No. 20 Texas A&M hands Volleyball first loss of season
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Three Texas A&M players recorded double-figure kills, led by junior Laura Jones' 27, as the No. 20 Aggies handed the No. 9 Texas volleyball team its first loss of the year, a 3-1 (32-34, 30-24, 30-27, 30-21) contest, before a season-high 3,150 fans at G. Rollie White Coliseum on Saturday evening.
The loss snapped Texas's (16-1, 8-1 Big 12) 16-match winning streak, which was tied for the nation's longest entering the week. Texas A&M improved to 10-5 overall and 6-3 in the Big 12.
The match was the teams' first meeting as part of the inaugural State Farm Lone Star Shootout. With the victory, Texas A&M scored 1/2 point for the Aggies season point tally, bringing the season-to-date standings to Texas A&M 1.5, Texas 0. Earlier this year, Texas A&M defeated the UT soccer team, 3-1, in College Station.
Three Longhorns recorded double-doubles in the loss. Senior All-American Mira Topic (Kastela Kambelovac, Croatia) had 25 kills and 20 digs, sophomore Dariam Acevedo (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) had 13 kills and 14 digs, and freshman Michelle Moriarty (Houston, Texas) had a career-high 62 assists and 11 digs.
Senior Bethany Howden (Austin, Texas) had 19 kills, while both UT freshmen defensive players recorded double-figure digs: Alyson Jennings (Costa Mesa, Calif.) had a career-high 20 and Sarah Holloway added 11.
Texas A&M held UT to its season-low hitting percentage (.154), while the Aggies hit .257, marking the first time a Longhorn opponent hit for better than .250 in 2004. A&M out-blocked Texas, 17.0 to 7.0, as senior Melissa Munsch had a match-best nine.
"We didn't execute tonight," Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott said. "We were out of our systems all night and we became predictable as the match wore on. We didn't pass well tonight, and that was the beginning of our problems.
"Texas A&M played very well tonight, and we knew that they would come in fired up. We just didn't match that intensity. (Laura) Jones had a phenomenal night and we didn't do anything to stop her. This is a tough loss to take, but G. Rollie is one of the hardest places to play in the country and A&M used the crowd's enthusiasm to build momentum through the match. We just didn't step to match them," Elliott said.
In game one, Texas A&M took a quick 4-0 lead, but the Horns climbed back to tie the game at 6-6. UT then pulled ahead by eight points at 20-12, using a 9-3 run, but the Aggies climbed all the way back with their own 9-1 run to tie the score at 21-21. From that point, the two teams traded points until A&M pulled ahead 25-23 and continued to maintain a two-point advantage until Texas pulled back even at 29-29 on an Acevedo kill.
The Aggies went back ahead at 30-29 and then again at 31-30. After an A&M service error and a block by Howden and Jen Christian (Gilbert, Ariz.), UT took its first game point at 32-31, which A&M saved with Munsch kill. Texas came right back with another game point from Howden, and took the game, 34-32, after a Texas A&M attack error.
In the second game, Texas pulled out by three points at 9-6, but a quick 5-0 run by A&M gave the Aggies a lead it would not surrender for the rest of the game. Texas got as close as one point - at 24-23 - but A&M reeled off a 5-0 run, bookended by a pair of Kendra Felder kills, and then ended the game with a Jones kill.
The Longhorns opened a 7-3 lead in the third game before Texas A&M used a 6-2 run to move ahead 10-8. Texas chipped away and played evenly with the Aggies as the two teams traded points until back-to-back A&M errors pulled the two teams even at 21-21. The Aggies responded with a 7-2 run and went ahead 28-23, but back-to-back Christian kills and two straight A&M errors got the Horns back within one point at 28-27. Two straight A&M kills, capped by a Jones swing, gave game three to Aggies, 30-27.
In the final game, UT again built an early lead and saw the Aggies come back. After taking a 10-5 edge, Texas squandered it as the Aggies put together a 5-0 run to tie the game at 10-10. After a Topic kill that gave UT an 11-10 lead, the Horns fell behind for the rest of the night. A&M posted an 8-2 run to extend a 18-13 lead. The Horns came right back with a 4-0 run of their own, pulling within one point (19-18), but A&M responded with its own 9-1 run to put the game and match out of reach.
The victory was Texas A&M's seventh win in a row at home against Texas.
The ninth-ranked Longhorns return to action on Wednesday, Oct. 20, when fourth-ranked Nebraska comes to Gregory Gym for a key Big 12 Conference match-up. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.