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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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Tennessee knocks A&M volleyball with 3-0 sweep

Photo by CJ Smith

Sophomore OH Bianna Muoneke (13) tips the ball during Texas A&M’s game against Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

After a loss to Georgia at home, Texas A&M volleyball had a week off to prepare for its last stretch of SEC competition, starting with No. 14 Tennessee on the road on Sunday, Oct. 29.
Leading the SEC with 14.8 kills per set, the Lady Vols started out with a 4-1 lead against the Aggies to open the first set. Sophomore middle blocker Ifenna Cos-Okpalla quickly answered and closed the gap with two kills and a block, setting the pace for the Maroon and White defense.
Four time SEC Freshman of the Week Caroline Kerr steadily ran the Tennessee offense and found chemistry with her hitters from the beginning of the set. The setter ended the match with 33 assists.
Graduate outside hitter Caroline Meuth sided out for A&M with two kills down the line. All-American graduate opposite hitter Morgahn Fingall became a threat from the right side for A&M, leading Tennessee with three kills. On the opposing side was freshman Bianna Muoneke, who led both teams with four kills before hitting 15 points.
Multiple errors for A&M allowed the Lady Vols to pull away with a 5-point lead, forcing coach Jamie Morrison to call a timeout in hopes of getting his team back into the opening set. It appeared to work by getting the Lady Vols out of system with two errors, and a kill by Cos-Okpalla allowed the Aggies to go on a 3-0 run and force a timeout.
Redshirt freshman opposite hitter Ital Lopuyo closed the gap by 4 points making the score 23-19. A service error by A&M closed the set in favor of Tennessee, 25-20.
A&M trailed behind Tennessee with only one block compared to the four put up by the Lady Vols in the first set. A much needed block for A&M was a vital adjustment in order to shut down the Tennessee offense and force it to work around the defense.
The second set looked different with both teams alternating points. Both did a good job of running a clean offense and finding the holes in the opposing defensive lineups. Adjustments were made for A&M as it took Morrison’s advice of playing with urgency.
Graduate outside hitter Jenaisya Moore made her way into the game, bringing in a kill for the Lady Vols and tying the score at 5. A long rally ended in favor of Tennessee with a kill by sophomore middle blocker and SEC All-Freshman Team selection Keondreya Granberry, pushing the lead 9-6.
An overpass by Tennessee allowed the opportunity for sophomore middle blocker Morgan Perkins to make a big play at the net, resulting in a kill and momentum for A&M. Down by 1, the Aggies looked to keep the serve, but a crushing block by graduate middle blocker Raeven Chase turned into a 5-0 run and 17-11 score for the home team.
Back-to-back aces for the Aggies allowed a 3-0 run, but it was brought to a halt by yet another error for Tennessee. Trailing behind Fingall for the Lady Vols, junior outside hitter Erykah Lovett had seven kills in the second set.
Trailing by 7, the Aggies needed to side out and adjust to the efficient and effective Lady Vol offense. A kill by Cos-Okpalla in hopes of using the momentum was not enough for A&M, and a stifling block by Granberry and Fingall led to a 25-16 second set loss for the Aggies.
A block by Chase opened the second set. Fingall then added a kill, securing a dozen kills for her team. Muoneke answered with a block for Maroon and White that tied the score at 2.
The Aggies had more side out success but could never seem to get on a run with four consecutive service errors. Sophomore libero Ava Underwood scored from the service line, giving the Aggies hope and once again tying the match at 9.
Using her court vision, Moore brought in two kills and found the weaknesses in the A&M defense, making the score 13-10. Muoneke and Meuth answered on the pins, collectively scoring two kills for Maroon and White to close the gap, 13-12.
Fingall almost doubled the Aggies’ offensive leader Muoneke with 15 kills in the match. An unsuccessful challenge by Morrsion made the score 16-14.
A kill by Preseason All-SEC sophomore opposite hitter Logan Lednicky made the score 18-16. Quiet in the first two sets and uncharacteristic of her normal performance, Lednicky only had one kill in the match.
A 3-0 run for A&M forced a timeout for Tennessee. Coming out of the timeout and trailing by 1 point, the Aggies looked to close the gap, but A&M’s 14th service error gave the ball right back to Tennessee.
A long rally landed in favor of the Lady Vols with a kill from Moore making the score 24-21. Meuth kept the Aggies still breathing with a kill, but another service error concluded the match in favor of Tennessee, 25-22.
Next, the Aggies will face Alabama at home on Friday, Nov. 3. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.

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