COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M middle blocker Lindsey Miller had another error-free match on offense to lead the Aggies to a 25-21, 25-14, 25-15 victory over North Dakota in the final match of the Texas A&M Invitational today at Reed Arena.
The senior captain recorded a career-high .667 hitting percentage, posting a match-high 10 kills and no errors in 15 attempts against UND and was awarded all-tournament honors after hitting .525 and averaging 3.50 kills and 1.3 blocks throughout the three-match tournament. Senior opposite Alisia Kastmo also represented Texas A&M on the all-tournament team as the Aggies clinched second place.
“The team did a great job of serving, receiving, and passing today,” A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. “We didn’t even really get in trouble with it, so that was really enjoyable to watch. I thought with Lindsey Miller’s amazing attacking with very few errors -- she’s hard to stop with her speed -- really kept our offense alive and opened up our other attackers.”
The Aggies used a 7-point run to forge to a 13-9 lead in the opening set and led the remainder of the frame. UND stayed within striking distance, getting within a point at 19-18. The teams then began to exchange points and the Aggies were up 22-21 before A&M’s Heather Reynolds caromed an attack off the block for a kill. It was the start of set-ending 3-point rally for the Aggies, as UND committed an error and then Miller posted her fifth kill of the set.
A&M surged to a 7-2 lead to open the second set after reeling off six unanswered points. The Aggies would continue to widen the gap, hitting .281 while holding UND to a .000 hitting efficiency in the frame. Leading 20-12, Aggie freshman middle blocker Shelby Sullivan notched one of her three kills in the stanza to mark the beginning of a 4-point run, capped by a block by Reynolds and Miller to put A&M at set point. UND got a kill before Aggie freshman Shelbi Vaughan, making the first appearance of her young career, posted the set-winning kill.
A&M immediately took command of the final set, opening with eight consecutive points, including three aces by Kastmo. The Aggies continued to be on the attack, led by Reynolds who had five kills in five attempts in the set. A kill by setter Allie Sawatzky put the Aggies at match point, 24-12, but UND staved off four match points before an attack error clinched the winning point for A&M.
“I was really pleased with our strong start,” Corbelli said. “I knew North Dakota returned a lot of good players and they have a great offense. I knew that we had to have a group that was ready for what people do to try to get us out of our system.”
Thirteen players saw action for the Aggies in the match, including four freshmen -- Sullivan, Vaughan, Angela Lowak and Sierra Patrick – and sophomore Hannah Hood.
“That’s something we’re really going to try to do this preseason, get our young ones on the court,” Corbelli emphasized. “They are really talented. I just need that depth to have as much experience as possible.”
A&M (2-1) outhit UND, .282 to .104 for the match, posting 44 kills to UND’s 30. Reynolds finished with a career-high nine kills while hitting at a .571 clip. Libero Megan Pendergast led the Aggies in digs with 10, and Miller led in blocks with four. Sawatzky posted 28 assists.
All-tournament selection Ronni Munkeby had nine kills to lead UND, which finished third in the tournament with a 1-2 record.
No. 5 Southern California swept Texas State (0-3) earlier in the day to finish 3-0 and capture the tournament title.
Corbelli summarized the season-opening tournament by saying, “There were a lot of glimpses of good things. However, it was the opening weekend and I certainly saw moments where it was really shaky. It was great competition, what we needed to see.
“I thought the 12th Man just made it. Our crowds are so fun to play for. I was really proud to show our visitors from North Dakota and California what Aggie spirit is all about. I think it was a great tournament and we look forward to heading out to Yale next weekend.”
A&M continues non-conference play next weekend as the Aggies travel to New Haven, Conn., to compete in the Yale Classic, which includes two teams that reached the NCAA last year: Yale and American. A&M opens against the host Bulldogs Friday at 6 p.m. (CT), and then plays a split doubleheader on Saturday, taking on American at 10 a.m. and Stony Brook at 4 p.m.
Texas A&M Invitational Team Standings
1. USC 3-0
2. Texas A&M 2-1
3. North Dakota 1-2
4. Texas State 0-3
MVP: Samantha Bricio, USC
Ronni Munkeby, North Dakota
Alisia Kastmo, Texas A&M
Lindsey Miller, Texas A&M
Ashlee Hilbun, Texas State
Katie Fuller, USC
Natalie Hagglund, USC
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
No. 5 USC def. Texas State, 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-22)
Texas A&M def. North Dakota, 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-16)