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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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A&M edged by Georgia in five sets

Freshman+OPP+Logan+Lednicky+%289%29+%26%23160%3BJumps+to+hit+the+ball+at+Reed+Arena+on+Sept.+25%2C+2022
Photo by Photo by Madeline Tesch

Freshman OPP Logan Lednicky (9)  Jumps to hit the ball at Reed Arena on Sept. 25, 2022

Texas A&M volleyball hit the road this week for a pair of matches against the University of Georgia beginning on Saturday, Oct. 1.
Historically, A&M won in five sets against Georgia at home in Reed Arena in the 2021 season and has 20 total wins against the Bulldogs. Coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn anticipated a tough matchup for this weekend and prepared her team to pursue hard first contact plays to get Georgia out of system offensively. Both teams were inconsistent throughout the match, and it came down to a true test of skill from the Fightin’ Farmers. A&M ultimately fell to Georgia in five sets after much struggle and back-and-forth play.
Georgia struggled to get into a rhythm at the start of Set 1, as A&M was consistent at the beginning and kept the ball away from the strong opposing hitters. Play soon turned sloppy, bringing both teams up to a 10-all tie. A&M took a timeout after a long rally ended with a hard block against graduate outside hitter Caroline Meuth’s attempted hit at 14-12 with Georgia in the lead. Meuth was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, Sept. 26, for her performances against Tennessee and Ole Miss. Unfortunately, Meuth was unable to get into her groove this match and was consistently blocked at the net by the Bulldogs. Neither team stepped up to play in the first half of Set 1.
The Aggies began to drift off in the set’s second half, and several offensive errors worked in their opponent’s favor. Georgia took the first set from A&M 24-13. A&M could not answer defensively, and the majority of the sets were sent to the outside to give Georgia a predictable advantage.
Georgia’s block party continued in Set 2 with six total blocks. Moments of tight play flipped back to more sluggish energy up to a 13-all tie. Freshman opposite hitter Logan Lednicky brought down more authoritative swings and was clearly the offensive force in the first two sets. A&M capitalized on one of Georgia’s weaker serve-receive rotations and began to gain momentum, but at the set point for A&M, Georgia rose to the challenge with a booming hit to tie it up 24-all. The maroon and white battled back and won 27-25 after tight, intense play from both teams.
Redshirt junior middle blocker Madison Bowser put down the first kill of Set 3 to set the tone for the Aggies. Georgia played more demandingly this set and quickly pushed to 10 points. Rookie Lednicky continued her aggressive swings with 13 kills into an A&M timeout. Unable to get a footing in the set, the Aggies called their second timeout in Set 3 to regroup and cut off the Bulldog’s 15-8 lead. Georgia finished with a win in Set 3, 25-19. Lednicky finished with 19 kills and led the team offensively headed into Set 4.
The crowd was on its feet in Stegeman Coliseum at the 9-all tie after another successful kill from Georgia ended a long rally Set 4. Lednicky continued to play with power and put down kill number 24, causing another Georgia timeout. A&M was on the brink of taking back Set 4 at 21-18. Meuth was able to slightly readjust her attacks this set by taking more offspeed hits and finding holes in Georgia’s court. A&M closed out strong with a three-point run and two tip kills from Meuth to win the fourth set 25-20.
A fifth set always presents a challenge with a 15-point cap and a requirement to win by two points. Set 5 was a test of stamina and focus from both teams, and every point raised the anticipation. Georgia played tactically by forcing its hits to the left side to remove Lednicky from the A&M offense. Both teams continued to push with the last of their energy to 5-all. The Bulldogs took the momentum after an ace and block to shut out the Aggies. A&M refused to accept defeat and went on a five-point run to tie up the set 13-all. The Bulldogs came out of their timeout on top after a block to Lednicky’s hit. A&M called another quick timeout to take a small break before the Georgia serve.
The maroon and white ultimately fell to Georgia 15-13 after five trying sets. Fatigue was a factor during this match after two road games last week against Tennessee, not allowing much time to recover before the Aggie’s fast-paced SEC schedule picked up again. However, this game resulted in a season-high 33 attack errors from A&M.
Despite the hard loss for A&M, Lednicky set a career-high 27 kills this match and was the driving force at the net, while Meuth struggled to bring her strong arm against Georgia. Kuhn responded to her team’s offensive dynamic and the rookie’s ability to elevate her play.
“It’s a balancing act,” Kuhn said. “Anytime you’re trying to have a balanced offense, it’s nice to see Logan [Lednicky] step up when her teammates around her are struggling. All around, we just need to be more consistent in how we’re competing and figuring it out sooner.”
A&M will square off against Georgia again tomorrow to finish up the pair of matches on Sunday, Oct. 2, at 11 a.m. This will be a true test of strength for the Aggies, with the second match in less than 24 hours.

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