SAN ANTONIO -- Texas A&M improved to 8-0 for the first team in the history of the program with a 30-24, 30-16, 30-18 victory over Louisiana Tech today at the UTSA Classic at the Convocation Center.
“It feels really good after 15 seasons,” A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said about the 8-0 start. “It’s been a long trek, and yet just seeing the different athletes coming through the program and remembering how strong most of our teams have been and to see the potential of this team. They are great athletes. They are very committed, and I am just really proud of the program itself and of this particular team as well.”
The 1982 team is the only other team in program history to start the season with seven consecutive wins, but the streak ended after suffering a five-game decision to No. 19 Nebraska in the eighth match of the year.
San Antonio native Mary Batis was instrumental in the record-setting match, breaking her own career record with a .593 hitting percentage while posting a personal season-high 17 kills with only one error in 27 attempts.
“Batis was pretty incredible, passing digging; every part of her game was maybe the sharpest I’ve seen,” Corbelli said.
The Aggies never trailed in Game 1, and after allowing the only tie of the game at 5-5, A&M went on a 5-1 run. The Lady Techsters got within a point three times, the last coming at 16-15. Batis then posted one of her nine kills of the game to jumpstart a four-point run for the Aggies.
A&M took its biggest lead of the game at 26-20 following a Batis kill. Tech cut the lead to four at 27-23 before Batis, who had nine kills in the opening game, put down back-to-back kills to put A&M serving for the game.
A service error extended the game before Kelsey Bryant and Jillian Phillips combined for block for the game-winning point.
Just like the first game, A&M never trailed in Game 2 and allowed only one tie. After Tech tied the score at 6-all, the Aggies went on a 6-1 run to take a 12-7 lead. Tech answered with a four-point rally to get within 12-11 before A&M responded with its own four-point run.
Tech never got closer than four points during the remainder of the stanza. Leading 19-14, A&M outscored the Lady Techsters 11-2 to close out the game.
Tech took its only lead of the match after scoring the first two points in the third game. The Lady Techsters went on to build a 6-3 advantage, but the lead quickly dissolved when the Aggies scored five consecutive points to take an 8-6 lead. Holding a narrow 13-12 edge, A&M went on a 12-2 scoring run to pull away. Kelly Stanton capped the historic match with her eighth kill.
All 13 A&M players contributed to the win. Libero Jen Moore led the Aggies with 10 digs, and Bryant posted a team-high five blocks to lead the Aggies to a 7-2 advantage in blocks. Setters Kristen Schevikhoven and Jola Kelner split time running the Aggie offense, which outhit the Lady Techsters, .418 to .144.
“I thought that our setters both did a really nice job after we got going,” Corbelli said. “It’s not easy to get used to two setters and be able to maintain the same offensive rhythm, and I thought the team really handled that well.”
The Aggies will be aiming for their third consecutive tournament title as they close out the UTSA Classic with a pair of matches on Saturday. A&M faces Auburn at 3:30 p.m. and then takes on the host Roadrunners at 7 p.m.