NEWARK, Del. – Texas A&M senior Alisia Kastmo had a career-high 21 kills to lead the Aggies to a 25-20, 25-19, 25-15 victory over Columbia and the Delaware Invitational title.
It marks the seventh consecutive victory for the Aggies, who captured their second consecutive tournament championship after going 3-0 against the tournament field. In addition, A&M closes out non-conference play with an 8-1 record and now focuses on playing its first-ever Southeastern Conference match as the Aggies play host to Ole Miss on Friday at Reed Arena. First serve will be at 6:30 p.m.
A&M never trailed in the opening set against Columbia, although the Lions tied the score four times, the last coming at 14-14. Kastmo then posted two of her six first-set kills during a 4-0 run that put the Aggies ahead, 18-14. A&M, which outhit the Lions, .424 to .029 in the frame, later scored three unanswered points to go up 24-17 with senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger getting the kill to put the Aggies at set point. Three consecutive attack errors by A&M put Columbia within 24-20 before setter Allie Sawatzky won a joust at the net to clinch the winning point for the Aggies.
A&M spotted Columbia a 4-0 lead to open the second set as the Aggies committed four consecutive hitting errors. The Lions went on to build their largest lead at 6-1 before the Aggies surged, reeling off six consecutive points to seize their first lead in the stanza. Columbia would tie the score at 7-7 before A&M began to pull away, building a 15-10 advantage.
A&M maintained the five-point advantage at 17-12 before Columbia reeled off five unanswered points to tie the score. The Lions were unable to regain the lead, however, as freshman middle blocker Shelby Sullivan put down a kill, which began a 5-0 run for the Aggies.
Kastmo later blasted her 11th kill of the set to put the Aggies up 24-19. Columbia then committed an attack error to close out the 25-19 win and give the Aggies a 2-0 lead in the match.
Columbia scored the first two points of the third set, but it would be the only lead the Lions would hold as freshman Angela Lowak got a kill to start the scoring for the Aggies. Lindsey Miller and Mellinger followed with back-to-back kills to give the Aggies a lead they would not lose.
A&M held a 9-7 lead when Kastmo put down a kill against a triple block. Kelsey Kinley followed with an ace, and Kastmo and Miller then teamed for a block to put A&M ahead, 12-7. The Lions got within 13-10 before a Kastmo kill started a 4-0 run. The Aggies held onto a 19-15 lead when Mellinger notched her 12th kill of the game to return serve to A&M. Sawatzky then served out the set, posting two aces during a 6-0 run that was capped by Sullivan’s match-winning kill.
Mellinger and Kastmo both completed double-doubles, as Mellinger led the Aggies with 19 digs and Kastmo finished with 10 digs. Sawatzky also registered a double-double with 33 assists and 11 digs, and Pendergast posted double-digit digs with 17.
Columbia’s leading player had only six kills as A&M posted 49 kills to Columbia’s 23 and outhit the Lions .214 to .077.
The Lions fall to 2-4 with the loss.
Sept. 7-8, 2012
Frank Acierno Arena, Newark, Del.
Tournament Schedule (all times are Central):
Friday, September 7
Texas A&M def. Xavier, 3-0 (25-13, 25-15, 25-16)
Columbia def. Delaware, 3-1 (25-23, 25-18, 17-25, 25-22
Xavier def. Columbia, 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-19
Texas A&M def. Delaware, 3-0 (25-12, 25-23, 25-16)
Saturday, September 8
3:30 p.m. Texas A&M def. Columbia, 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-15
6:00 p.m. Delaware vs. Xavier