Balanced offense propels A&M past Mississippi State, 3-0

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Texas A&M volleyball team returned to Reed Arena Friday night after an eight-day break. A&M earned its ninth sweep of the season with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-14, 25-22) victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Aggies have won five consecutive matches in Reed Arena, holding a 10-1 record at home.

With the win, the Aggies improve their overall record to 19-6 and 11-4 in the SEC, now holding sole possession of third place in league standings. Mississippi State falls to 13-15 overall and 2-14 in the SEC.

Senior outside hitter Hollann Hans tallied her 21st consecutive match in double figures after finishing with 13 kills to go along with three aces and six digs. Hans moves up to fourth in kills in A&M program history with 1,526 career kills. The outside hitter also moved up to second in service aces in a single season with 43.

Junior setter Camille Conner registered her eighth double-double of the season and 26th of her career after dishing out 28 assists and collecting 11 digs. Conner also smashed down five kills on a .417 mark. The setter’s 28 assists on the night reached the 3,000-assist milestone, now holding 3,018 career assists.

Freshman opposite hitter Treyaunna Rush recorded nine kills, while sophomore Mallory Talbert and freshman Lauren Davis each finished with seven kills. Talbert had no errors to hit .583 and also had two blocks.

Defensively, senior libero Camila Gomez logged eight assists and seven digs. Defensive specialists Karly Basham and Taylor Voss collected eight and seven digs, respectively.

Set One

Mississippi State began the frame with a 3-0 run, but Voss ended the Bulldogs’ run with a kill. The Bulldogs had a four-point lead until a block by Makena Patterson and Rush gave the Aggies some momentum to start a 6-0 run to take a 13-11 lead. During the run, Rush and Hans each had two kills. Hans would heat up smashing down back-to-back kills to keep the Aggies on top. Conner then started a 6-1 run that gave A&M a 21-14 advantage. Lauren Davis fired down a kill for set point and then secured the frame with another kill, 25-19. Hans led all players with nine kills and a .400 clip. Conner dished out 11 assists and recorded five digs.

Set Two

Hans got things started for the Aggies with a kill, but the Bulldogs went ahead 7-3 with a 4-0 run. The Aggies would bounce back with a 4-0 run of their own, as Karly Basham would knot the frame at seven with an ace. A dominating 11-1 run would see the Aggies take their largest lead of the set, 17-11. Kills by Rush and an error by the Bulldogs would force Mississippi State into a timeout with the Aggies leading 22-13. Hans gave the Aggies set point and an error by the Bulldogs closed out the frame, 25-14. As a team, A&M hit .484, led by Rush who finished with five kills and a .714 mark.

Set Three

There were nine ties and four lead changes that determined a 25-22 victory for the Aggies. A kill by Talbert and an ace by Hans helped A&M to a 5-3 edge early on. Back-to-back kills by London Austin-Roark and Hans put the Aggies on top 12-8, but the Bulldogs would storm back to tie the frame at 15. The set remained close, but an attacking error by the Bulldogs (21-21) prompted a 4-1 run to finish the match, including a big block by Hans and Talbert. Mississippi State would put down one more kill, but Talbert secured the match with her third kill of the frame.

Texas A&M Post-Match Quotes
Head Coach Bird Kuhn
Opening Statement:

“It was a great team win in the SEC. It was good to be back home. I think that Karly played a great match, but all around they fought, and we grinded point for point. There's things we had to clean up, but in general, for where we are at right now on the season, it was good for us in the SEC.”

On the pace and taking control of the match:
“I think they came out and played really well. We were down at the beginning, but I loved our composure. Our defensive transition kept us in it, and that was a positive. We would obviously like to see a better start and be more efficient, but I was proud of the way that we stayed composed and really finished.”

Junior setter Camille Conner

On the feel of tonight’s match:
“Shout out to the passers. After the first couple of points in the first set, they were really getting the ball up to the net. Karly (Basham) did an awesome job of getting it up there, so I was able to really see the block and decide whether I want to attack or set up one on ones.”

On the strong hitting opportunities:
“I think it starts in practice with the training that we're doing. It's translated into matches, so just setting up one on ones for them and having them attack hard and putting balls away.”

Freshman defensive specialist Karly Basham

On playing at Reed Arena:
“I think that the whole atmosphere of playing in this gym just means so much and just having our fans always support us. I can always hear them cheering us on and it just really helps our energy, helps us stay composed and helps us stay calm during these matches.”

On senior leadership and how it has helped this season:

“The leadership has been huge. I think that we see each senior lead in different ways. We see Hollann (Hans) lead through her attacking and through her staying composed every single set. We see Haley (Slocum) lead by her voice. We see Camila (Gomez) lead by her defensive intensity all the time. We see Makena (Patterson) lead by her blocking and by her aggressiveness on the net and I just think that it's really going to be missed by them.”

Up Next

The Aggies will play their final home game of the regular season against Ole Miss on Sunday, Nov. 22. First serve is set for 3 p.m. in Reed Arena.