OMAHA, Neb. –Texas A&M’s season-opening weekend didn’t go as the Aggies had hoped. A&M fell to host Creighton, 25-20, 25-21, 25-14, in the final match of the Bluejay Invitational at the Omaha Civic Auditorium, finishing 0-3 in the tournament.
“The only thing good that can come out of this weekend is that we really figure out what is missing and fix it quick,” A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. “It has definitely been a learning experience, and we must learn from it.”
Creighton, which also was looking for its first win, scored the first two points of the match and led the entire first set en route to a 25-20 win. The Bluejays, who outhit A&M 393 to .194 in the frame, took their first five-point lead at 14-9 following a four-point run. A&M got back within two points at 18-16 following a kill by Sarah Ammerman and a block by Mary Batis and Jillian Phillips, but the Aggies were unable to close the gap. Amanda Cvejdlik put down a kill to put the Bluejays at set point at 24-19. Darla Donaldson kept A&M alive with a kill, but a serve into the net ended the set.
Ammerman put the Aggies on the board in the second set with a kill, but the Bluejays then reeled off four straight points. A&M tied the score at 5-5, but Creighton once again reeled off four unanswered points. The Aggies scored three consecutive points on two Bluejay errors and an ace by Batis before Creighton ended the rally by killing an over pass. The play marked the start of a six-point run for the Bluejays.
Trailing 17-9, A&M began cutting away at the lead and eventually got within two points at 23-21. The Aggies were unable to score again as a dump kill by setter Korie Lebeda and a block by Allie Oilke and Lauren Bloemke ended the set and gave the Bluejays a 2-0 lead going into the intermission.
Donaldson started the third set with a kill, but a service error and a Creighton kill off an A&M overpass gave the Bluejays the lead. The teams traded points and were tied at 4-4, when Creighton put down three consecutive kills and then got a block to go up 8-4. The Bluejays later went on a six-point run to go up, 17-8. A&M could not catch up as the Bluejays, who hit .400 in the set, kept the Aggies from scoring consecutive points throughout the entire set.
Creighton hit .336 for the match. Bluejays Carolyn Decker and Amanda Cvejdlik led both teams with 13 and 11 kills, respectively, while hitting at least .400 apiece.
A&M, which hit .160 for the match and was outblocked, 8-3, used 11 players in the match. Jillian Phillips led the Aggies with eight kills. Freshman Kelsey Black, who drew the first start of her career, had five kills. Batis, who was named to the all-tournament team, tied for match-high honors with 15 digs.
The Aggies make their home season debut Friday as they take on American at 6:30 p.m. on the first day of the Texas A&M Invitational at G. Rollie White Coliseum. Other participants are No. 20 BYU and Siena. All three of the visiting teams participated in the NCAA Championship last year.
“I know this team is a very dedicated and committed group,” Corbelli said, “so we are going to be able to come out of an unexpected, poor performance for the weekend and make some big changes and turn it around.”
Texas A&M Invitational schedule:
Friday, Sept. 5
Siena vs. No. 20 BYU, 4:30 p.m.
Texas A&M vs. American, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 6
No. 20 BYU vs. American, 9:30 a.m.
Texas A&M vs. Siena, 11:30 a.m.
American vs. Siena, 4:30 p.m.
Texas A&M vs. No. 20 BYU, 6:30 p.m.
Bluejay Invitational Results:
Friday, August 29
No. 21 LSU def. Texas A&M, 3-2 (23-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-17, 20-18)
No. 16 Minnesota def. Creighton, 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 25-16)
Saturday, August 30
No. 21 LSU def. Creighton, 3-2 (22-25, 16-25, 25-18, 15-19, 15-10)
No. 16 Minnesota def. Texas A&M, 3-1 (25-18, 25-13, 23-25, 25-22)
No. 16 Minnesota def. No. 21 LSU, 3-0 (25-11, 25-21, 25-22)
Creighton def. Texas A&M, 3-0 25-20, 25-21, 25-14
Bluejay Invitational Final Standings:
Texas A&M 0-3
Bluejay Invitational All-Tournament Team
Brook Dieter, Minnesota (MVP)
Jessica Houts, Creighton
Elena Martinez, LSU
Brittnee Cooper, LSU
Rachel Hartmann, Minnesota
Mary Batis, Texas A&M