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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 Volleyball falls to No. 11 Florida in four sets

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Photo by Abbey Santoro

The Aggies huddle up in between plays to strategize. 

The 12th Man filled the stands of Reed Arena on Saturday, Nov. 12, to watch the fightin’ Texas Aggie volleyball team take on No. 11 Florida. It was a nail-biting four sets, but it ultimately ended in a 3-1 loss for A&M.
A&M dropped a pair of matches this past weekend against Auburn on the road and were eager for a home-court win against the Gators. The Aggies had to compete without key offensive component freshman opposite hitter Logan Lednicky and were faced with a dynamic readjustment. According to the team’s Sports Information Director Sam Thornton, the rookie is out with a foot injury that she has been struggling with the past several games. However, despite the loss, graduate outside hitter Caroline Meuth and sophomore outside hitter Mia Johnson stepped up and led the team offensively with a combined 30 kills, 17 from Meuth and 13 from Johnson.
Set 1 started swiftly, and Florida quickly pushed to six points. Meuth was able to take the momentum back with her notorious power serve. The tempo stayed up, and the back-and-forth battle led to an 11-all tie. A&M struggled with its team chemistry this set and gave up four errors due to miscommunication on the court. Coming out of the A&M timeout, Florida began to pull away at 19-12 and was on the brink of taking Set 1. Meuth was able to put up a fight with two more kills. After a missed serve from A&M, Florida took Set 1 25-18.
The energy was low for the Aggies in Set 2, and the Gators capitalized with a quick seven-point lead. Coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn called her second timeout of the match, eager to regroup her team. A&M could not find its foothold in the set and struggled to chip away at the wide 15-3 gap with Florida in the lead. Sophomore outside hitter Mia Johnson put down her seventh kill of the match and rallied her team to get back in the game. Graduate setter Elena Karakasi continued to feed Johnson the ball, and A&M forced a timeout on its opponents after Johnson served a booming ace to the Gators. Meuth took advantage of the holes on Florida’s court and tipped the ball just over a block for her eighth kill. The A&M offense could not take consistent control of the court this set and lost 25-16.
Set 3 was lively after Karakasi hit her second-hit dump, a move she likes to make to open up the offense. The fans were back on their feet when the score reached 5-1 with the Fightin’ Farmers in the lead. Florida’s defense struggled to pick up the powerful hits from Meuth and Johnson. A&M continued to fight to a seven-point lead and ultimately took Set 3 back from Florida 25-16.
Junior middle blocker Madison Bowser put down her third kill early in Set 4, and the back-and-forth battle was back on with the Gators. Both teams kept a tied score up to 12-12, and Florida began to edge away from A&M. Bowser’s hitting high carried throughout the set, but the opponents were able to adjust their defense and answer. A&M was able to dig out of a five-point hole and trailed Florida closely 23-20. Despite the fight shown by the maroon and white, Florida took Set 4 25-20 and ultimately won the match.
The Aggies had to run their bench much deeper this match to adjust to Lednicky being out. Johnson saw much more floor time this game and was able to rise to the challenge, despite the loss.
“They come in, and they know what they’re in there for,” Kuhn said. “Everyone does their job, and they know that. … We just have to execute and be cleaner.”
A&M will face off with LSU at home in Reed Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 4 p.m for the annual senior night match.

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