COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M won its own tournament but had to rely on a tiebreaker after falling to a scrappy Missouri State team, 3-2 (11-25, 26-24, 15-25, 25-19, 15-11) to finish the Texas A&M Invitational tied with the Bears and Pepperdine with a 2-1 record. The Aggies were awarded the tournament trophy based on most sets won in the head-to-head competition of the tied teams.
The loss overshadowed notable performances by several A&M players, including junior outside hitter and tournament MVP Brookah Palmer, who had a career-high 24 kills while hitting .404 and also added 10 digs to record the second double-double of her A&M career. A&M sophomore setter Camille Conner joined Palmer on the all-tournament team after dishing out 61 assists, shattering her previous career high by 14.
Junior outside hitter Hollann Hans finished with a double-double, tallying 17 kills and a season-high 12 digs. Sophomore opposite hitter Morgan Davis had a career-high 13 kills, and senior libero Amy Houser and freshman defensive specialist Allison Fields both set career highs as they tied for match-high honors with 20 digs apiece.
The Bears, who were led by Amelia Flynn’s 13 kills, earned the win despite A&M leading in points (86-73), kills (72-60), hitting percentage (.292-.240) assists (72-57), aces (504), and digs (75-73).
A&M, which defeated Nicholls State University, 25-18, 25-17, 25-18, earlier in the day, drops to 6-3 for the season, while MSU improves to 5-5.
The Aggies conclude their non-conference schedule next weekend at the OU/Nike Invitational in Norman, Oklahoma. A&M faces former Big 12 Conference foe Oklahoma on Friday at 7 p.m. at McCasland Field House and will play two matches on Saturday to close out the tournament, facing Northwestern State at 11 a.m. and having a rematch against the Sooners at 5 p.m.
The Aggies open SEC play on Wednesday, Sept. 19 against Arkansas at Reed Arena. First serve is at 7 p.m.
Set 1 – A&M dominated the opening set, outhitting MSU, .441 to .138. The Aggies used a 17-4 run to break away from a 1-1 tie. Palmer would later put down her sixth kill to put A&M at set point, 24-11, and freshman middle blocker Mallory Talbert finished the set with a kill.
Set 2 – MSU used a 3-0 run to build its largest lead at 19-15, forcing A&M to use a timeout. The Aggies responded coming out the timeout, going on a 4-0 run to tie the score, 19-19. An attack error ended the rally, but Davis knotted the score with a crosscourt winner, and Conner teamed with Talbert for a block that gave A&M its first lead, 21-20. The Aggies kept the one-point edge at 22-21 before MSU got back-to-back kills, including a kill from an A&M overpass that put the Bears ahead, 23-22. The teams traded points, with an MSU kill putting the Bears at set point, 24-23. Hans then put down her sixth kill of the frame to tie the set for the 12th time, but an A&M attack error and an ace by MSU ended the Aggies’ comeback hopes as the Bears tied the match at a set apiece
Set 3 – A&M never trailed while outhitting the Bears, .412 to .067. Patterson served an ace to give A&M a 13-7 lead, but MSU chipped away at the deficit, getting within 17-14. Patterson then had a solo block and teamed with Conner for a block to begin a 4-0 rally for the Aggies. MSU temporarily ended the run with a kill, but Patterson countered with a kill that marked the start of another 4-0 run that closed out the set, 25-15.
Set 4 – A&M had taken a 19-17 advantage following back-to-back MSU miscues, but the Bears, who outhit the Aggies, .452 to .294, then reeled off eight unanswered points to complete the 25-19 win and force a fifth set.
Set 5 – There were seven ties and six lead changes in the final set, which saw MSU outhit A&M, .316 to .071. A&M, playing in its first five-set match of the season, used a three-point rally to equal its largest lead, 10-8, but a service error and back-to-back blocks by the Bears put MSU ahead, 11-10. A&M hit long on the ensuing play, and MSU followed with a block and a kill to be serving for the match, 14-10. Davis kept A&M alive with a kill, but after a replay, A&M’s next attack sailed wide to end the match.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn
“Missouri State is a good team. I have played against them for a while, but at the end of the day we had opportunities to finish and we need to execute.”
On what adjustment should have been made in 2nd set…
“They [Missouri] are a great defensive team so we kind of knew they were going to bounce back. That execution offensively for us needs to be sharper, and we talk about that when we play good defensive teams. You just have to keep attacking and playing smart. It is a game of adjustments, and they continued to adjust. Our game plan just has to be executed on every point and every set.”
Texas A&M junior outside hitter Brookah Palmer
On what she personally needs to work on…
“I think just mixing up my hits. At the end I choked on some hits that I should have put away or just at least gotten over. So just keep on executing in pressure situations.”
On how the team played tonight…
“I think overall at the end we need to execute more. I think we were running a good offense; Camille [Conner] was distributing us well. We have to put that ball away."
MVP-Brookah Palmer, Texas A&M
Camille Conner, Texas A&M
Alli O’Harra, Pepperdine
Hana Lishman, Pepperdine
Makina Wratten, Missouri State
Brieanna Hill, Nicholls
Complete tournament results:
Thursday, Sept. 6
Missouri State def. Nicholls, 3-0 (25-8, 25-13, 25-12)
Texas A&M def. Pepperdine, 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-22)
Friday, Sept. 7
Texas A&M def. Nicholls, 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-18)
Pepperdine def. Missouri State, 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-18)
Pepperdine def. Nicholls, 3-0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-17)
Missouri State def. Texas A&M, 3-2 (11-25, 26-24, 15-25, 25-19, 15-11)
Texas A&M 2 1
Pepperdine 2 1
Missouri State 2 1
Nicholls 0 3