SAN DIEGO – Texas A&M put up a strong fight against No. 20 San Diego but was unable to come away with the victory as the Toreros topped the Aggies, 26-24, 25-22, 25-19, to capture the USD Tournament title tonight at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
“I’m really pleased with how we played,” A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. “I thought the team came really well prepared. We out-hit them and out-blocked them in the first two sets. I’m pleased with the effort they gave.”
It was a tightly contested first set, with both teams posting 17 kills and three blocks each. A&M out-hit the Toreros, .300 to .282, but had three service errors. USD had no errors and added an ace in the win.
USD held a 7-6 edge when A&M went on an 8-1 run. The Toreros chipped away at the lead and eventually tied the score at 19-all. After an A&M block, USD got a kill and a block to take the lead, 21-20. The teams exchanged point for point and were tied at 24-all when USD’s Ali Troost tooled the block for her fifth kill of the set. Setter Jessica Nyrop followed with the set-clinching kill.
A&M again out-hit the Toreros in the second set but was unable to even the match. Trailing 7-4, A&M went on a 9-2 scoring spurt to take its biggest lead at 13-9. The Toreros once again cut away at the gap, tying the score at 15 and again at 17 and 18 before taking the lead at 19-18 following a kill by Jimarie Sutherland. A&M scored the next two points to regain the lead, but USD answered with back-to-back kills to retake the lead. A kill by A&M’s Kristen Schevikhoven tied the score at 21, but Sutherland got another kill to keep the lead for the Toreros. Ammerman tied the score for the 12th time in the set with a kill before USD closed out the set with three straight kills.
USD never trailed in the third set, using a 5-2 run to break away from a 4-4 tie. The Aggies got within a point at 10-9, but USD, which out-hit A&M, .310 to .194, regained serve with a kill. The Toreros built their biggest lead at 19-13 before A&M rallied for three straight points to get within 19-16. The teams then sided out until, with USD leading 22-19, the Toreros ran off three consecutive points to close out the match.
USD had four players reach double figures in kills, including DeGroot and Ashton Basch, who posted 12 kills apiece. Sutherland added 11 kills and Troost had 10. As a team, the Toreros out hit A&M, .272 to .245 but got outblocked, 7-3, in the match.
Batis was the only A&M player to post double-digit kills with 12. Ammerman, who was named to the all-tournament team, led the Aggies with 11 digs, and Jennifer Banse pitched in 10. Darla Donaldson had a match-high five blocks.
The tournament marked A&M’s final tune-up for Big 12 Conference play, which the Aggies kickoff Wednesday at Iowa State.
“Just not being able to finish has been frustrating, yet at the same time, we played the schedule we needed to play this pre-conference,” Corbelli said. “I think and I hope that it got us really ready for the Big 12. We are going to see attackers just as powerful and just as quick. (USD’s) defense was pretty incredible, and it was clear in our eyes that if we could have done a couple of those little different things with our defense and with our block, we could have had the match. We could have had a better shot at it. I’m so pleased we played this match.”
First serve against the Cyclones is at 6:30 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum. Live audio of the match will be available at AggieAthletics.com with Matt Simon calling the action.