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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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Texas A&M volleyball downs South Carolina in four sets

Freshman+L%2FDS+Ava+Underwood+%2812%29+serves+the+ball+at+Reed+Arena+on+Friday%2C+Sept.+2%2C+2022.
Photo by Photo by Cameron Johnson

Freshman L/DS Ava Underwood (12) serves the ball at Reed Arena on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022.

Texas A&M volleyball traveled to Columbia, S.C., for a match on Friday, Oct. 28, coming off a weekend split against Kentucky at home. A&M shook up the conference after upsetting No. 16 Kentucky in Reed Arena and worked to redeem themselves on this road match after the recent loss, according to head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn.
South Carolina, also coming off a loss to LSU, headed into this match with high intensity, eager to get a home-court win. A&M led the match aggressively 2-0 but lost consistency and fell in Set 3 to the Gamecocks. The Aggies were able to readjust effectively for Set 4 to pull the win and finish 3-1 against South Carolina.
South Carolina’s defense adjusted quickly in the early part of Set 1 and stuffed several A&M hits with seven total blocks, compared to two from the maroon and white. The Aggies were the first to 20 points and prompted a Gamecock timeout. A quick 3-point run from South Carolina caused a returned A&M timeout at 20-all. Graduate setter Elena Karakasi hit her sneaky second-hit dump for the first time in the match, a move she likes to make to “open up the court” for her hitters. A&M secured the Set 1 win 26-24. Despite the solid defense, freshman opposite hitter Logan Lednicky led the first set with six kills, followed by five from graduate outside hitter Caroline Meuth. Lednicky currently leads the SEC in kills and points and is third in the nation’s freshman class with 355.5 points.
A&M continued to struggle and move its offense around the block in Set 2 but was offset by South Carolina’s inability to get in an offensive groove. The Gamecocks were able to push out of a 3-point hole and tied it up 14-all. A&M successfully pulled away from South Carolina and executed the Set 2 win 25-17.
The A&M block came alive in Set 3 and effectively put more stops to the South Carolina offense. A&M maintained a marginal gap at the beginning of the set but struggled to stay consistent when South Carolina went on a quick 4-point run to create the 14-10 lead. The Gamecocks continued to command the set to 20 points, and A&M trailed by five. Lednicky changed the tone and put down back-to-back kills out of the timeout and pulled the Aggies back within three points of the opponents. Despite the offensive readjustment shown at the end of the set, South Carolina took back Set 3 25-22 and forced the match to a four-set minimum.
A&M came out hot in Set 4 and quickly secured a 9-3 lead. South Carolina quickly responded and closed the gap to 9-7. The Aggies finished out aggressively with junior libero Lauren Hogan on a massive seven-serve run to finish 25-12 and win the match 3-1 against South Carolina.
The leaders in this match were Meuth with 20 kills and Lednicky with 16 kills and four blocks. Karakasi hit her ninth double-double of the season with 10 digs and 40 assists. Freshman defensive specialist Ava Underwood led the defense with 13 total digs, along with three assists.
The Aggies were able to readjust their play swiftly, and the team’s chemistry was visible in Set 4 coming off the Set 3 loss. This type of consistency is something that A&M has struggled with throughout the season.
“I love the way this team fights,” Kuhn said. “We executed at a high level throughout the match. The team is trusting and believing in each other, and you can really feel it.”
A&M will head home for its next match in Reed Arena against Alabama on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m.

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