A&M Volleyball Sweeps Bears

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WACO -- Texas A&M tallied its first Big 12 Conference road victory of the season, defeating Baylor, 30-27, 30-24, 30-24, in front of 875 at the Ferrell Center.

It marked the Aggies’ eighth straight win at Baylor, as they improve to 12-3 for the season, including 2-3 in the Big 12. Baylor suffers its fifth straight home loss of the season and falls to 8-7, 1-4.

“Our serving and passing was really steady,” A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. “Sometimes we’ve had some breakdowns in our serving and passing that have really affected the rest of our game, and they didn’t let them affect them this time, and that was one big key of the match.

A&M held a 22-17 lead in Game 1 when Baylor went on a 10-2 run to take a 27-24 lead, its second lead of the frame. A&M’s Darla Donaldson, who replaced starting middle blocker Kelly Stanton at 26-24, then posted back-to-back kills, and an ace by Mary Batis tied the score for the 12th time. A Baylor attack into the net gave A&M a 28-27 lead. Donaldson then teamed with setter Kristen Schevikhoven to block an attack by Katie Sanders to put the Aggies serving for the game. Sarah Ammerman then put down the game-winning kill.

“Stanton was hitting .330 and doing okay, but we know that Darla brings a spark,” Corbelli said. “We leave her as our seventh player to be in a spot where we can insert her in for one of three different players and let her bring her great blocking and the other things she offers. So we were kind of looking for that first opportunity, and we decided to see what would happen. And when it was working, it was a great feeling. Part of her personality is just a real fighter and super aggressive, and that was really something the team needed at that point.”

A&M used a four-point run to go up 15-12 and take its second lead in Game 2. Baylor managed to tie the score at 19-all and again at 21-all. Donaldson then got a kill, and Schevikhoven posted back-to-back kills to start a five-point run. A ball handling error ended the run, and the teams traded points before a block by Bates and Jillian Phillips gave the Aggies a 29-24 lead. Kelsey Bryant and Donaldson followed with a block to clinch the game and give the Aggies a two-game lead heading into the break.

Baylor took its second lead of Game 3 at 17-16, but a kill by Phillips tied the score. She then combined with Bryant to block an attack by Ashlie Christenson to give the Aggies an 18-17 lead. A&M continued to score, building a 22-17 lead. Baylor answered with a four-point run to get within 22-21 and force an A&M timeout. Baylor came out of the timeout and served into the net, and Donaldson made the Bears pay on the ensuing play, putting down an errant overpass for a kill. The teams traded points, and at 25-23, A&M reeled off four straight points to go up, 29-23, and take its biggest lead of the game. Breyfogle ended the run and kept the Bears alive with her 11th kill of the match before Schevikhoven put down her career-high seventh kill of the match.

Phillips led the Aggies with a career-tying 11 kills, while hitting at a .421 clip. Ammerman finished with 10 kills and a team-leading 14 digs. Jen Moore tied her career high with 13 digs, and Batis also added 14. Stephanie Cadavid also reached double digits in digs with a season-high 12.

Bryant, Donaldson and Phillips tied for the team lead in blocks with five apiece as A&M posted 11 total blocks to Baylor’s five.

Sanders led the Bears with 14 kills, and Sarah Grace was one of five Bears to reach double figures in digs as she tallied a match-high 21.

As a team, A&M outhit the Bears, .243 to .223, and led in aces, 7-5. With the exception of blocks, Baylor led in every other category, including 14 service errors.

“Our passing helped us run the offense we wanted to run,” Corbelli said. “We wanted to get the ball to Phillips in the middle a lot and let her go off. We haven’t been able to get her going, and I thought we got her going tonight. I was pleased with our offense. It looked like it did in our first 10 matches. We have been working to get that back.”

A&M returns home Friday to play host to No. 18 Kansas State. First serve is at 6:30 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum.

It will be Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night at the Holler House. Texas A&M faculty and staff will be provided two free tickets to the match, along with a bag of popcorn.