Davis, Talbert Register Career Performances in Win Over Houston
BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Following career-high performances from Lauren Davis and Mallory Talbert, Aggie volleyball opened the Texas A&M Invitational with a 3-1 (27-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-20) win, handing Houston its first loss on Friday night at Reed Arena.
With the win, the Maroon & White improve to 4-2 overall this season and rise to 1-0 in tournament play. Houston fell for the first time this year against the Aggies, dropping to 6-1 overall in the 2021 campaign. In the all-time series between the two programs, Texas A&M extends its lead to 33-29 all-time.
As a team, the Aggies recorded a season-high in kills (69) in the team’s first four-set affair of the year, hitting at a .244 clip. Davis led the way for A&M offensively, booking a new career high in kills with 21 successful swings against the Cougars. Talbert tied her career high in kills with 14, booking a stellar .542 hitting percentage and four total blocks in the process. Morgan Christon saw success in all areas of the game, tallying her seventh career double-double and first of the season with a 21-kill, 14-dig performance, notching season highs in both statistical categories. Both Christon and Davis are now tied for 10th on A&M’s leaderboard for kills in a four-set outing during the 25-point rally scoring era.
Fifth-year setter Camille Conner paved the way for the Aggie attack and recorded 58 assists on the night, ranking second on the A&M leaderboard for assists in a four-set match during the 25-point rally scoring era. Conner additionally recorded a season high in digs, finishing with 16 total for her second double-double of the year.
Davis commandeered the Aggie offense in the early points of the first set, and a pair of kills from Aggie middle blockers saw A&M take a quick 7-5 lead. Things remained close heading into the media timeout, as the Cougars took a 15-14 advantage with both squads hitting efficiently, each logging percentages above the .300 mark. Four consecutive kills from Davis out of the timeout saw the Maroon & White battle back to within one and eventually tie it at 21-21. Despite two Cougar set points, the Aggies forced extras and eventually took the first frame by a 27-25 margin after a kill by Christon followed by a Houston attack error.
Set two opened with a thunderous double block by Treyaunna Rush and Mallory Talbert followed by a pair of swings in the middle culminating in an early 4-1 Aggie advantage. Christon took command of the offense on the left pin, recording three kills in a four-point span to guide A&M to a 10-7 advantage. Houston pulled back after the first timeout, tying the match at 17-17. However, after a slew of Houston errors and a clinching kill from Talbert, Texas A&M took a commanding 2-0 set lead by a 25-21 margin.
The third stanza opened with a powerful back-row smash from Christon and continued dominance on the left side by Davis. Talbert reached the double-digit mark in kills with a pair of smashes to give the Aggies a 9-8 lead, but both teams continued exchanging blows heading into a 14-14 deadlock. The Cougars utilized a 4-0 run to pull ahead 19-15, but a 3-0 Aggie response led by Davis temporarily stalled their momentum. After managing a 6-2 run, Houston took the third set by a score of 25-20.
London Austin-Roark rejected Houston’s first swing of the fourth but the Cougars held an early 4-3 edge. A connection between Conner and Talbert saw A&M lead by two, but Houston responded and held a four-score advantage forcing an Aggie timeout. Conner’s solo block after an overpass halted Houston’s progress, and continued dominance at the net from the Maroon & White saw the frame leveled at 15-all. The Aggies rattled off a 6-1 scoring run following the stalemate and took a 22-18 lead, three points away from the team’s fourth win of the year. The Aggies called on Ciera Hecht behind the service line and a block by Madison Bowser at the net to bring A&M to match point, with Davis closing out the 25-20 win.
Aggie volleyball continues the Texas A&M Invitational tomorrow at Reed Arena, as the Maroon & White take on UAlbany at 12:30 p.m. followed by a 7:30 p.m. matchup with UTSA.
Texas A&M Head Coach, Laura “Bird” Kuhn
On her team’s performance…
“We were excited to be home. Obviously, we played Monday, but we came out against a strong team and we knew Houston was going to be fired up. They were undefeated coming in here. It was going to be a grind. It’s an overall team win, and we had some solid performances from our starters. I am proud of the way that we responded as a team, but the way our bench responded too was what we needed. Late in the fourth set, we had people step up and just do their jobs when they went in.”
Junior outside hitter Lauren Davis
On handing Houston its first loss of the season…
“I think knowing Houston was coming in here undefeated played a big role in tonight’s win. We have a saying – that we like to be dream crushers. So, knowing that they started the season 6-0 gave us that extra fire. Tonight was a really big win for us, but just coming together was a huge team win. Everybody did a good job playing their part and taking advantage of what we’ve got.”
Senior middle blocker Mallory Talbert
On the team’s energy and feeding off it…
“I was really proud of the energy that our team had. I think we had a really focused week in practice, and I think that translated out here tonight and it was fun to see. Just everyone having fun, doing their job, knowing their role and executing.”
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