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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 to test winning streak at Kentucky

Texas+A%26M+volleyball
Photo by Photo by: Kevin Chou
Texas A&M volleyball

A week of rest after three straight sweeps may give the Aggie  volleyball team enough momentum to clinch a victory as they head to Kentucky for an SEC powerhouse battle. 

A&M (13-6, 6-2 SEC) will take on the No. 20 Kentucky Wildcats (15-6, 8-1 SEC) Friday. Two players from each team have been designated as this week’s SEC Players of the Week — for A&M, they are sophomore Kiara McGee and sophomore Stephanie Aiple.

The Wildcats currently stand atop the SEC standings with an impressive 8-1 record. The team’s only loss came at home against the Florida Gators. The Wildcats’ home record is 7-2 on the season.

Both teams have competed in eight conference games and SEC standings are starting to fall into place for the final push towards the NCAA tournament. UK and A&M have beaten South Carolina, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss, but both have lost to Florida. Senior middle blocker Shelby Sullivan has resurged from her injury with the help of Aiple, elevating her play once again in the LSU game. 

“We got down the first couple of points [of the third set], but I got [Sullivan] on fire,” Aiple said. “She just kept slamming the ball down and getting kills, and she got back to serve and gets two aces, she digs a ball. I think that momentum from the crowd and from our court brought to life this energy.”

The challenge will be anything but easy for the Aggies, but if they pay attention to a few key players, the Aggies may be able to pull off the upset. Kentucky’s Darian Mack dominates the offensive side with 254 kills, while Kaz Brown leads the defense with nearly 120 total blocks on the season, earning her this week’s SEC Player and Defensive Player of the Week honors. Ashley Dusack is the team’s libero and averages over five digs per set.

For SEC weekly honors, Dusack has earned Defensive Player of the Week twice. Texas A&M knows plenty of young talent with a roster of fulfilling sophomores, but Kentucky’s Brooke Morgan has captured Freshman of the Week now three times on the season, including this week.

“I think this break for us falls at a really good time if we take the opportunity to rejuvenate and get the rest our bodies need and our minds need,” A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli said. “We just had a talk about it and how Monday when we come back, we need everybody to show that reenergized self and bring everything they can to get us back into our competitive mode.”

The Aggies will challenge the Wildcats Friday at 6 p.m. in Lexington, Kentucky to try and top the SEC standings. The game will be available for viewing on SEC Network.

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