AUSTIN - Texas A&M ended No. 3 Texas’ record-setting streak for consecutive three-game sweeps but fell to the rival Longhorns, 3-1 (30-27, 30-17, 27-30, 30-22), in front of a sold-out crowd of 4,254 tonight at Gregory Gym.
Texas, which had won 30 consecutive games en route to nine consecutive three-game sweeps, wins its 16th straight match to improve to 20-3 overall and 15-1 in the Big 12. A&M, playing its second of three consecutive top 12-ranked opponents, falls to 18-9 overall, 7-9 in the Big 12.
“Being challenged with a very highly ranked team, we knew that we had to really execute at special times,” A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said, “and many of the times we were right on task and did a super job. Several of the times that we kind of lost our intensity a little and lost a run of points kind of started to really hurt us in the second and fourth games.”
A&M’s Mary Batis opened the match with two aces, but Texas answered with a kill, a block and an ace to take the lead. A kill by Sarah Ammerman tied the score for the final time at 3-3. Juliann Faucette broke the tie with a kill, and the Longhorns kept the lead for the remainder of the game.
Back-to-back kills by Faucette gave Texas its biggest lead at 28-23. A service error ended the short run, but Ashley Engle came back with a kill to put the Horns serving for the game. A&M, which hit .308 to Texas’ .487, fought off three game points before Engle put down her fourth kill to close out the 30-27 victory.
A&M used a three-point run early in game two to take its only lead of the frame at 4-3. Texas answered with its own three-point run and continued to build on the lead. The Longhorns, who outhit A&M, .464 to .083 in the game, later used a 10-2 run to build their then-biggest lead at 26-14. The teams exchanged points, with Brandy Magee putting down a kill to put the Horns serving for the game at 29-17. A&M’s next attack sailed long, giving Texas a two-game lead.
There were six lead changes and 16 ties in the third game. Texas tied the score five times in the game before taking its first lead at 16-15. The two teams traded leads before Texas took its final lead at 25-24 following a two-point run. The Horns maintained their lead at 26-25 before A&M reeled off four answered points. Ammerman started the run with a kill to tie the score, and Jillian Phillips and Kelsey Bryant teamed to block an attack by Faucette to return the lead to A&M . Bryant and Phillips then each posted a kill to give A&M a 29-26 advantage. Destinee Hooker ended the run with a kill from the back row, but Ammerman answered with a kill to give the Aggies the 30-27 victory.
With the win in game three, A&M became the first team to avoid a sweep against the Longhorns since then-No. 17 Kansas State took the Longhorns to five games on Oct. 6.
A&M, which outhit the Horns, .295 to .273 in game three, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth game. The lead was short lived, as Texas went on a 7-1 run to take the lead for good. Texas built its biggest lead at 25-16 following back-to-back kills by Faucette. The teams traded sideouts until, with Texas leading 28-19, the Aggies scored three straight points to cut the margin to 28-22. Hooker ended the A&M charge with a kill, and Lauren Paolini clinched the win for the Horns with her 11th kill of the match.
Ammerman led all players with 23 kills, and Batis added 14 for the Aggies. Both completed double doubles with 10 and 13 digs, respectively.
Texas, which outhit A&M, .431 to .221 for the match, was led by Hooker, who had 22 kills while hitting .432. Faucette added 20 kills, and Engle and Magee added 16 and 10 kills, respectively.
Texas’ Alyson Jennings led all players with 18 digs and led the Horns to a 69-52 dig advantage over the Aggies. Magee and Hooker also added four blocks apiece as Texas led A&M, 10.5-6 in total team blocks.
“I think overall, the team is generally pleased with our improvements in the areas that we’ve really been working hard on,” Corbelli said. “We are just really trying to show what Aggie volleyball can do, and here late in the season, we are working towards peaking and making this our big run to show the strength of our program and our squad this year.
“We’re disappointed, yet we had to dig really deep to get that win in game three and a great match-up in game one. We have to really just stay positive with those thoughts in mind and just keep working hard.”
A&M returns home Wednesday to play host to defending national champion and No. 2-ranked Nebraska. First serve is at 5:30 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum.