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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Aggies to face SEC champs after two consecutive sweeps

Photo by Photo By: Wesley Holmes
Volleyball Preview

Although injuries have been a recurring nightmare for the A&M volleyball team, it has yet to stop the team from sweeping Auburn and Ole Miss. The Aggies will be tested further in Gainesville, Florida Friday against the SEC defending champion Gators. 

The Aggies (9-5, 2-1 SEC) feature outside hitter Kiara McGee and middle blocker Jazzmin Babers. Babers was named this week’s SEC Defensive Player of the Week and the overall SEC Player of the Week. She leads the conference in hitting percentage (.490) and blocks per set (.200) since the SEC has started conference play. However, it took a team effort to defeat Ole Miss in a sweep, particularly on the defensive side.

“Blocking is very big in momentum,” opposite hitter Ashlie Reasor said. “Every time you get a block, you get that more excited. It’s a big momentum shifter, especially coming out of a timeout or the last point to have momentum.”

Alex Holston leads the Aggies in kills at 156 on the season, but Florida’s highlight player is Alhassan Rhamat, who follows just behind at 140 kills. Not only is Rhamat an offensive threat, but she leads the team with 101 total blocks on the defensive side as well. 

“I think we’re pretty hungry to go out there and beat them,” McGee said. “Let’s be honest, we haven’t done good against Florida in the past. I think it’s time, we’re playing some of the best volleyball we’ve been playing in a while right now. It’s the perfect time for us to play there if we keep playing like we are, and I think we can beat them.”

Florida head coach Mary Wise has the most decorated coaching career of any SEC coach. Wise has 25 seasons with the Gators to her name and has gained an overall record of 742-88 (.894). Texas A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli has struggled against Wise since joining the SEC, as Wise holds a 7-0 record against Corbelli in conference competition. 

“The team is feeling really good about themselves,” Corbelli said. “It’s a really light feeling, especially as you get into October when you’ve been at this for eight weeks. The weight on your shoulders get heavier and heavier, and the responsibilities grow with school. [Florida] is so tough to beat even though they have had a few losses recently. They are also battling injuries.” 

For injuries, A&M has struggled with losing both Shelby Sullivan and Stephanie Aiple. Since their return, the Aggies have lost Angela Lowak for the second time this season but is currently rehabilitating to make a quick recovery.

No. 17 Florida (9-4, 1-3 SEC) currently leads the SEC in three statistics: hitting percentage (.296), kills (693) and blocks average (3.07 per set). Texas A&M only leads Florida in assists with 692 on the season. The Gators pose some legitimate threats, but the Aggies hold momentum with back-to-back sweeps and Florida’s three-game losing streak.

The game starts at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on SEC Network+.

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