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The Battalion

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The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M volleyball wins tournament

 
 

The Texas A&M volleyball team came into the Aggie Invitational with a chip on their shoulder from last season and a fire to come back as a completely different team.
With three games scheduled against Creighton and UTSA, A&M knew they would have competitive matches in front of them but that they were completely prepared for the task at hand.
Although the Bluejays proved their toughness, the Aggies swept them in the season opener in Reed Arena 25-22, 25-17, 25-16.
The Aggies struggled defensively in the first set against Creighton, but were able to regain their composure and take the 1-0 lead over the Bluejays.
After looking a little rusty early on, A&M took charge in the second game and caught Creighton off balance with every swing, showing their defensive weaknesses and inability to come back from behind.
Game three looked like a trial run for the Aggies, as junior libero Tori Mellinger moved to outside hitter, and junior transfer Megan Pendergast made her debut in the libero position.
Junior Alisia Kastmo showed that she is ready for the season and her responsibility on the right side after a tough season last year. Kastmo led the team with twelve kills in the first match against Creighton, followed by thirteen in the second to tie her career-high.
“It feels good to be able to contribute and that we got the wins,” Kastmo said. “I felt like this was a great way for us to start off the year; we came out really strong knowing our game plan and what we wanted to do in Reed Arena.”
UTSA was up next for A&M, who was fully prepared after the fight with Creighton. The Roadrunners, however, were less of a challenge for the home team, who recorded another sweep 25-23, 25-21, 25-21.
Senior hitter Kelsey Black showcased her power and ability posting 16 kills and hit .364 for the match. Kastmo again proved she is ready for her role, and junior middle blocker Lindsey Miller got involved in the action with nine kills.
While Whitney Walls and Dempsey Thornton each had nine kills for the Roadrunners, no player on the team had double digit kills and hit just .203 compared to the Aggies’ .301. The second set of the match showed a glimmer of hope for UTSA, who led 13-6 early. The maroon and white came back with a strong run to take command and finish the game. The final match of the tournament was an A&M-Creighton rematch. in which the Bluejays appeared better prepared against the Aggies.
“It is tough playing the same team twice, especially when we beat them the first time in three games because we felt like we knew what they did,” Mellinger said. “It was basically like playing a different team because they played completely different.”
The first set began in similar fashion to their previous meeting, with Creighton taking a quick lead and forcing the Aggies to play catch up early. Despite efforts from Creighton, A&M defeated them 25-22.
A&M’s only loss came in the second set, as they were having trouble defending against the small ball and again trying to make up the early deficit.
“I saw a little more fatigue that started to worry me a little bit, but I think we have enough depth and options to give people a few more breaks that they haven’t normally gotten,” Head Coach Laurie Corbelli said.
After a serious locker room talk, the Aggies charged out to take a 19-11 lead, but Creighton would not go away quietly as they tied it at 20 before A&M won 26-24.
Game four was the best game of the entire tournament, as the Aggies put away the Bluejays for good, 25-10. With a record of 3-0, A&M won the Aggie Invitational, followed by Creighton.
Allie Sawatzky, Miller, and Kastmo were named to the All-Tournament team while Black received the MVP award. Black finished the tournament with a combined 42 kills and 43 digs to begin her senior year.

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