Aggies power past Tennessee Tech in three sets
BOWLING GREEN, Kentucky -- The Texas A&M volleyball team (8-3) wrapped up non-conference play with a sweep of Tennessee Tech (3-9) on Saturday afternoon in its WKU Invitational finale inside Diddle Arena. The three-set win (25-16, 25-19, 25-17) marked A&M’s fifth straight-set victory of the season.
In a defensive showing, the Aggies held the Golden Eagles to a .042 hitting percentage, while freshman Ifenna Cos-Okpalla, who earned her first collegiate start, finished with 10 blocks. Her 10 stuffs broke a three-set program record in the 25-point rally scoring era, while they tied for the fourth-most ever in a match during the rally scoring era.
Madison Bowser and Caroline Meuth led the way offensively with eight kills apiece, as Bowser hit for a team-best .467 in the match. Logan Lednicky delivered a team- and career-high four service aces, marking the sixth-most in a three-set match by an Aggie in the 25-point rally scoring era.
Cos-Okpalla made an impact early, as a kill and solo stuff by the freshman gave A&M an early 4-3 edge. Lednicky registered a pair of aces in a five-point surge for the Aggies, marking the third-straight match that the rookie recorded at least two. Back-to-back kills from Bowser helped the Aggies take their largest lead, before an ace from Meuth lifted the Maroon & White to a 22-14 advantage. A block by Lednicky and Bowser pushed A&M to set point, before grabbing the set, 25-16, on Bowser’s match-leading fifth kill.
The Aggies trailed to start the second, before an attacking error by the Golden Eagles shifted momentum. A&M embarked on a 7-1 run, highlighted by Lednicky’s fourth ace, for a 13-9 advantage. A second solo stuff from Cos-Okpalla, followed by an ace from Elena Karakasi, pushed the Maroon & White ahead, 18-11. Lexi Guinn’s first-career kill gave A&M a five-point cushion, before Cos-Okpalla’s third solo block sealed it, 25-19.
Two more blocks by Cos-Okpalla helped the rookie reach a career-high in the opening points of the third set. A kill from Karakasi forced the Golden Eagles to use a timeout, trailing 14-10. A handful of Tennessee Tech errors pushed A&M to its largest lead, sitting at a seven-point advantage. A kill from Faye Wilbricht off the bench helped the Aggies charge ahead, 21-12, while her second kill sealed it, 25-17.
Texas A&M opens Southeastern Conference play at Ole Miss on Wednesday. First serve from the Gillom Sports Center is set for 6:30 p.m. and the match will be broadcast on SEC Network+.
Head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn
Overall thoughts on non-conference play…
“It’s been awesome to see the pieces that we’ve put together battling through preseason and continue to grow as a unit. We love getting people into the match, seeing them own their roles and executing. Knowing the game plan and executing when you get your opportunity is what you strive for as coaches and players. Getting those moments and experience across the board are going to help us as we start SEC play.”
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