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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’s 15-game winning streak, season comes to an end in Hawaii’s sweep

The Texas A&M volleyball team’s season came to an end after being swept on its home court by Hawaii in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The No. 15 Aggies (25-7, 16-2 SEC) lately struggled with longer plays, and it finally came back to bite them Whether it was not being able to keep the ball within the lines on attacks or make any defensive stands, Hawaii simply outplayed A&M. The three sets ended with a final tally of 25-22, 25-19 and 25-20, respectively.

“Personally, I wanted to get to this match,” Hawaii head coach Dave Shoji said. “We’ve gotten here in the past and we haven’t been able to advance to the Regional in some time. For me, it was a very, very important match for us to get over this hump. They played so well over the year that no matter what happened tonight, I think we were going to be happy about it.”

No. 7 Hawaii (27-1, 16-0 Big West Conference) made the correct adjustments early in the match to find open spots in the court, spreading out A&M’s defense. When A&M’s defense was bunched up, UH’s Kalei Greeley would attack the back corners. If the Aggies were spread out, Emily Maglio would attack the inside.

“Hawaii had a relatively flawless night,” Texas A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli said. “They produced 18 kills in set one and we only produced 11, and I think that possibly had us wondering if we were going to be able to get our offense going…They just executed flawlessly. I thought some of the earlier shots they had we should have taken easier.”

To counter, Hawaii was able to receive and successfully reset attack attempts by A&M’s most powerful hitters — Kiara McGee, Shelby Sullivan and Jazzmin Babers. On various occasions, the Wahine completely immobilized Babers, leaving A&M struggling to find someone to replace its best hitter.

After a total of 59 total attack attempts against TCU in the first round, Hawaii’s Nikki Taylor continued to get a lot of exposure against the Aggies Saturday night. Her efforts were rounded out by Greeley and Maglio, which made it difficult for A&M to find any harmony on defense.

The lackluster defense and inability to finish plays juxtaposed the entire theme of the season thus far for the Aggies. From being able to comeback against powerhouses like Florida to an overall comeback season, the momentum seemed dormant. Gabby Litwin and Emily Hardesty demonstrated a hopelessness of defending multiple attacks primarily by UH’s Taylor. Taylor even gave A&M’s libero Amy Nettles trouble.

“They played a great game,” senior team captain Shelby Sullivan said. “We tried getting it going and it didn’t come out as strong as it had been in the past… I’m so thankful for this team and the last year of my volleyball career getting to play with them, and all of this support we have for each other on and off of the court. [Me and Angela Sullivan] are so grateful and thankful to everyone.”
The Aggies lose two seniors in Angela Lowak and Shelby Sullivan. Not only did their careers at A&M end, but the streak of 15 straight victories also came to a close. Hawaii will return to the court to face Penn State in the Regions Finals of the NCAA tournament in Des Moines, Iowa, next weekend.

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