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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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Photo by CJ Smith

Junior MB Molly Brown (14) celebrates getting the final point in the second set during Texas A&M’s game against Liberty on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

Following a mid-week loss to No. 22 Houston, the Texas A&M volleyball team returned to Reed Arena to take on Liberty on Friday, Sept. 15.

The Aggies came into the matchup with the Flames on a two-game losing streak. Looking to bounce back, the Maroon and White swept the Flames to close non-conference play.

Coach Jamie Morrison said the team needed to be crisp heading into SEC play.

“Our offense has to be able to push pressure on the opposing block and defense,” Morrison said. “Not everything is going to be kills. That’ll be the biggest difference once we get to the SEC and face some of those teams.”

A&M jumped out to an early 4-1 lead thanks to early kills by freshman outside hitter Bianna Muoneke and sophomore middle blocker Ifenna Cos-Okpalla. A fantastic rally ended after Liberty’s freshman outside hitter Sydney Whitfield committed an attack error and the Aggies took a 7-2 lead into an early Flames’ timeout.

The Flames battled back to bring the score to 10-7, but were forced into another timeout after a kill by sophomore middle blocker Morgan Perkins gave the Aggies a 13-7 lead.

Both teams traded points out of the break and a back-and-forth rally ended after a kill by sophomore opposite hitter Logan Lednicky gave the Aggies an 18-11 lead. The Maroon and White closed out the first set on a 7-2 run, with a kill by freshman opposite hitter Ital Lopuyo that gave A&M the set, 25-13.

The second set opened up with a back-and-forth affair. With the score even, a kill by Muoneke and Lopuyo gave A&M an early 5-3 lead. Liberty was forced into using a timeout after a block assist by Cos-Okpalla and Lopuyo gave the Aggies a 3-point lead.

The Maroon and White didn’t let the Flames catch up. Liberty had to call its last timeout of the set after kills by Lopuyo and Perkins brought the score to 12-6 in favor of A&M.

After trading points, Liberty brought the score to 16-13 after back-to-back kills by Whitfield, but a block assist by junior middle blocker Molly Brown and Lednicky restored a 17-13 Aggie lead.

Back-to-back service aces by freshman setter Margot Manning gave A&M a 20-13 lead. The Flames brought the score to 21-15, but a service error by Whitfield and a kill by graduate outside hitter Caroline Meuth gave the Aggies a late 23-15 lead.

A service ace by senior libero Lauren Hogan closed out the set 25-15 in favor of the Fightin’ Farmers.

A&M jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the third set after a kill by Lednicky. Liberty battled back to bring the score within one, but back-to-back blocks by A&M brought the score to 8-5.

The Flames brought the score to 9-8, but kills by Muoneke and Lednicky forced Liberty to call a timeout down 11-8. After trading points, Liberty used its final timeout after a kill by Meuth gave A&M a 16-11 lead.

Liberty closed the gap near the end of the set after two straight service aces by senior setter Delaney Dilfer made the score 21-17. However, the Aggies rattled off 3-straight points to bring the match to match point.

The Maroon and White went on to win the set 25-18 and the match after a kill by Lednicky finished off the Flames.

Lednicky had the second-most kills for the Aggies with nine. She tallied a .438 hitting percentage and finished tied for first in points with 11.

Lednicky said heading into SEC play is exciting and adding the big offenses and defenses will be a challenge.

“Going 8-2 in preseason against some really tough teams is an awesome accomplishment,” Lednicky said. “We’re excited to get back in the gym and see what’s working and see what’s in store.”

The Aggies are set to host Mississippi State to open SEC play at Reed Arena on Wednesday, Sept. 20. First serve is slated for 7 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Eli Meschko
Eli Meschko, Sports Writer
Eli Meschko is a journalism senior from Boerne, Texas, and is minoring in communication and sports management. Eli has covered football, men's basketball, baseball, softball, hockey and track & field. Eli also writes for Dave Campbell's Texas Football as an intern. After graduation, Eli plans on pursuing a career in sports media or public relations.
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