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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Volleyball defeats Mississippi State in straight sets

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Photo by By Kate Hanson
Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State Volleyball

After losing to no. 1 ranked Florida on Wednesday night, Texas A&M (5-7, 2-3 SEC) got back to winning ways this afternoon, defeating the Mississippi State Bulldogs (9-12, 0-6 SEC) in straight sets, 25-20, 25-15, 25-13.
The Aggies started the match off strong with freshman setter Camille Conner getting an ace on the first serve of the game. State matched the strong play in the early part of the first set with some huge blocks, limiting the rhythm of the Aggie’s attack.
After going down 8-4, head coach Laurie Corbelli used her first time out of the match. During the timeout, Corbelli challenged her team to step up their game and play how they were accustomed to.
“Some of the details are getting forgotten sometimes,” Corbelli said. “I challenged them that this is not what we do, and to make the changes and see the results of those changes.”
Corbelli also challenged her team to pick up their intensity.
“I think they knew also, that they weren’t quite in a rhythm yet and they needed to work harder to get in that rhythm,” Corbelli said.
After the timeout, the Aggies roared back, rattling off five straight points, and jumped out to a commanding lead.
Much of the Aggies first set success came from junior Kaitlyn Blake who had three kills in the set.  
“Setting the tone early is a really big thing for us because if we get the middles going early, they have to worry about all three hitters, and if they’re worrying about all three hitters then the team attack we have is incredible,” Blake said.
The first set was extremely competitive with eight tie scores and six lead changes, however, the Aggies attack overpowered the Bulldogs down the stretch, and the Aggies won the first set 25-20.
A&M took its momentum from the first set into the early parts of the second set, going up 8-6. The Aggies then went on a dominant run, winning 10 out of the next 12 points. Kiara McGee had three straight kills and four assists in the run, showing signs of her immense improvement from last season, in all phases of the game.
“She’s just gotten four years of experience, and she’s really rising to the occasion and it’s wonderful to see,”Corbelli said.
From there, the Aggies finished the set off strong, winning 25-15.
The Aggies jumped out to a 3-2 lead in the first set thanks to two kills from freshman Samantha Sanders, who was extremely aggressive in her kills, which she attributes for improved confidence.
“This year is my first time to play in this position [right outside hitter] so just continuing to get more reps just makes me more comfortable,” Sanders said.
A&M simply overpowered State in the rest of the set with violent hits and strong defensive play that didn’t leave any gaps for the Bulldogs to penetrate. The Aggies won eight out of the last nine points, four of which came on attack errors by State. The Aggies won the third set 25-13, and defeated the Bulldogs 3-0 in the match.
Despite the subpar opponent, Corbelli expressed the strength of a loaded SEC conference.
“The SEC is one of the best volleyball conferences in the country,” Corbelli said. “It’s good to get a win, and get a win with a convincing score and with some really nice attacking numbers.”
The Aggies will look to use this win as a warmup as they travel to face the No. 10 ranked Kentucky Wildcats on Wednesday night in a matchup that has been historically competitive.
“We go there and we play them really, really well. We’ve had opportunities to win there so many times. It’s not easy, but it’s always a really hard fought match. We just intend to go in and bring our best game and that’s all we have control over,” Corbelli said.
The game against Kentucky will start at 7 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.

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