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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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Intramural volleyball team proves skill triumphs size

Photo by Idani Cantu
Senior Jessica Fergurson of the SmartAces spikes during the first set on Feb. 8 at the Student Rec Center. The SmartAces went on to win after a tiebreaker set.

With only four on the floor, the SmartAces women’s competitive intramural volleyball team won the first match of the season on Thursday, Feb. 8 at the Student Rec Center.

The SmartAces started strong in the 11 p.m. season opener, defeating opponent I’d Hit That 2-1 despite not having six players on the court. Years of playing on multiple intramural teams is what players on the SmartAces said made it possible to win while being two players short. They hope to keep the momentum alive heading into the rest of the season before playoffs.

Despite being short-handed against I’d Hit That, who had a full roster plus four players on the bench, biomedical sciences junior and captain Blakeli Duckworth, biomedical sciences junior Taylor Wilson, public health junior Hannah Zgabay and accounting senior Jessica Fergurson played in different key positions to get the win.

“We expected six to seven people, but some girls couldn’t show up,” Duckworth said.

The SmartAces’ teamwork showed during the 45-minute match of back-and-forth rallies between the two teams with multiple saves from the SmartAces. It was Duckworth who put the “ace” in SmartAces, scoring the first ace off a set by Zgabay before going on to win 25-14.

“I was pretty proud of my setting,” Zgabay said. “I’m not a setter. I’m more of a front-row hitter.”

During the second set, I’d Hit That came back strong with a tough defense, winning with a 25-18 score.

The SmartAces sealed the victory during the third tie-breaking set. After a shank error by I’d Hit That, SmartAces finished 15-9 for the win.

A positive mindset in the game even when falling behind was key, Ferguson said.

“I was feeling pretty skeptical about only having four [players], especially with the other team being able to have subs and be more fresh,” Fergurson said.

Currently playing on two other recreational volleyball teams, Duckworth said this is her sixth consecutive semester participating in intramural sports, and she has been on at least one to two teams every semester. Having played volleyball since junior high, as well as club volleyball, Duckworth noted in an email that she traveled all over the country in high school. Her positions are middle blocker and right hitter.

Last semester was Zgabay’s first time participating in intramural sports, playing sand volleyball as a right-side and middle hitter. Zgabay said she played club and high school volleyball, advancing to the Texas 3A Volleyball State Championship her junior year.

Wilson said she is also a member of another coed indoor volleyball team with Duckworth and
has been playing volleyball since she was in high school, adding she has played both indoor and sand volleyball the past four semesters at Texas A&M.

Spring marks seven semesters playing intramural rec sports for Fergurson, who said she is also on a coed volleyball team and has played intramural sand volleyball at A&M before. She noted she started playing volleyball in the first grade at her local YMCA and has continued to play as an outside hitter.

After the victory, Wilson was able to laugh about only having four players.

“You never know what you’re going to expect, but we pulled it out,” Wilson said.

The SmartAces will play the Aceholes on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 10:50 p.m. at the Student Rec Center. The team is scheduled to play three games in February to determine the ranking for the March end-of-season championship tournament.

Idani Cantu is an agricultural communication and journalism senior and contributed this from the course JOUR 359, Reporting Sports, to The Battalion.

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About the Contributor
Idani Cantu, Sports Writer
Idani Cantu is a senior Agricultural Communication and Journalism major.
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