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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M volleyball bounces back for the season wrap up

Sophomore+OH+Mia+Johnson+%2831%29+bumps+the+ball+during+a+game+vs.+Florida+at+Reed+Arena+on+Saturday%2C+Nov.+12%2C+2022.
Photo by Ishika Samant

Sophomore OH Mia Johnson (31) bumps the ball during a game vs. Florida at Reed Arena on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022.

Texas A&M volleyball finished up a pair of matches on Sunday, Nov. 20, against Missouri to close out the final game of the regular season and snap its six-game losing streak.
The Aggies fell to the Tigers in three sets in Game 1 on Saturday, Nov. 19, and worked to readjust in all aspects of the game. It marked the fourth straight game without the key offensive piece, freshman opposite hitter Logan Lednicky, who cut her season short due to a foot injury. The defense struggled to put up an effective block in the previous match. Overall, the team was unable to gel together and struggled in multiple areas. Missouri swept A&M in three sets and capitalized on the out-of-system play. Despite the loss, offensive leaders were graduate outside hitter Caroline Meuth with 10 kills and junior middle blocker Madison Bowser with seven more kills of her own. Sophomore outside hitter Mia Johnson led the team defensively with 11 total digs, a player who was seen more floor time following Lednicky’s injury and has executed her performance.
The maroon and white were the early aggressors in Game 2 of the weekend. This match was marked by seamless blocks and powerful swings from everyone at the net. A&M was able to adjust well and came out in a revengeful manner after Saturday’s sweep and returned a sweep of its own to the Missouri Tigers.
A&M played a clean game in Set 1 and pulled away from Missouri early in the set. Freshman middle blocker Ifenna Cos-Okpalla made her presence known with three kills and three individual blocks. Graduate setter Elena Karakasi hit assist number 1,000 for the season and put down three kills of her own. A&M bounced back from yesterday’s sweep and took Set 1 25-17.
The defensive momentum carried into Set 2, and the Aggies played with even more force. Cos-Okpalla, Karakasi and Mueth combined for three blocks early in the set. The Tigers picked up speed and created much more back-and-forth play. Johnson stepped up offensively and put down four kills. Missouri was unable to side out effectively from the A&M serve and limited its offense. A&M finished Set 2 25-16 and headed into Set 3 with high energy.
Missouri came out fast in Set 3 and maintained a 5-point lead over A&M for the first half of the match. A&M chipped away at the gap and prompted a Missouri timeout after working back to 17-14 with the Tigers in the lead. The Fightin’ Farmers pushed forward and tied up Set 3 17-all. Missouri quickly worked back and went on a 3-point run. Head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn tried her second challenge of the match after a close call on Johnson’s hit from the outside. Tensions were high in the deciding set. A&M lost the challenge but continued to play aggressively. They closed out Set 3 with a win 25-23 and ultimately won the match against Missouri.
Despite the recent six-game losing streak and sudden readjustment after Lednicky’s recent injury, the Aggies were able to close out the regular season on a positive note on the road this weekend.
“This is a special group with a lot of new faces,” Kuhn said. “We had different people step up when their name was called and that is what makes a true team.”
A&M finished its season 13-16 overall. Post-season play is not anticipated for the Aggies, although selections have not been announced for the 2022 NCAA volleyball tournament as many other teams wrap up conference play.

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