SAN MARCOS, Texas- Texas A&M spoiled Texas State’s home season debut, defeating the Bobcats 30-22, 27-30, 30-24, 30-14 in front of 1,611 at Strahan Coliseum.
The Aggies improve to 7-0 and extend their winning streak against the Bobcats to 12. Texas State, 3-21 all-time against the Aggies, falls to 2-3 but becomes the first team to take a game off the Aggies this season.
“We struggled to get into a rhythm at the beginning, and our passing was more off than it has been, and that broke up the rhythm of our attack,” A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. “Texas State did a great job of attacking from the middle of the court, and we let that affect us a little bit, but we didn’t stop fighting.”
There were eight lead changes and 14 ties in the opening game. The score was knotted for the last time at 15-all after A&M’s Sarah Ammerman put down a kill, which marked the beginning of a five-point scoring run for the Aggies. The Bobcats got within 23-21 before A&M used another five-point run to pull ahead, 28-21. A kill by AJ Watlington ended the streak, but Ammerman answered with a kill to put the Aggies serving for game point. Texas State was whistled for being in the net in the ensuing play, giving A&M a 30-21 victory.
Texas State got off to a quick start in the second game, jumping out to a 9-3 lead and forcing an A&M timeout. The Aggies came out of the timeout and scored five points to get within 9-8. A&M eventually fought back to take its only lead at 15-14 following an Ammerman kill off the block. The Aggies were unable to build more than a two-point lead, and with A&M ahead 19-17, Texas State reeled off six unanswered points to take its biggest lead of the game.
A&M answered with four straight points to tie the score at 24-24 but was unable to regain the lead. After the Aggies tied the score at 26, Texas State scored two points on a kill by Emily Jones and an A&M attack error. A Bobcat service error cut Texas State’s lead to 28-27, but Jones came back with a kill and then served an ace to clinch the game and even the match at a game apiece.
A&M tied the score five times to begin Game 3 before taking its first lead at 16-15 following a block by Darla Donaldson and Kristen Schevikhoven. Texas State tied the score for the final time at 16-all before back-to-back kills by Donaldson and Mary Batis gave A&M the lead for good. Leading 24-22, A&M went on a four-point run to equal its biggest lead of the game. Jones ended the run with two consecutive kills before Batis put down a Bobcat overpass for a kill. Schevikhoven then got a dump to end the game.
The Aggies raced to a commanding 8-0 lead to begin Game 4. A&M continued to apply pressure and pull away, outhitting the Bobcats .323 to -.030 in the stanza to wrap up the victory.
“We hesitated a little more because of the distractions of the hostile environment, and our confidence was a little bit shaken at the start of the match,” Corbelli said. “I was really proud how we persevered.”
Batis led the Aggies with 13 kills and 10 digs. Ammerman added 12 kills, and Bryant pitched in 10 while hitting .400. Kelly Stanton tallied eight blocks to spark the Aggies to a 13-4 advantage in blocks, and Schevikhoven had 41 assists.
Jones, the younger sister of former A&M two-time All-American and Aggie all-time kill leader Laura Jones, led all players with 19 kills, and Amy Weigle added 16 for the Bobcats, who were outhit, .309 to .176 in the match.
A&M concludes a seven-match road swing this weekend at the UTSA Classic in San Antonio. The Aggies face Louisiana Tech Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Convocation Center. The tournament, which marks A&M’s final tune-up for Big 12 Conference play, concludes Saturday as the Aggies take on Auburn at 3:30 p.m. and the host Roadrunners at 7 p.m.