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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 swept by unranked Georgia in Reed Arena

Photo by CJ Smith

Head Coach Jamie Morrison addresses the team after dropping the first set during Texas A&M’s game against Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/ The Battalion)

After coming home from a four-game road winning stretch, Texas A&M volleyball lost to No. 17 Florida at home and fell short to Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 22, at Reed Arena.
A&M recently moved to the top of the NCAA leaderboard in blocks per set as a team and sophomore middle blocker Ifenna Cos-Okpalla continues to lead the nation in blocks per set.
Georgia was 3-4 in conference play with back-to-back wins at home and looked to secure a win on the road against the Aggies. The Aggies had first serve, but a mistake gave Georgia the ball. The Aggies answered with back-to-back kills, making the score 2-2.
Senior Georgia middle blocker Sophie Fischer answered with three aces against Maroon and White, pushing the Bulldogs’ lead 5-2. The Aggies seemed to be out of system with two errors and problems in serve-receive, but a much-needed kill by graduate outside hitter Caroline Meuth gave the momentum back to the home side.
The Georgia offense was led by graduate outside hitter Kacie Evans, who had three kills early in the match. The Wadsworth, Ohio native was on fire, and the A&M defense seemingly could not answer. A long rally ended in favor of the Bulldogs with a kill by sophomore outside hitter Estelle Haugen, making the score 14-9.
Freshman outside hitter Bianna Muoneke’s next kill stopped the bleeding for the Aggies, sending her to the service line with a chance to steal back the momentum.
“We did some work with [Muoneke] over the weekend,” coach Jamie Morrison said. “She made some really good changes and we saw that tonight.”
Meuth answered with two kills, hitting .429 and forcing Georgia coach Tom Black to call a timeout.
A block for the Aggies by sophomore outside hitter Lexi Guinn gave the momentum back to the home side and closed its gap, making the score 17-16, but another kill by Fischer pushed the Bulldogs ahead to 20-17 in the first set.
A kill by Muoneke and an attack error by Georgia kept A&M alive in the set, 24-23.
“We needed to get our offense firing,” Morrison said. “It was really, really hard to stop them.”
Graduate outside hitter Erica Staunton squashed any hope of a late rally from the Aggies, getting a kill and winning the set for the Bulldogs, 25-23.
The first set only had two blocks, meaning both defenses had to be on their toes and they did just that. For the Bulldogs, Evans led both teams with seven digs, trailed by junior Georgia setter Clara Brower. Sophomore libero Ava Underwood led the Aggies with four digs.
Sophomore opposite hitter Logan Lednicky was quiet in the first set with three kills, but helped push the Aggies to a 3-1 lead to open the second set. The Aggies have seemed to find their hitter-setter connection with junior setter Nisa Buzlutepe running the offense more efficiently in the second set.
The Bulldogs went on a 3-point run with two kills and an ace by Texas native Brower from the service line. The Aggies trailed 13-12, yet a kill by Muoneke wasn’t enough, as Georgia came out with two kills and an ace to make the score 16-14.
A block for A&M by sophomore middle blocker Morgan Perkins left the team trailing only by two at 21-19. A Georgia service error forced a timeout for the Bulldogs, and a kill by Muoneke on a stack play out of the middle gave the Aggies some hope, but they again came up short, 25-22.
In a must win set for A&M, an opening kill by Fischer gave Georgia the first point, but Lednicky answered with a deep line shot and tied the score at 1. A 4-point run for the Bulldogs left the Aggies in need of a side out. A service error helped, but the A&M defense could not answer Evans’ kill.
Using the Bulldogs’ errors to A&M’s advantage, Muoneke answered with a kill, and a big block by Cos-Okpalla pushed A&M on a 4-point run at 9-8.
A great set by freshman setter Margot Manning put Cos-Okpalla in position to score, and she executed with a huge kill right outside the ten-foot line. However, Fischer then came out with a block and two kills, pushing Georgia’s lead to 15-13.
A 3-point run by the Bulldogs caused out-of-system plays for the Maroon and White, and in a final attempt to win the set, Morrison called a timeout. An ace by Evans later made it match point for the Bulldogs, and a kill by Gooch concluded the match in favor of Georgia, 25-18.
The Aggies will next face Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Sunday, Oct. 29. First serve is set for 2 p.m.

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