COLLEGE STATION, TX -- Texas A&M used a late rally to win the first set against No. 5 Southern California, but the Women of Troy jumped out to an early lead in the second set and rode the momentum to a 26-28, 25-14, 25-18, 25-20 victory over the Aggies tonight at Reed Arena.
“Obviously it’s not fun losing, and it’s not fun to have the severe highs and lows that we had tonight,” A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli said. “However, I take from this that we do some really good things. We just need to do them more consistently. We need to be more resilient when an opponent is able to find a way to get us out of what we like to do and we just didn’t respond like I thought we would. But it’s not a bad thing to have a loss to a team of that caliber, and I think we’re in a good place. I think the players learned a lot about themselves, a lot about this level of competition.”
Feeding off the energy of the boisterous home crowd of 2,680, A&M built its largest lead of the opening set at 10-6. The set, however, would turn into a back-and-forth affair with 13 ties and 10 lead changes. USC chipped away at A&M’s lead and used a four-point rally to take its first lead at 18-17 following a kill by Austin Westlake product Sara Shaw. A&M’s Alisia Kastmo countered with a kill to even the score and Shaw hit long, returning the lead to the Aggies. A&M then committed back-to-back errors, but another kill by Kastmo and a block by Lindsey Miller and Heather Reynolds put the Aggies up, 22-21.
USC then reeled off three consecutive points and were serving for the set, but Reynolds kept the Aggies alive with a kill. USC then twice hit out of bounds to put A&M serving for the set, 25-24. USC would get a kill to tie the score, and A&M hit wide on the ensuing play to put the Trojans up, 26-25. Miller and setter Allie Sawatzky tied the score once again with a block, and Tori Mellinger put down a kill to put A&M ahead, 27-26. USC then hit into the net to give the Aggies the 1-0 lead in the match.
The momentum quickly shifted in the second set as USC immediately surged to a 7-0 lead. A&M twice got within two points, the last at 12-10, before USC reeled off eight unanswered points to build a commanding 20-10 lead. The Trojans, who hit .444 while holding A&M to a .000 hitting efficiency, later clinched the winning point with a block, evening the match at a set apiece.
The third set got off to an unusual start when three points into the set, it was discovered that an A&M player had changed jerseys but failed to report that she was wearing a different number. Because of the violation of having an incorrect number listed on the lineup card, A&M had both of its points removed and USC was awarded a point to go up 2-0. The Trojans would lead the remainder of the set as the Aggies were unable to find a consistent rhythm and were outhit, .147 to -.028, in the frame.
A&M held a 12-9 lead in the fourth set before USC outscored the Aggies, 6-1, to take a 15-13 lead. A USC attack error and an ace by Kastmo evened the score at 15, but Shaw got three consecutive kills, two courtesy of errant overpasses by the Aggies, to go up 18-15. A&M got within a point at 18-17 when USC rallied again and went on a 6-1 run and was serving for the match. A service error followed by a kill by Kastmo kept A&M alive and put the Aggies within 24-20 before Shaw clinched the victory with her 11th kill of the match.
Four Trojans posted double figures in kills, with Samantha Bricio posting a team-leading 14 kills. Katie Fuller added 13, and Alexis Olgard added 11. All-American libero Natalie Hagglund had a match-high 23 digs, and Natasa Siljkovic had nine blocks as the Trojans outblocked A&M, 11-5, and outhit the Aggies, .247 to .122 for the match.
Miller led A&M with 14 kills while hitting at a .393 clip. She also had a team-high four blocks. Libero Megan Pendergast led A&M with 21 digs, and Mellinger added 14. Sawatzky finished with 34 assists.
The Aggies (1-1) conclude the Texas A&M Invitational Saturday at 12:30 as they take on North Dakota (1-1), a team that put up a good fight in a 25-20, 25-23, 25-21 loss to the Trojans earlier in the day.
Friday, August 24, 2012
No. 5 USC def. North Dakota, 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-21)
Texas A&M def. Texas State, 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-16)
North Dakota def. Texas State, 3-1 (17-25, 25-13, 25-15, 25-18)
Saturday, August 25
10:30 a.m. No. 5 USC (2-0) vs. Texas State (0-2)
12:30 p.m. Texas A&M (1-1) vs. North Dakota (1-1)