LAWRENCE, KS - Texas A&M, playing in its fourth five-setter in the last five matches, held off Kansas, 25-20, 25-19, 16-25, 19-25, 15-8, in front of 1,036 tonight at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
With the win, A&M evens its record, improving to 8-8 overall and 3-3 in the Big 12. Kansas falls to 8-8 overall and 2-5 in league play.
A&M trailed early in the opening set as the Jayhawks jumped out to a 7-3 lead. Kansas held onto its lead at 10-8 before A&M went on 3-0 run with Sarah Ammerman, Jennifer Banse and Mary Batis each getting a kill during the rally. Kansas answered with a kill to tie the score, but back-to-back kills by Banse and Donaldson gave A&M a lead it would keep for the remainder of the set.
Leading 16-14, Aggie freshman middle blocker Stephanie Wells, who was starting the first match of her career in place of injured Kelsey Bryant, keyed a four-point rally with two blocks, including one solo. Kansas later scored three unanswered points to get within 23-19 before Batis posted her fifth kill of the set to put the Aggies at set point. Karina Garlington, a former teammate of Ammerman's at Front Range Volleyball Club, kept the Jayhawks alive with a kill, but Banse countered with a kill from the right side to clinch the set for the Aggies.
A&M outhit Kansas .400 to .175 in the opening set with Ammerman, Batis and Banse posting 13 of A&M's 17 kills with only one error between the three.
Banse had back-to-back aces early in the second set, spurring a four-point run and a 4-2 lead for the Aggies. The Jayhawks could never catch the Aggies for the remainder of the frame as A&M outhit Kansas, .429 to .188. A&M built its biggest lead at 19-13 following an ace by Darla Donaldson. Kansas rallied for three consecutive points to get within 19-16 but could get no closer. Leading 22-18, Batis got a kill off the block and Banse followed with a kill from the right side to put the Aggies at set point. Garlington once again held off the winning point with a kill before Banse posted her sixth kill of the set with an attack out of the middle.
Whatever Kansas wasn't able to dig in the first two sets, the Jayhawks were able to get to in the third set as A&M had a hard time putting the ball down for a kill. The Aggies were up 4-3 when Kansas scored five straight points. The Jayhawks, who outhit A&M, .323 to .152 in the set, would later build a 21-12 lead before A&M got back-to-back kills by Ammerman and Banse. Ammerman followed with an ace, but Corbelli was issued a red card during the next play as she came off the bench to argue a no-call on a ball that she thought had hit the floor on Kansas' side. Kansas was awarded the point and then scored two more on consecutive kills by Brittany Williams to put the Jayhawks at set point. Batis tooled the block for a kill, but Garlington came back with a kill to win the set.
The Jayhawks carried the momentum into the fourth set. Back-to-back kills gave Kansas a 7-6 lead. Batis tied the score with a kill but consecutive attack errors by the Aggies put Kansas ahead, 9-7. The Jayhawks kept the lead for the remainder of the set, using an 8-1 run to extend its lead to 22-13. A&M rallied for five straight points, but a service error and an attack error put Kansas at set point. Batis got a kill before Jenna Kaiser got a kill down the block to end the set and force a fifth set.
Playing in its fourth five-setter in its last five matches, A&M jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Kansas came back to tie the score at 3 and 4 before a kill down the block by Donaldson began a 4-1 run for the Aggies. Kansas came back with two points, but A&M answered with three as Banse got a kill, Ammerman posted an ace and Batis got a solo block to put the Aggies up, 11-7. A service error gave the Jayhawks their last point of the match as A&M got two kills and two blocks during a four-point run to close out the match.
Four Aggies reached double figures in kills as A&M posted a .311 hitting percentage, its highest in a Big 12 match this season. Ammerman led the Aggies with 17 kills, and Banse finished with a career-high 15 kills. Donaldson added 12 kills, one shy of equaling her career high, and Batis also pitched in 12 kills for the Aggies.
Donaldson led A&M with eight blocks as A&M outblocked the Jayhawks15-5. Jola Kelner, starting her second match of the season in place of injured setter Kristen Schevikhoven, had 52 assists, and libero Chelsea Ringel led all players with 14 digs.
Jenna Kaiser led the Jayhawks with 18 kills and Garlington finished with 15.
A&M concludes a two-match road swing Saturday as the Aggies take on Texas Tech on in Lubbock. First serve is at 7 p.m. at the United Spirit Arena.
The Aggies return home Wednesday, Oct. 15 for volleyball's first edition of the State Farm Lone Star Showdown against No. 3 Texas. First serve is slated for 6:30 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum.
It will be "Break the Record" night at the Holler House, as fans are challenged to come to the match and help break the G. Rollie attendance record of 3,778 set against the Longhorns on Oct. 24, 2003.
In addition, it will be Greek Night, and all Greeks wearing their letter will be admitted free. Also fans presenting a ticket stub from the A&M-Kansas State football game will be admitted for $2.
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