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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 outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

Volleyball falls to No. 4 Kentucky in straight sets at home

Block+by+Hollann+Hans+and+Morgan+Davis
Photo by Kate Hanson

Block by Hollann Hans and Morgan Davis

After a narrow five-set victory against Tennessee on Friday, the Aggies had their hands full Sunday as No. 4 Kentucky—perfect in conference play— came to Reed Arena. Kentucky’s explosive net presence overpowered A&M, leading to Kentucky winning in straight sets, 25-19, 25-18, 25-17.
Despite the similar result in terms of sets won, A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli said the Aggies had a much better start to the game than they had against Kentucky in the first meeting on the road in Lexington.
“When we played at Kentucky we had an absolutely unacceptable start and finished doing some really good things, this time we started off with some good things and then [dropped off],” Corbelli said.
The Aggies got off to a hot start in the first set, tying the first set at 11-11. Senior outside hitter Kiara McGee then smashed three kills in the next four points which helped the Aggies take a 15-13 lead into the first media timeout.
“I thought the first set was pretty good, I thought we were going to be there neck-and-neck the whole time and the talk has been ‘let’s pull this thing out,’” Corbelli said.
Attack errors prohibited the Aggies from winning the set, as they finished the first set with five attack errors, three of which came in the set’s final five points.
“We made unforced errors, not only did they score lots of points, we scored lots of points for them,” Corbelli said. “That puts you in almost an impossible situation [to win].”
The Aggies also struggled to serve as effectively as they have done so well throughout the season, something that disappointed Corbelli.
“We’ve been serving so well but we let up on our serving today and you can’t do that against anyone, much less a top-10 team,” Corbelli said.
McGee led the Aggies again in the second set with two kills, and really found her groove, which she attributes to confidence.
“Every swing I went up, knowing what I wanted to do with the ball and I knew my body knew how to do that. I went up [on each swing] with confidence knowing what I wanted to do.” McGee said.
However, attack errors proved costly again in the set, as the Aggies found themselves down 19-11 after they had nine attack errors. The Aggies then rattled off five straight points, clawing their way back into the set. Their effort proved to be too little, too late and the Wildcats won the set 25-18.
Kentucky started the third set off with a 13-6 run and the Aggies showed some signs of life, with strong play from McGee and freshman setter Camille Conner, who finished the set with 20 assists. Attempting to come back in the third set against the No. 4 team in the Nation is no easy feat, and the Aggies squandered any chance at the miraculous comeback as they had seven attack errors in the set, falling 25-17.
The Aggies saw strong performances from McGee and Conner, however, they had little help from their teammates. Corbelli said that production from a couple players instead of the whole team has plagued the Aggies throughout the season.
“Some nights we’ll have this player and this player but not a glimpse of this one,” Corbelli said.
The loss puts the Aggies tied for tenth place in the SEC (4-7 SEC) and an overall record of (7-11) on the season.
“We’re really, really, young. I’ve had three of my starters for nine weeks coming out of high school. I believe in my players, they’re really good volleyball players, half of them just don’t know what they’re doing half the time,” Corbelli said. “These are the years you have to have a lot of patience and focus on growth and take it a game at a time.”
The Aggies will face Missouri (14-9, 7-3 SEC) on the road Friday night at 6:30 p.m. The game will be televised on SEC Network+.

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