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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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Volleyball comeback over No. 14 Florida on Senior Day makes it 12 straight

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Photo by: Alexis Will

The volleyball team cheers on their teammates during the close game on Sunday.

After going into intermission trailing two sets to none, the Aggies made one of their biggest comebacks of the season to win a thrilling 3-2 contest over No. 14 Florida on Senior Day.

“I can’t even describe the feeling,” senior middle blocker and team captain Shelby Sullivan said. “The love we have for each other and the game, and it shows out there. Just getting to go out on our last SEC home match on a win like that — it’s amazing.”

The Aggies struggled to finish out plays throughout the entire match and allowed costly points with various errors. A&M (21-6, 14-2 SEC) was not able to handle the Florida Gators (21-6, 13-5 SEC) early on, and Florida’s Alex Holston, Simone Antwi and Rhamat Alhassan overpowered A&M’s defense, to combine for nine of the Gators’ 13 kills in the opening set.

Florida only continued its dominance in the second, finishing out with an established hitting efficiency of .328 over A&M’s .155. Despite regained momentum, the Aggies still gave the Gators eight points in errors, which led to a 25-19 win for the Gators.

Senior hitter Angela Lowak said the players knew they were off at the beginning and just needed to find their rhythm. Once they got in their groove, Lowak said the Aggies knew they could finish with a win.

“There wasn’t that spark there that we had seen in our previous matches,” Lowak said. “It was all about our mentality, we knew we had the skills, but we had to change our mentality and get after it and know we are going to win [today]. I think that we just left it all out there, we’re going to go out there and we’re going to work for this win.”

A&M followed intermission with a dominant start to the third set where it was able to retain a lead, but the Gators tied up the score at 13-all. A&M missed the chance to capitalize on opportunities where UF’s Alhassan was subbed out as Antwi and Ziva Recek were able to fill in and cover with blocks and kills. A block and kill by freshman hitter Kaitlyn Blake’s tied the score, which pushed the Aggies to close out the set and regain the lead to win the set 25-22.

“Blake is a fearless freshman,” head coach Laurie Corbelli said. “She doesn’t know what she doesn’t know, she just says, ‘Give me the ball and I’m going to jump as high as I can and swing.’ Yes, she’s made tons of progress this year … She just brings the fire, it was contagious on our team. Honestly, that could have been a big part of the turning point when we had so much excitement. It’s such a hard thing for the opponent to handle.”

A fourth set win chartered with powerful kills by McGee and Babers allowed A&M to secure the comeback and win the match 3-2. The Aggies closed out the match below Florida’s .255 hitting percentage with only a .230 hitting percentage.

After the win, A&M is virtually the SEC champions and will return to the court Nov. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in Columbia, Missouri, to take on the Missouri Tigers. The Aggies previously met the Tigers on Nov. 4, where the Aggies swept the match.

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