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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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Aggies fall in three sets to nationally ranked San Diego

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Freshman OPP Logan Lednicky (9) runs out before the start of the Aggies’ match against San Diego on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022 at Reed Arena.

One day after a five-set victory over Hawaii that lasted two and a half hours, the Texas A&M volleyball team was promptly swept 3-0 by No. 25 San Diego in less than 90 minutes on Saturday, Aug. 27, at Reed Arena.
The loss drops the Aggies to 1-1 overall during their opening match of the three-game Texas A&M Invitational. Featuring a lineup composed almost entirely of transfers and freshmen, the Aggies struggled with ball control throughout the contest, tallying 20 attack errors and 11 service errors.
Offensively, the team was led by freshman opposite hitter Logan Lednicky and graduate outside hitter and Notre Dame transfer Caroline Meuth. The duo recorded eight kills each while Lednicky added nine digs. The A&M defense was paced by junior libero and Syracuse transfer Lauren Hogan, who added 12 digs, while redshirt junior middle blocker Madison Bowser tacked on four blocks.
The Toreros of the West Coast Conference jumped to an early lead in the opening set, garnering a 12-6 advantage thanks to a 5-0 run. The maroon and white then used a 5-0 run of their own to bring the score within two at 17-15, but an 8-2 rally by San Diego capped off a 25-17 victory for the Toreros. Senior outside hitter Katie Lukes led San Diego during the set, tallying five kills.
The Toreros picked up in the second set right where they left off, pioneering an 11-7 lead at the first A&M timeout. San Diego went on to end the set on a 10-3 run in which they had two service aces and took advantage of a host of errors committed by the Aggies. The Toreros’ defense proved to be effective, stifling the Aggies’ offensive production as they took the set, 25-15.
However, A&M refused to go down without a fight in front of the sizable crowd of 1,824. After San Diego gained a 10-5 edge to open the third set, the Aggies returned from a timeout with a 5-0 run, led by a pair of service aces by freshman defensive specialist Ava Underwood, to tie things up.
“When I went into the locker room [postgame], I told them that there was not one time that I looked around and thought that we were screwed or that we couldn’t do this,” Hogan said. “We have every ability to come back and win. When I look around, I know this is the team that I want to go to battle with. We have the skill, we have the players, we have the depth and we have the leadership. It is all about how we put that together.”
The set remained neck-and-neck from there and was far more competitive than the previous two. After the Toreros retook the lead at 19-14 behind a pair of kills by Lukes, A&M rallied to bring the contest within a point at 22-21, energizing those in attendance. Despite the Aggies’ efforts, though, junior middle blocker Leyla Blackwell closed the match with a kill, securing the 25-22 victory and clean sweep for San Diego.
“I’m proud of our response in the third set. They were making us feel it, and I think we responded well,” A&M coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn said. “We have to find our competitive chemistry as a team and learn how to respond faster in matches like that.”
Statistically, the Toreros bested A&M across all major categories, accruing 39 kills and 43 digs while hitting at a 26% clip. Meanwhile, the Aggies hit at a rate of 5.1% with 25 kills and 32 digs.
A&M now has its sights set on No. 6 Pittsburgh, who they battle on Sunday, Aug. 28, at 12:30 p.m. at Reed Arena, to conclude the tournament. Kuhn said the Aggies must put this loss behind them and stay focused on what’s next.
“It’s a clean slate, and we have to come out and get back to what we are,” Kuhn said. “That’s why we schedule these matches. You bounce back, and it is about the response, and we are going to learn from it. We are a great team, and we are going to respond to it better and know how to handle that feeling. Pitt is going to be physical which will bring another element. It is about how we are going to hang in there and keep attacking.”

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