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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M volleyball looks to redeem itself against Missouri on the road

Photo by Julianne Shivers

Freshman S Margot Manning (10) serves the ball in Texas A&Ms game against Auburn on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023 at Reed Arena. (Julianne Shivers/ The Battalion)

Texas A&M volleyball was off to a successful start to the season after a monumental win against then-No. 4 Florida on the road in Gainesville, Florida.
Although the first part of the season looked strong with a four-game winning streak, it was not long before A&M hit the mid-season lull, going on a three-game losing streak.
However, the Maroon and White are finding their rhythm again as they took a big win against Alabama.
A&M needs to use this rhythm when facing Missouri this Friday, Nov. 10, in hopes of securing an SEC win.
Missouri has a new head coach this year and the team is adjusting to the new coaching style. Coach Dawn Sullivan was an All-American herself at Kansas State and has experience playing at a high level when she led the University of Nevada Las Vegas to a Mountain West conference championship.
The Tigers have had a pretty average season thus far. Similar to the Aggies, they started off strong with a 5-0 run before a 3-0 loss to No. 3 Louisville. Missouri is 15-9 overall and 7-6 in conference, looking to bring in some wins at home over these next three games.
Last time these two teams met at the net, the Tigers came out on top, but the Aggies did not let them off the hook too easily and took a set away from the Tigers.
Impact player junior opposite hitter Joran Iliff leads Missouri with 305 kills. She had a career high in her last match and notched 22 kills for her team, allowing a come back in a five-set match and taking the win against Georgia. Her biggest opponent at the net will be sophomore opposite hitter Logan Lednicky who leads her team with 282 kills.
The Aggies will have to adjust to Tiger sophomore outside hitter Janet deMarrais who trails behind Iliff with 258 kills. She was a No. 10 senior recruit, according to PrepVolleyball, and has continued to improve reaching her career high kills of 24 against Alabama. It will take A&M closing its block to withhold deMarrais from scoring.
A vital move for both setters is to get their impact hitters involved from the start and adjust to who has the hot hands at the net. Defense at the net will also play a big part in shutting down the opposing offense.
Sophomore middle blocker Ifenna Cos-Okpalla will pose a threat at the net to the Tigers. She leads the NCAA in blocks per set with 1.70. Right behind her in the back row is sophomore libero Ava Underwood who leads her team with 200 digs. Coach Jamie Morrsion will look to her to lead the back row defense and for her serve receive to be as efficient as possible.
Not far behind Cos-Okpalla with 114 blocks, for the Tigers, is junior middle blocker Morgan Isenberg who will also be a much needed component at the net to stifle the Aggie offense.
Backing her up in the line of defense is sophomore libero Maya Sands, who stands at No. 33 in digs per set and No. 49 in total digs in the NCAA.
Star-recruit freshman outside hitter Bianna Muoneke has stepped up to the plate for the Aggies as a freshman. She has 233 kills and barely trails behind the liberos with 161 digs.
Muoneke has been just a step behind veteran outside hitter Caroline Meuth who trails Cos-Okpalla with 250 kills and 164 digs. Mueth is a Notre Dame transfer and has continued to be a huge asset for the Aggies as she has contributed on both sides of the ball.
With both teams being stacked in their own ways, it will come down to touches on the block to help the defense and the setters running a strategic offense to position their hitters to score efficiently for their teams.
The match is set to start at 6 p.m. at Hearnes Center in Columbia, Missouri.

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