
- Florida (13-3, 4-0 SEC), the two-time defending SEC co-champion, is riding a nine-match winning streak after defeating Alabama on Sunday in Tuscaloosa.
- Florida has not dropped a set in an SEC match this season.
- The Gators have not lost since suffering a 3-2 setback at Northern Arizona on Sept. 7.
- Florida is 7-1 in home matches, with then-No. 7 USC handing the Gators their only loss, 3-1, on August 31.
- Florida leads the SEC and is 15th in the nation with a .152 opponent hitting percentage.
- In SEC matches only, the Gators lead the league in hitting percentage (.306) and aces (3.00) per set, and they rank second in opponent hitting percentage (.152) and blocks per set (3.92).
- Individually, junior 6-8 middle Rachael Kramer is tops in the league with a .478 hitting efficiency and 1.83 blocks per set in conference matches only.
- Florida is 6-0 in 3-set matches, 7-1 in 4-set matches and 0-2 in 5-set matches.
- Mary Wise is 837-104 in her 28th season as head coach at Florida and 918-167 in the 32nd season of her head coaching career.
- A&M concludes its three-match road swing at South Carolina on Sunday, Oct. 7 at the Carolina Volleyball Center.
- The match against the Gamecocks begins at 12:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. ET) and will be streamed on SEC Network +.
- The Gamecocks enter the week 13-1 overall and tied with Florida for first place with a 4-0 record in SEC matches.