LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas A&M extended its winning streak to three matches with a 25-15, 25-14, 25-16 victory over Texas Tech tonight at United Spirit Arena.
With the win, A&M improves to 9-8 overall and 4-3 in Big 12 matches, marking the first time the Aggies have climbed above .500 in either category this season. Tech suffers its sixth consecutive loss and falls to 5-14 overall, including 0-7 in home matches, as well as 0-8 in Big 12 matches.
The Aggies once again got the win in spite of several injuries forcing A&M coach Corbelli to use a makeshift lineup. Junior setter Jola Kelner was playing in place of Kristen Schevikhoven, who suffered an ankle injury at Colorado, and freshman Stephanie Wells got her second consecutive start, as senior middle blockers Kelsey Bryant and Jillian Phillips are still nursing injuries.
“We had to really piece together our lineup again with a lot of youth and inexperience combined with what is becoming even better and better leadership every match,” Corbelli said. “I have seen some of our upper classmen really step up and take even more of a leadership role than they have before and feel more comfortable in it.
“Steph Wells is such a confident, aggressive kid. She knows no fear and she is ready to get on the floor and do whatever you ask. She’s just doing a great job. If you are that aggressive and that confident, good things are going to go your way. And Jola has now been setting for two weeks. She is getting even more comfortable with the different sets and attacks and the different combinations that we have been running.”
Tech scored the first two points of the opening set, but A&M won four of the next five points to take a 4-3 lead. An A&M service error tied the score before A&M reeled off three consecutive points to begin to pull away.
The Aggies would later go on an 8-2 run to build their biggest lead at 23-12. A&M was up, 24-15, when Mary Batis got a kill down the line to clinch the set for the Aggies.
A&M led the entire second set, hitting .611 in the frame. The Aggies scored the first two points and were leading 6-3 when a kill by Darla Donaldson marked the start of a five-point run by A&M. The Aggies would later score six unanswered points to build their biggest lead at 19-8. A&M kept a 10-point lead at 24-14, and Kelner got a dump kill to end the set and give the Aggies a 2-0 lead going into the break.
The Lady Raiders jumped out to a 6-2 lead to begin the third set, but A&M came back and tied the score at 7-7 after a Tech attack error. Jennifer Banse gave the Aggies the lead with a kill on the next play, and A&M would lead the remainder of the match.
A&M was ahead, 18-15, when the Aggies erupted for six consecutive points. Tech’s Becca Baldwin, a Bryan High School product, posted a kill to end the rally, but Ammerman answered with the match-winning kill.
Banse led the Aggies with 12 kills while hitting .417, and Donaldson added eight kills and hit .700 to pace A&M to a season-high .387 hitting percentage. Donaldson also posted a match-high four blocks as A&M led Tech 8-0 in team blocks and held the Lady Raiders to a .029 hitting efficiency, the lowest by an A&M opponent this season.
“Darla Donaldson has really stepped up her game a lot,” Corbelli said. “She’s just a lot more dynamic and confident and she is becoming more aggressive every match, and we have really needed that to happen. There are good things going on.”
Aggie freshman libero Chelsea Ringel tied for match-high honors in digs with 11.
Amanda Dowdy led the Lady Raiders with nine kills.
The match concluded a two-match road swing for the Aggies, who 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 letters will be admitted free. Also fans presenting a ticket stub from the A&M-Kansas State football game will be admitted for $2.