AUSTIN, Texas – Texas A&M’s upset bid against No. 3 Texas fell short as the Longhorns held off the Aggies, 25-19, 26-24, 25-20, today in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown at Gregory Gym.
Texas came from behind in each of the first two sets and held the lead throughout most of the final set to win its ninth consecutive match against A&M and improve to 19-4 on the season, including 9-3 in Big 12 Conference matches.
A&M, facing its third top-20 opponent in four matches, falls to 10-13 overall, 5-8 in the Big 12.
“I thought in general we came really prepared,” A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. “We had a lot of excitement and focus. The team played with a lot of passion to start the match. I think we let their block get into our heads a little bit and it affected a couple of athletes who we had to go to a lot, and we were struggling is some of our attack rotations.”
Texas used a 5-1 run to take a 12-8 lead in the opening set. A&M then began to rally, outscoring the Longhorns 8-1 and forcing Texas to burn both of its timeouts. With A&M leading 16-13, the Longhorns scored four unanswered points, two on aces by Destinee Hooker, to regain the lead. A&M tied the score at 17 and 18 before Texas began to pull away with three straight points. Sarah Ammerman ended Texas’ run with a kill, but Texas countered with a kill by Juliann Faucette, and three consecutive attack errors by the Aggies ended the set.
Texas fought off four set points in the second stanza, scoring six consecutive points to take the set, 26-24. The Aggies had taken an 11-10 lead before a kill by Texas tied the set for the sixth time. A&M then reeled off three points and later used a four-point run to build its biggest lead at 19-14.
The teams exchanged sideouts until, with A&M up 23-18, Lauren Paolini posted a kill and then teamed with Rachael Adams for a block to put the Horns within 23-20. Jennifer Banse got a kill to put the Aggies at set point, but two kills by Hooker and two attack errors by the Aggies knotted the score at 24. Adams and Hooker then blocked a Mary Batis attack, and Adams followed with a kill on an overpass to complete the come-from-behind win for the Horns.
“We had the leads and then we just started to get a little bit over excited, over anxious to finish it and not patient enough,” Corbelli said. “I felt like then we made our errors and somewhat gave it to them on a silver platter, which was the disappointing part. But overall the team was very ready to go and very positive and playing some great volleyball for the most part.”
The score was tied four times early in the third set with the last one coming at 5-5. Texas then went on a 7-2 run to go up 12-7. A&M got back within two points at 12-10 and 13-11but was unable to get any closer as the Horns outhit the Aggies, .667 to .214 in the final set.
Jennifer Banse led A&M with 10 kills while hitting .318. Setter Kristen Schevikhoven led the Aggies with eight digs, and Kelsey Bryant and Banse had a team-leading two blocks apiece.
Hooker finished with 13 kills to lead the Longhorns, who outhit A&M, .344 to .121and outblocked the Aggies, 9-6, for the match.
“Overall I was really pleased with the focus the team had,” Corbelli said. “Some of the things we’ve been trying to overcome, I saw a lot of progress there. We’re disappointed obviously, but we see progress.”
The Aggies return home Wednesday to host No. 2 Nebraska. That start time has been changed to 6 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum to allow fans to also catch the A&M men’s basketball exhibition game against Texas A&M-Kingsville, which is set for a 7:30 p.m. tip at Reed Arena.
“It’s a tough stretch with the top three teams in the conference back to back to back,” Corbelli said. “We will still give it our very best. I’m really proud of my group, and we are really looking forward to playing Nebraska Wednesday night.”
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