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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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A&M swept by No. 6 Pittsburgh

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Graduate S Elena Karakasi (6) hits a ball blocked by San Diego during the Aggies’ match against San Diego on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022 at Reed Arena.

Texas A&M volleyball comes away from a difficult weekend at the Texas A&M Invitational with hope for future success.
A&M’s three-set defeat at Reed Arena on Sunday, Aug. 28 to No. 6 Pittsburgh gave the team the opportunity to go up against one of the best teams in the country and give them a great match. Playing tough competition early in the season will be necessary in readying A&M for conference play. Unfortunately for A&M, the loss drops the team’s record to 1-2 in the early goings of its season.
A&M coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn said A&M is looking at this weekend’s tournament as a learning experience.
“It was a challenging tournament this year, and we did it for a reason,” Bird said to the We needed to test ourselves, not only to see where we are at, but how we respond. We want this team to compete and prepare for SEC play. We are excited about learning from all three matches and getting back in the gym.”
The Aggies got off to a bit of a sluggish start in the matches first set, falling into an early 7-3 hole against the Panthers. Despite cutting the deficit to 15-13, A&M ultimately fell in the first set 25-19 after a Pittsburgh run.
A&M got off to a much better start in the second, building an early 3-1 lead. For the most part, this set was a battle of runs. Pittsburgh would build a 3-point lead, and A&M would respond with a run of its own to tie the score. Ultimately, Pittsburgh pulled away towards the end of the set and won 25-17. Pittsburgh was on the brink of defeating A&M.
The Panthers continued their strong form at the start of the third set and quickly built a 5-2 lead. Impressively, the Aggies showed a lot of resolve and continued to battle with the talented Panther squad. A 3-0 run from the maroon and white even gave the team a 15-14 lead over the Panthers going into a media timeout. Afterwards, the Aggies built up their lead to 17-15 and forced the Panthers to call a timeout.
However, Pittsburgh was a different team coming out of the timeout and ended the match on a 10-4 run to win the set 25-21 and ultimately defeat A&M in three sets.
Statistically, the Aggies got an incredible game from graduate transfer Elena Karakasi. The setter had 25 of the Aggies’ 31 assists and was even able to chip in four kills.
Bird said Karakasi’s ability to stabilize play on the court was beneficial for A&M against Pittsburgh.
“Volleyball is a game of momentum, and we talked about that today and how you control that throughout the game,” Kuhn said. “[Karakasi’s] vision, and the way that she can slow the game down and play, that’s huge when you have a setter out there who can do those things.”
Karakasi said the 12th Man was great over the weekend and is looking forward to celebrating a bunch of victories this season.
“The atmosphere [at Reed] is insane,” Karakasi said. “It is a big gym, and there were a lot of people in the arena watching our game, and it is just really exciting to see that. We expect that crowd at every home game, and we are very excited to win games in Reed Arena this year.”
Up next for the A&M is a trip to Fort Worth to compete in the TCU “Fight in the Fort” tournament at the Schollmaier Arena. A&M’s first match is against Coastal Carolina on Friday, Sept. 2 at 10 a.m.

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