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

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

The Battalion

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Volleyball finding their rhythm

Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel

Senior outside hitter Kiara McGee finished Sunday’s game with 12 kills, 35 total assists and three blocks. 

The Aggie volleyball team (6-8, 3-4 SEC) got back on track Sunday afternoon after a tough loss last Wednesday, coming from behind to beat No. 21 Auburn (11-6, 4-4 SEC) 16-25, 25-22, 27-25 and 25-19.
The Aggies got off to a slow start in the match, as they were caught out of position in several instances and overall weren’t playing in the style they were accustomed to. The Aggies found themselves trailing 11-6 in the first set and A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli used her first timeout to settle the team down.
“The first set we were getting overwhelmed with their pace and speed and we were trying to match it,” Corbelli said. “We have a fast style but not that fast.”
A&M came out of the time out with some new energy, garnering three blocks and getting back in the game, cutting the Auburn lead to 14-10. Senior Kiara McGee was dominant in the set with four kills and 11 assists however, the Aggies were unable to match Auburn’s speed in the first set, losing 25-16.
Throughout the season, the Aggies have struggled to come back after they have gone down a set but, senior Amy Nettles said they weren’t going to let that happen again in this match.
“I looked at the score and I was like, ‘Alright let’s see what we’re made of, let’s show people that we can finish,’” Nettles said.
The second set was much more competitive, leading to many long points. The two teams traded blows and found themselves deadlocked at 15-15.
After a media timeout, the Aggies began to settle in and started to play their tempo. Sophomore Hollann Hans had a crucial ace to put the Aggies ahead 23-21 in the set. Auburn then got a kill followed by their tenth service error of the game, putting the Aggies at match point at 24-22.
“Once we settled down and realized that we needed to play our style, I thought we did a lot better,” Corbelli said.
Nettles then set the ball to freshman Samantha Sanders who violently spiked the ball down on Auburn’s side, clinching the second set win for A&M 25-22 and evening out the sets won by either team at one apiece.
Auburn started the third set off strong, going on an 8-2 run and making it clear they weren’t going down without a fight. Corbelli used a timeout to slow Auburn’s momentum and let her girls to regain focus.
Despite the fast start by Auburn, McGee said she had complete faith in herself and her teammates ability to compete.
“After that timeout, I came out and in my mind I said we are not losing, we will do what it takes, and I fully trust in my team and we are fully capable of pulling this off,” McGee said.
Despite the Aggies trailing the Tigers, A&M kept its composure and chipped away at Auburn’s lead. As the Tigers led 15-8 and had just gone on a three-point run, chances of A&M winning the game dwindled.
However, Auburn’s run was negated by a four-point run by the Aggies, who narrowed their deficit to 15-12. The Aggies continued to close the gap in the third set and found themselves tied 25-25 after a kill by McGee.
The Aggies then closed out the set via a kill from Gabby Litwin and an attacking error from Auburn. A&M won eight out of the last 10 points, taking the set 27-25.
The Aggies kept the momentum going and began the fourth set on a 7-2 run. A&M dominated at the net, getting big kills from Sanders and McGee. The strong command at the net proved lethal for Auburn and the Aggies took the fourth set 25-19 and the match, 3-1.
Though it wasn’t how the team wanted to start the match, McGee said they pulled out a victory over a tough Auburn team.
“We strapped in and focused up and ultimately got the job done,” McGee said.
After the match, Corbelli said Auburn gave A&M one of its best matches and it was a testament to the talent the Tigers have on their roster.
“It’s the most diverse team, the way they send the ball across at different angles that we just don’t see that often,” Corbelli said. “I’m so glad we don’t have to play at Auburn.”
Corbelli said she was proud of her team’s resilience, particularly in the third set.
“The play looked like what we see quite often in practice, we’ve got some awesome players that when they all put it together, it helps us get into Aggie volleyball,” Corbelli said.
The Aggies will look to build off of this much-needed win as they host Arkansas on Friday, Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

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