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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 sweeps Kentucky to keep top spot in SEC

Volleyball+vs+Kentucky
Photo by Kevin Chou
Volleyball vs Kentucky

No. 25 Texas A&M cemented its position atop the SEC by sweeping No. 19 Kentucky Wednesday night at Reed Arena.
Junior middle blocker Jazzmin Babers remained an integral part of the Aggies on both phases of play. Her efforts contributed to the team’s comeback set wins in both the first and third set. She finished off the match with eight kills for the night — five in the final set alone, where the Aggies came back to win.
“I definitely believe that my team is never going to give up,” Babers said. “When we’re down, we just slowly start chipping away, point-by-point. We never think that the game is over because a set can go either way … I don’t personally having something against [Kentucky’s libero], I just did a shot that worked and so I decided to keep hitting it a couple times.”
The Aggies (20-6, 13-2 SEC)  and Wildcats (18-9, 11-4 SEC) traded blows to open up the match, but the Wildcats were able to take the largest lead of the opening set at 18-12. The Aggies finally reversed the lead at 23-22 before Ashlie Reasor supplied the final two kills to give the Aggies a 1-0 advantage.
“We keep saying, ‘This team will not give up,’” Reasor said. “I wasn’t surprised at all [by Kentucky], we knew coming in it was going to be a battle. I can’t do it without my teammates, it’s not just me it’s the whole team. Props to [Kentucky] … but you can just see the team chemistry out there — there’s nothing that’s ever going to stop that.”
The energy remained in the second set, as A&M’s lead continued to gradually grow despite UK leading with 28 kills over 21 at the end of the set. The Wildcats even led on back row defense with 38 digs over A&M’s 35, but it was A&M’s blocks — 16 attempts over UK’s 10 — that gave it the momentum to gain and sustain its lead in the second set. A&M ultimately took the set 25-19.
The Wildcats ambushed the Aggies after intermission by taking a quick 7-2 lead. However, A&M remained confident and eventually tied the score at 19-all. A&M was able to pull away with a short lead, but the Wildcats clawed back to tie the score at 24-24. The match was decided off a kill by Kiara McGee and an attack error by UK’s Kaz Brown.
“They’re able to keep their composure even when they’re down six or seven points,” A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli said. “That’s something I feel is really fortunate that I have this year … [Aiple] was trying to get the ball back to Reasor a lot and more distribute, the only way to win is to stay balanced … And I don’t think the 12th Man understands how much they really help us.”
Wednesday night’s victory, coupled with five weeks of consecutive wins, raises the stakes for the team’s upcoming match against the No. 14 Florida Gators. The Gators and Aggies previously met on Oct. 9 in Gainesville, Florida, where UF swept A&M. The rematch will be at Reed Arena at 1 p.m. Sunday to determine some of the final slots in the SEC standings.

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