COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M volleyball will host the first and second rounds of the 2019 NCAA Volleyball Championship after receiving an at-large bid to the tournament. The first and second round matches will take place at Reed Arena on Thursday (Dec. 5) and Friday (Dec. 6) evening, the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee announced Sunday. The Aggies are 26-24 all-time in NCAA tournament matches and will make their 25th tournament appearance, with the program’s last victory coming in 2015 over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
The Aggies earned the No. 13 overall seed (21-7, 16-2 SEC) and play host to the Big East Tournament Champion St. John’s Red Storm (22-11) on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m. in the friendly confines of Reed Arena. The match follows a first-round battle between the Oklahoma Sooners (19-8) and Rice Owls (26-3) at 4:30 p.m.
TV information for these matches will be released at a later time.
The winner of the two first-round matches will compete in the second round on Friday, Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at Reed. The winner of the second-round matchup will earn a berth in the Madison Regional on Dec. 13-14 at the UW Field House.
All-session ticket sales for the first two rounds at Reed Arena go live on Monday morning, Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. Single-session ticket sales open at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4. Tickets are available during business hours at the 12thMan Foundation Ticket Office in the north end of Kyle Field, on match day at Reed Arena one hour before the match and online by clicking here. Each day of the tournament counts as one session and will be ticketed accordingly. Prices are available at 12thManFoundation.com.
The Aggies enter the NCAA Tournament with their best conference finish since 2016, where A&M tied for the No. 3 slot. A&M finished 12-1 in matches played at Reed Arena this season, its best home finish since 2000. Texas A&M is making its 25th appearance in the NCAA tournament along with its first tournament appearance under second-year head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn.
St. John’s earned its third overall NCAA berth by winning the Big East Conference Tournament this past weekend. Texas A&M and St. John’s will play each other for the first time in program history on Thursday.
The Oklahoma Sooners, who the Aggies defeated on Sept. 17 of this season, earn their 12th tournament selection in program history with an at-large bid. The Aggies hold a strong 36-9 series lead over the Sooners.
Rice received an at-large bid and will make its second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. The Owls are making their fifth tournament appearance in program history. Texas A&M is 35-4 all-time against Rice and 36-9 against Oklahoma.
Texas A&M head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn has been named the SEC Coach of the Year, according to a vote of the Southeastern Conference head volleyball coaches, announced Sunday by the league office.
Kuhn collects her first coach of the year distinction in her second season with the Aggies. She is just the second A&M volleyball coach to receive this honor after Laurie Corbelli was voted coach of the year in 2015. In just two seasons, Kuhn has amassed a 38-20 overall record and led the Aggies to a 21-7 overall record in 2019, their first 20-win season since 2016. The Aggies earned their best home record since 2000, going an impressive 12-1 at Reed Arena.
After being picked to finish sixth prior to the season, Kuhn led the Aggies to a 13-6 conference slate to finish third, tying their SEC finish in 2016. A&M defeated back-to-back ranked SEC opponents to kick off the month of September, seeing the Aggies crack the AVCA Coaches Poll for the first time since Sept. 19, 2016.
In addition to Coach Kuhn, four Aggies earned postseason honors with Camille Conner and Hollann Hans being named to the All-SEC team and freshmen Lauren Davis and Treyaunna Rush both earning a spot on the All-Freshman team.
Conner, a junior setter from Katy, Texas picks up her first All-SEC honor after quarterbacking the Aggies’ offense all season. Conner is the reigning SEC Setter of the Week after being the first player in the SEC to record a triple-double. She has started and played in every set since she was a freshman. The setter ranks fifth in the SEC in assists (1,062) and in assists per set (9.65).
Hans, a senior outside hitter from Corpus Christi, Texas, is making her second consecutive appearance on the All-SEC team. She was also named to the SEC All-Freshman team in 2016. As A&M’s service ace leader in the 25-point rally scoring era, Hans leads the SEC in overall matches in aces (52). She also ranks second in total kills (471), points (551.5) and points per set (5.06), all while ranking top-30 nationally in each category. As a senior, Hans was named to the All-SEC Preseason team, was named the SEC Player of the Week on Nov. 4 and is a two-time SEC Offensive Player of the Week.
Davis and Rush are the sixth and seventh Aggie volleyball players to be named to the SEC All-Freshman team, joining fellow teammates Hans and London Austin-Roark (2018).
Davis, an outside hitter from Orlando, Fla., has played in all 28 matches, ranking second on the team in kills (234), following senior standout Hans. The freshman is also second on the team in solo blocks (9). Davis has registered double-digit kills 10 times this season and most recently recorded a career-high 19 kills on a .389 mark.
Rush, an opposite hitter from Texarkana, Texas, has amassed 158 kills and ranks third on the team in blocks (73). The freshman has led the Aggies in blocks four times, recording a career-high six blocks three times this season. Rush has recorded double figure kills four times. She registered a career-high 12 kills at No. 15 Kentucky on Nov. 1 and most recently tied that performance on Saturday after finishing with 12 kills at No. 15 Florida.
The Aggies will tune in to the NCAA Division I Selection Show to await their postseason fate.
The show is aired tonight, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPNU.
The following is the complete list of 2019 SEC volleyball awards:
Player of the Year: Leah Edmond, Kentucky
Libero of the Year: Gabby Curry, Kentucky
Freshman of the Year: Kacie Evans, Georgia
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Rachael Kramer, Florida
Coach of the Year: Laura “Bird” Kuhn, Texas A&M