The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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7th man

Photo by Photo by Melanie McBride

Destiny Cox, Mallory Talbert, London Austin-Roark, Ciera “Cici” Hecht and Camille Connor huddle up before the game.

Texas A&M volleyball hosted No. 1 University of Texas in College Station on Friday, Sept. 17. Despite falling short 3-1, A&M had a record-breaking attendance tonight with 6,822 fans arriving at Reed Arena.
“This is my 5th year here, and there has never been an atmosphere more alive than tonight,” 5th-year setter Camille Connor said. “There was not a moment where the fans were sitting down, and that was really cool to see.”
The energy at Reed Arena was ecstatic as the Aggies stepped on the court for set one. The Longhorns obtained an early 2-0 lead before junior outside hitter Destiny Cox made a statement for her first kill of the night. A&M kept it close early in the first with three kills from junior outside hitter Morgan Christon and a huge block to tie it 9-9 from senior middle blocker Mallory Talbert.
The maroon and white got their first lead of the night with an ace from senior libero Taylor Voss, putting them up 10-9. After alternating lead changes between the rivals, junior outside hitter Lauren Davis got back-to-back kills to give the Aggies a 16-14 lead. Connor also got her first ace in the set, giving A&M a vast lead of 19-15. However, the Longhorns quickly reminded everyone why they are ranked first in the nation. Texas went on a 6-0 run to put the Longhorns up 21-19 then finished the set with a kill from junior middle blocker Asija O’neal to win 25-22.
The Aggies had a slow start in the second set as they faced their largest deficit of the match at 8-2. Senior middle blocker London Austin-Roark subbed in and got two consecutive kills. Junior outside hitter Treyaunna Rush got her first kill of the match and a monster block just a serve after. This wasn’t enough to get the Aggies going as they gave up 13 errors in the set, 10 coming from attacks and the remaining three coming from serves. They lost 25-14, giving the Longhorns a 2-0 lead going into the third.
It was win or go home for the Aggies for the rest of the match as they entered the third. After a rough two sets, they finally turned things around. Talbert started off the set with a strong kill that led to three straight kills from Austin-Roark to put the Aggies up 4-2. Austin-Roark came out on fire in the third, putting up three more kills and an ace of her own.
“It’s the trust in my team,” Austin-Roark said. “Camille trusts me to be up to pass, and I trust my diggers to set a good pass. Practicing it every day and bringing that trust to the game led to a lot of the success we had on the court.”
Christon gained her first ace as well, giving the Aggies their largest lead of the match at 21-16. The Longhorns went on another extensive run to tie the game 21-21. Talbert showed up big again in the third with a powerful block which gave the Aggies the momentum they needed to finish the match. Christon sailed to get her 9th kill of the night, winning them their first set 25-22.
With the Aggies having gained momentum, Austin-Roark continued her strong performance as she got her 13th kill of the night and her second ace just a serve after. Talbert came in and brought the maroon and white their first lead of the set with a kill that shook the stands. Christon picked up her 16th kill of the match, bringing the Aggies to 22-21. This set continued to go back-and-forth all the way to the end with 16 ties and five lead changes. The Aggies fell short to the Longhorns 29-27 and ultimately lost the set 3-1.
It was an impressive game all around for the Aggies. Christon ended the night with 16 kills and six digs, Austin-Roark had 13 kills, two aces and a block and Mallory Talbert finished with eight kills and four blocks.
Coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn was content with how the Aggies played and even more pleased with the performance of the 12th Man.
“The 12th Man was awesome tonight,” Kuhn said. “However, we have to play to win and to finish, especially when you have the pressure on the other team, but I feel like our team proved who we are and who we can be and now it’s just about being consistent.”
A&M will travel to Tuscaloosa on Sept. 22 where they will play their first conference game of the season against the University of Alabama.

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