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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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June 16, 2024

A&M volleyball overcomes slow start to defeat Missouri

After+dropping+the+first+set%2C+the+Aggies+won+three+straight+to+defeat+Missouri+in+four.
Photo by Photo by Cameron Johnson

After dropping the first set, the Aggies won three straight to defeat Missouri in four.

Texas A&M volleyball ended its five-game losing streak Friday night with its victory over the Missouri Tigers. 

The Nov. 26 win improved A&M’s record to 13-14 overall and 6-11 in the Southeastern Conference. For Missouri, the loss dropped the Tigers’ record to 5-25 and 2-15 in the SEC. 

A&M coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn said she was especially proud of the way a pair of seniors, middle blocker Mallory Talbert and outside hitter and setter Camryn Ennis, led the way in the victory.

“I loved seeing the performances from both of them, but it really is great for our whole program,” Kuhn said. “This week, we focused on what these matches mean for our seniors and what they mean for our underclassmen as well.”

After a competitive start in the match, Missouri went on a quick 5-1 spurt to take an early 15-12 lead over the Aggies. The two teams traded the next couple of points as Missouri built its lead to 19-15. Despite a late run by the maroon and white, the Tigers took the first set 25-21. 

In the second set, A&M played with more aggression and dominated from start to finish. The maroon and white took a quick 10-5 lead, then went on an 8-1 run to build its advantage to 15-6.

A&M continued to keep Missouri at arm’s-length as a kill from Talbert took its lead to 20-9 in the set. A kill from Ennis clinched the set at 25-14, tying the  overall set score at one heading into the third.

The Aggies built onto their momentum by taking the first five points in the third set. However, the Tigers went on a run of their own to cut the Aggies’ lead to 8-6. A&M bounced back to increase its lead to 15-8 after an ace from junior libero and defensive specialist Taylor Voss.

Miscues from the Tigers, alongside a kill from sophomore outside hitter Lauren Davis, gave the Aggies what would end up being an insurmountable lead. A&M took the set 25-19, holding an overall 2-1 lead over Missouri. 

With hopes of clinching the match, A&M came out strong in the fourth set to take a 6-3 lead. A kill from sophomore outside hitter Morgan Christon stifled a spurt from Missouri back to two points. However, Missouri refused to give up and even took a 14-13 lead after an ace.

A&M took back the lead after a kill from Talbert, and though Missouri quickly regained steam, the Aggies ended the set on a 6-1 run to take the set 25-23 and clinch the match win. 

Kuhn was proud of the way A&M rebounded from the first set loss to Missouri.

“I liked our response after that first set. I think that [Missouri] really put their foot on the gas,” Kuhn said. “We knew that we had to execute from the service line in order to get them out of system and manage their pins. Our offense … really got going. That is what made them feel more pressure in the second and third sets, and then we were able to finish strong in the fourth. I was really pleased with our composure at the end.”

Statistically, Talbert led the team with a career high 17 kills and three blocks. Davis and Ennis chipped in with 13 and 12 kills, respectively, and fifth-year setter Camille Conner had 51 assists in the match.

Talbert said the atmosphere in Reed Arena was great Friday night and the team is looking forward to experiencing a similar atmosphere on Senior Night in front of the 12th Man. 

“We love the 12th Man, and it feels like it has been forever since we had a chance to play in front of them,” Talbert said. “We are so blessed to have them, and that is what makes Texas A&M so special. We always want to give them a good show and come away every night with a win. We are going to make the most of our opportunity tomorrow for Senior Night. It is an honor to spend four years here, so we are going to cherish every minute.”

Next up for the Aggies is the conclusion of their weekend series against the Tigers. The match on Saturday, Nov. 27 at Reed Arena is set to start at 4 p.m.

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