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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 struggles in season opener

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Photo by via Twitter @AggieVolleyball

The Texas A&M volleyball team began their 2021 season at the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic, leaving the tournament with a 1-2 record overall. 

Texas A&M volleyball kicked off its 2021 campaign over the weekend in the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic tournament. The Aggies finished the three-day tournament on Sunday, Aug. 29 with a 3-0 loss to Hawaii, falling to 1-2 to begin the season. 

The maroon and white started the tournament with a match against Marquette University on Friday. The Golden Eagles took the opening set with a 25-12 win, but the Aggies responded in thrilling fashion, capturing the second frame with a 28-26 win. The set was highlighted by a kill by senior middle blocker Mallory Talbert to seal the frame.

In the third set, the squads went back and forth. After an attack error brought the Aggies within one point, Marquette produced three straight kills to take a crucial 25-21 victory in the third set. A&M played aggressively in the fourth set, captained by a 13-6 run to capture the 25-15 set, forcing the match into a fifth. The fifth set was another shootout. Kills by junior outside hitters Morgan Christon and Lauren Davis kept the Aggies in it, but Marquette was ultimately victorious, 15-13.

Davis led the way with 15 kills and a block against Marquette. Christon was also productive with 13 kills, an ace and two blocks. Fifth-year senior setter Camille Conner led the team with 47 assists, and senior Camryn Ennis led the squad in digs, with 21.

A&M continued the tournament with a match on Saturday against Fairfield University. Three straight kills from Talbert and another two from Davis gave the Aggies an early advantage in the opening set, but a 12-5 run by the Stags tied the score at 23. A kill from Davis and an attacking error by Fairfield secured the 25-23 victory in the opening set for the maroon and white.

The Aggies dominated the second set, taking an easy 20-9 lead. Though the Stags were able to fight back, A&M held on to take the 25-18 victory. The third set was nearly the same, as the maroon and white completed the sweep with a 25-16 win.

As with Marquette, Davis led the team with 14 kills and two blocks against Fairfield. Senior middle blocker London Austin-Roark had a complete game, finishing with five kills, three aces and two blocks. Conner led all Aggies in assists with 27, and fifth-year senior defensive specialist Macy Carrabine led in digs with 21.

A&M wrapped up the tournament on Sunday, with a 10 p.m. bout against the hosting Hawaii Warriors. In the opening frame, neither squad was able to take a large lead. A kill by Davis knotted the score at 20, but the Rainbow Warriors pulled away to snag a 25-23 win.

After Hawaii took an early 3-0 lead in the second set, both teams brought the same back-and-forth intensity from the first. Kills by Austin-Roark and Talbert gave the Aggies a 9-6 lead, but a 10-2 run gave Hawaii substantial breathing room. A late comeback fell short, and the Rainbow Warriors took the set, 25-21. 

The Aggies looked flat at the start of the third set, falling behind 6-0. A fierce comeback, which included kills by Christon on four straight serves, gave the Aggies a 20-18 lead, but a late streak helped Hawaii complete the sweep with a 25-23 win.

Against Hawaii, Christon led the Aggies in kills with 16, while Connor had 32 assists without an error and Carrabine had 12 digs.

A&M head coach Laura ‘Bird’ Kuhn said she was pleased by the adjustments the Aggies made throughout the weekend and is confident the team will grow from the experience. 

“We’re learning a lot about this team and what it takes to earn our own points,” Kuhn said. “We were able to use our depth and make adjustments as the weekend progressed. We take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow as a team.”

Davis’s offensive dominance throughout the tournament was recognized, as she was one of just seven players to earn a spot on the all-tournament team after leading the Aggies with 37 kills. Kuhn complimented the junior’s ability to score as well as defend.

“Lauren [Davis] was consistent on both sides of the ball for us, and she earned this recognition,” Kuhn said. “She always knows the game plan. Lauren is a great teammate and makes those around her better with her positive energy.”

The A&M volleyball season continues on Sept. 1 when the Aggies take on Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif., at the Mott Athletics Center. The action is slated to begin at 9 p.m. Central Standard Time.

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