SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Texas A&M won its second match of the day, sweeping Lamar 25-12, 25-17, 25-15, to improve to 2-0 at the UTSA Classic at the Convocation Center.
Fourteen players contributed in the victory, including junior defensive specialist Hannah Hood, who made her first career start, and redshirt freshman opposite hitter Darby Graff, who made her collegiate debut.
Despite the constantly changing lineup, the Aggies outhit Lamar, .295 to .036 for the match. A&M sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak led all players with 10 kills while playing in two sets, and senior libero Kelsey Kinley took match-high honors in digs with 11. Sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan had a career-high five aces and tied redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers for team-high honors in blocks with four.
A&M scored seven consecutive points to open the match and never looked back. Lamar, which was outhit .500 to .045 in the frame, got within five points at 8-3, but the Aggies quickly pulled away. A&M held a 19-11 lead when Lowak posted one of her four kills of the set, sparking a 3-0 run. A serve into the net only temporarily broke up the run, as Babers immediately returned the serve to A&M with a kill. Sierra Patrick then clinched the set for A&M with a kill down the line.
The Aggies outhit Lamar, .333 to -.031, to take the second set. The Cardinals held a 10-7 lead before A&M went on a 7-1 run to take its first lead of the frame. Lamar was within 15-14 when the Aggies mounted an 8-1 run, including two kills and an ace by Lowak, to go up, 23-15. A service error ended the run, but A&M quickly got the ball back and was at set point following a block by Babers and freshman Kaysie Shebeneck. A&M served into the net on the ensuing play but then got a block from Shebeneck and Sullivan to end the set and give the Aggies a 2-0 lead in the match.
Sullivan served the Aggies to a 7-0 lead in the second set, posting four aces and two kills in the run. Lamar later got within 14-10 but was unable to get any closer. A&M held a 16-12 advantage when Graff posted the first kill of her career. The Aggies were later leading, 20-15, and closed out the match on a five-point run, with Graff and Sullivan getting the match-clinching block.
The Aggies, who defeated Loyola Marymount, 3-1, earlier in the day, improve to 4-1 on the season. They conclude the tournament Friday against host UTSA at 7 p.m.
Visit AggieAthletics.com for more information on Texas A&M volleyball. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M volleyball team on Facebook and on Twitter by following @AggieVolleyball.
Texas A&M Head Coach Laurie Corbelli quotes:
(General impression of the match)
“It was a great opportunity for us to get back our rhythm. I felt like the earlier match today, we were pretty much off tempo and a little bit shaky with some areas of our game, and our opponent had a lot to do with that. Tonight’s match, we played a lot more our style. It was a little bit slower, and we were able to get a lot of players on the court, and I felt like it was important to get our middles going again.”
(On getting so many players into the match)
“This is the first match for Darby Graff, who is a redshirt freshman. She got to get on the floor, and I know that was really exciting for her. Just to have the contribution from all the players that truly give so many hours to the program, it is a good feeling to know that they got the opportunity and they really took advantage of it. I thought the older players who are on the court a lot really helped them with the transition onto the court.”
(On facing UTSA in the tournament finale tomorrow)
“UTSA looked really strong. They are doing some nice things. They are running a whole different system than they have in the past, so it definitely is going to be a challenge. They have an All-American outside hitter, and a couple of their attackers are doing some really nice things, so we are going to have to be on the top of our game “