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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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Pair of sweeps for tournament champions

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Photo by Photo by Abbey Santoro

Senior middleblocker Mallory Talbert capped off a successful weekend during the Texas A&M Invitational with a spot on the All-Tournament team. 

Texas A&M volleyball earned back-to-back sweeps against the University of Albany and the University of Texas at San Antonio to secure first place in the Texas A&M Invitational. Senior middleblocker Mallory Talbert made the All-Tournament team while fifth-year setter Camille Conner, took home tournament MVP.
The first game of the afternoon consisted of numerous runs for the Aggies and a couple of new faces on the court. Freshman outside hitter Faye Wilbricht and setter Nisa Buzlutepe came off the bench looking to make names for themselves during the match against Albany.
The two freshmen came in and made an instant impact on the court, Conner said.
“It was awesome to see our freshman come in,” Conner said. “Nisa came in and was a spark for the team, and seeing Faye come in and get two kills as well was really exciting to witness.”
The Aggies came out of the gates hot against the Great Danes in the first set. Conner started the game with an ace, leading to a 13-4 run for the Aggies. Junior outside hitter Ciera “CiCi” Hecht recorded her first kill of the tournament and landed a near perfect hitting percentage by nailing seven of her eight attacks. Talbert got back-to-back kills just before junior outside hitter Morgan Christon finished off the set with a kill of her own to win the set, 25-18.
Sets two and three for the Aggies were just as electric. Senior outside hitter Camryn Ennis earned two aces of her own during the second set, and Buzlutepe recorded her first assist of the tournament to Christon, who capitalized on the pass with a kill. Junior outside hitter Destiny Cox started off the third set the same way she finished the second, with a kill. This led to a 5-0 run for the Aggies which carried over to a 9-0 run, putting them up 18-6. Wilbricht shined in her debut as she put down her first kill of the tournament and sent Albany home with her second kill of the night.
The momentum carried over for the maroon and white as they went into their final game of the tournament. Right off the bat, they went on a 7-0 run, which consisted of two aces from senior middle blocker London Austin-Roark. A&M maintained its lead throughout the set and concluded the set with a triplet of kills from Christon.
The road trip to Hawaii was a confidence builder for the Aggies and led to their success in the Texas A&M Invitational, A&M coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn said.
“It was cool to see our team and how we continued to grow through this tournament,” Kuhn said. “Not [to] just grow as a team chemistry-wise, but how we executed and played clean was fun to see as well.”
A&M’s final game of the tournament was against UTSA, also taking place on Saturday, Sept. 11.
The Aggies started off rusty in the second but instantly turned it around after Talbert put down a kill to end an early 3-0 run by the Roadrunners. The rotation from the outsiders on the court and the ability to execute passes were key to them turning it around, Kuhn said. Conner, Cox and junior outside hitter Lauren Davis rotated kills later in the set, putting their team up 15-9. Davis also recorded the final kill of the set to win 25-17.
The final set of the night went back-and-forth, featuring eight ties and five lead changes. The Aggies were able to buckle down and go on a 7-1 run which consisted of an ace from fifth-year libero Macy Carrabine. Christon soon landed her 13th kill of the night, winning them the game and earning them the championship trophy. The Aggies had an all-around effort both defensively and offensively as they ended the match with 53 kills and 73 digs.
After winning first team all-tournament, Talbert said the trophy was just a reflection of how much time the team has spent working over the last few months.
“Every individual achievement boils down to the team,” Talbert said. “Anything that me and Camille get boils down to the team and shows how hard we worked to get here and how hard we worked to win this tournament.”
The Aggies will travel to San Marcos on Sept. 14 to face off the Texas State Bobcats and look to extend their current five-game win streak.

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