BOULDER, Colo. – Texas A&M jumped out to a two-set lead against Colorado, but the Buffaloes fought back to win the next three sets and the match, 16-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-20, 15-9, tonight at the Coors Events Center.
A&M falls to 6-8 overall and 1-3 in the Big 12, while Colorado moves to 8-4, 2-1.
The Aggies were unstoppable in the opening set as Jennifer Banse had five kills and no errors in six attempts and Mary Batis was perfect on all four of her attack attempts to pace the Aggies to an impressive .500 hitting percentage.
Colorado, which was held to a .143 hitting efficiency in the set, used a 5-1 scoring run to go up, 10-9 and take its first lead since scoring the first two points of the match. The teams traded sideouts, and with the Buffs leading 11-10, the Aggies went on a 4-1 rally to take a 13-11 lead. The Aggies never trailed again, reeling off strings of points to go up 22-16. A&M then closed out the set with three straight points as Batis and Banse had back-to-back kills and Colorado’s attack went long on the final play of the set.
Colorado built a 13-9 lead in the second set, but A&M raced back. Down 16-13, A&M rallied for three straight points, including a thundering kill by Darla Donaldson after Colorado’s pass of a Kristen Schevikhoven serve hung over the net.
Colorado still held on to the lead at 19-17 when a kill by Banse and three consecutive Colorado hitting errors put the Aggies on top, 21-19. The teams exchanged point-for-point for the remainder of the set with Batis getting the set-winning point after her dig went over the net and fell untouched for a kill.
Schevikhoven, A&M’s starting setter in every match this season, had to be helped off the court with an ankle injury with the score tied at 2-2 in the third set. With Jola Kelner directing the offense and A&M posting several towering blocks, A&M built an 8-4 lead. Colorado, however, came back and tied the score five times before taking the lead at 17-16 following an Amber Sutherland kill. A&M managed to tie the score two times, the last coming at 19-all. Colorado then went on a three-point run. The teams then traded points for the remainder of the set with Alex Buth clinching the set for the Buffaloes with a kill.
A&M was outhit for the first time in the match, hitting .282 while Colorado posted a .311 hitting efficiency in the third set. The Aggies also would be outhit in the remaining two sets, .200 to .050 in the fourth and .421 to .095 in the fifth.
There were 11 ties and seven lead changes in the fourth set. A&M held a 13-12 lead when Colorado went on a three-point run. The Aggies stayed within a point at 19-18 when Colorado posted two kills and a block. Donaldson ended the run with a kill, but the Buffs came back with two straight to go up 24-19. Ammerman held off set point with a kill before Buth tooled the block for a kill to force a fifth set.
It was all Colorado in the final frame as the Buffs jumped out to a 9-5 lead. They built their biggest lead at 14-7. Donaldson kept the Aggies alive with a kill and Colorado’s next attack went long before Amber Sutherland tooled the block for the match-winning point.
Batis led A&M in kills and digs with 14 and 16, respectively. Donaldson hit .500 and had 13 kills and nine blocks, all career highs. Ammerman and Banse also reached double figures in digs with 13 and 11, respectively.
Buth led the Buffs with 26 kills while hitting at a .429 clip. She also tied for match-high honors with 17 digs. Emilee Sisco added 20 kills for the Buffs.
The overall team stats were relatively close for the match, with A&M leading in points, 80-76, and blocks, 13-5. Colorado outhit A&M, .249 to .236 and led in kills, 70-66, assists, 68-56, and digs, 57-54. Both teams had an ace apiece, and Colorado committed seven service errors to A&M’s two.
A&M has a bye on Wednesday and returns home Saturday, Oct. 4 to play host to the Missouri Tigers. First serve is at 6:30 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum.