COLLEGE STATION, Texas- Texas A&M took a break from Big 12 Conference play but didn’t give Southland Conference-foe Sam Houston State a breather as the Aggies cruised to an easy 30-15, 30-17, 30-17 sweep over the Bearkats tonight at G. Rollie White Coliseum.
Mary Batis led a group of twelve A&M players who contributed in the win, posting a match-high 15 kills while hitting .538. Kelly Stanton also reached double figures in kills with 11 and hit .450 for the Aggies. As a team, A&M posted 52 total kills to SHSU’s 25 and outhit the Bearkats, .354 to .034, in the match, which lasted just over an hour and 15 minutes.
“We most definitely tried to get everyone in tonight,” A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. “I wanted it to be a total team effort. I knew that the players that don’t always start on our court or don’t play very much are still great players. It’s a battle every day in practice for these starters to keep their jobs, so I knew we probably wouldn’t skip a beat. It is such a different environment to be in a practice environment versus a match environment, and I just think anytime we can get our back-up players onto the floor, it is a bonus for the Aggies.”
In the opening game, the Aggies had gone up 4-3 on a SHSU attack into the net when Kelsey Bryant stepped to the service line. With only five service attempts, the junior right-side hitter tied her career high with four aces as A&M jumped out to a 9-3 lead and never looked back in the 30-13 rout.
Stanton hit 1.000 in the game, posting four kills and no errors in four attempts. The Aggies hit .387 as a team and held the Bearkats to a .038 hitting efficiency.
“We needed to establish our own intensity tonight and really execute,” Corbelli said. “In terms of numbers, we knew what we wanted to achieve no matter who was on the floor. We used a 6-2 and used some players who haven’t been in very much lately, and our intensity didn’t drop. It continued to flow and we had very few down moments where there were strings of points. The consistency with the execution that we had was really nice.”
Batis had eight of her kills in the second game as A&M cruised to the 30-17 win to take a two-game lead into the intermission. A&M held a 12-8 advantage when the Aggies reeled off nine unanswered points to go up 21-8. The Bearkats, who were outhit, .318 to .021, never got closer than 12 points for the remainder of the game.
A&M, which jumped out to a 15-4 lead to begin game three, outhit SHSU, .368 to .047 in the final stanza as the Aggies raced to a 30-17 victory. Reserve middle blocker Darla Donaldson, who had six kills in the match, capped the win by scoring A&M’s final three points with kills.
“It just felt really good that we didn’t make a lot of unforced errors,” Corbelli said. “We’ve established some set plays in certain situations, and they were really working at running it tonight with certain combinations out of the middle. I also thought that our defense looked good. We were running down a lot of balls, and I think it built their confidence. It just feels good to get a win.”
Batis tied libero Jen Moore for match-high honors in digs with 13. Jenny Banse added a career-high 10 digs as A&M totaled 64 to SHSU’s 44. Bryant, Donaldson and Sarah Ammerman tied for match-high honors in blocks with three apiece to lead A&M to an 8.5-4 advantage.
Cynthia Yarotsky, the Southland Conference leader in kills per game, led the Bearkats with nine kills but was held to a .026 hitting efficiency. Megan Kuehler led SHSU in digs with 10.
With the win, A&M improves to 15-6 overall. SHSU suffers its fourth consecutive loss and drops to 9-11.
The Aggies return to action Saturday as they begin the second half of Big 12 play at Texas Tech. First serve is at 7 p.m. at United Spirit Arena. A&M held off the Red Raiders, 3-2, when the teams met earlier this season in College Station.