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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 open conference play with win over Alabama

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Photo by Photo by Abbey Santoro

Senior middle blocker Mallory Talbert matched her career high total of 14 kills. 

Texas A&M volleyball began the gauntlet of SEC play with a 3-1 victory over Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday, Sept. 22.
The win improved the Aggies’ record to 8-3, giving head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn a 4-0 record in conference openers while at A&M. The importance of starting out on the right foot in conference play can’t be overstated, as the Aggies have matchups with powerhouses South Carolina, Tennessee and Ole Miss in the coming weeks, Kuhn said.
“It’s always good to come on the road in the SEC,” Kuhn said. “I know our team was excited to get started, and we know that road wins are going to be a grind. The SEC is strong from top to bottom, so to come away with this win is just a testament to how we came in and finished.”
Statistically, the A&M offense was led by junior outside hitter Morgan Christon, who churned out 22 kills, as well as fifth year setter Camille Conner, who had 44 assists. The defense was paced by University of Denver transfer Macy Carrabine, whose 23 digs represent a career-high at A&M.
The maroon and white got off to a hot start in the first set, garnering a 14-10 lead before the Crimson Tide began to slowly whittle away. Mistakes such as serving errors and penalties contributed to a large portion of the Tide’s points. Alabama picked up its first lead late in the set at the 20-19 mark, finishing on a 5-1 run to take the opening-set victory.
Alabama began the second set just as it had ended the first, getting out to a 9-5 lead. However, three consecutive kills by Christon helped the Aggies regain the lead at 10-9. This made up what was a 7-0 run by the Aggies, in which Christon added two additional kills. From here, the A&M offense exploded, finishing on a 20-5 run for a 25-14 victory after all was said and done.
Kuhn said she had high praise for Christon, who proved to be the spark the Aggies needed to find their rhythm in the match.
“Morgan found a rhythm and she moved the ball around,” Kuhn said, “I think Camille [Conner] did a great job finding her and setting her in good spots. I give props to Morgan for sure, and Camille for just running the show the way she did.”
The third set was much closer, with the Crimson Tide getting off to a 7-4 lead before Christion recorded three more kills to put the maroon and white up 12-9. The set became a back-and-forth affair until the end. Despite a 3-0 run by Alabama at the Aggies’ set point, A&M senior middle blocker Mallory Talbert’s seventh kill of the match helped A&M win the set at 25-22.
The third set also saw the return of senior libero Allison Fields to the A&M rotation, adding valuable depth to the Aggies’ rotation. A&M reached set point following an ace from Fields.
“For Allie [Fields] to come in there and get an ace is not even surprising to me,” Kuhn said. “That is just who she is, and I am so pumped for her. I am so proud to have her back. She has contagious energy, so it feels good to see her out there.”
Refusing to go out without a fight, the Crimson Tide battled to keep the fourth set within one point until a 4-0 run powered by two kills from junior Lauren Davis gave A&M a lead it would hang onto for the rest of the night. Keeping with the theme of the match, Christon single-handedly engineered yet another 5-0 run to give the maroon and white a 22-13 lead. The Aggies finished the set with a 25-16 win, taking the victory in the match as well.
A&M bested the Crimson Tide in all aspects of the game, finishing with 58 kills, 68 digs, seven aces and a .261 hitting percentage. Christon, Davis and senior London Austin-Roark led the Aggies in kills, while Conner recorded 44 of the Aggies’ 55 total assists.
A&M continues its SEC schedule on Sunday, Sept. 26, when it welcomes the 9-2 South Carolina Gamecocks to Aggieland. First serve is set for 1:00 p.m. at Reed Arena.

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