Hans, Conner Catapult Aggies to Victory Over SEC Leading Rebels
Texas A&M was victorious in a five-set (20-25, 25-18, 25-21, 18-25, 15-12) thriller over the unbeaten Ole Miss Rebels on Sunday afternoon at the Gillom Sports Center. The Aggies improve to 13-5 and 5-3 in the SEC while snapping Ole Miss’ 14-match win streak and handing the Rebels their first conference loss of the season (14-4, 6-1 SEC).
Senior outside hitter Hollann Hans dominated the match after logging her 30th career double-double after amassing 32 kills and 14 digs, all while hitting a .333 clip. Her 32 kills ties her career-high, the most kills in a five-set SEC match in A&M program history and ties her for eighth in kills in a five-set match in the conference. The Corpus Christi native also recorded her third straight match of 20 or more kills and continues her streak of 14 consecutive double figure kill matches.
Junior setter Camille Conner was outstanding for the Aggies after distributing 52 assists and collecting nine digs and seven kills. This is the second time this season Conner has recorded 50 or more assists.
Freshman outside hitter Lauren Davis registered her ninth career match with 10 or more kills after finishing with 11.
Defensively, senior libero Camila Gomez led all players with 19 digs and Taylor Voss garnered 10 digs. Middle blockers Mallory Talbert and Makena Patterson notched five blocks apiece.
Freshman Treyaunna Rush got the Aggies on the board first with a kill. Ole Miss went ahead 10-7 after taking advantage of A&M errors. The Aggies would battle back, using a 5-0 run, which included a trio of kills by Hans. Points would trade back and forth between both teams until Ole Miss went on a 7-0 run to get them at set point. Lauren Davis and Hans would reel off back-to-back kills to keep the Aggies alive, but the Rebels secured the frame with a kill, 25-20. Hans led all players with eight kills, with the help from Conner as she dished out 10 assists.
The duo of Talbert and Conner gave A&M some momentum. Talbert smashed down two kills, while Conner had a sneak attack to record the kill. The duo would give the Aggies a 5-3 lead with a massive block. Conner’s kill started a 4-0 run, as A&M extended its lead to 12-7. The Aggies were unstoppable after firing down eight consecutive kills to put A&M on top 21-9. During this 8-0 run, Hans put down five, while Rush recorded two and Talbert smashed down one. Ole Miss was relentless and chipped away at its deficit, but Conner closed out the frame with her fourth kill of the afternoon, 25-18. Hans continued to lead all players with 15 kills. Talbert and Lauren Davis each logged five kills and Conner delivered out a total of 26 assists.
A seven-kill performance by Hans in the third frame lifted the Aggies past the Rebels 25-21. Hans started the set with a kill and from there the Aggies would hold their lead. A trio of kills by Lauren Davis and Patterson put A&M out in front 19-15. Patterson continued her dominance with a kill and solo block to extend the Aggies lead to 21-17. Hans put the Aggies in position for set point with a kill and Talbert and Lauren Davis secured the frame with a block. Through three sets, Hans logged 22 kills and Conner tallied 36 assists. Taylor Voss and Camila Gomez were stellar on the back line, both in double figures in digs.
Ole Miss was strong out of the gate, going ahead 9-4 with back-to-back blocks. Hans fired down two consecutive kills to pull the Aggies within one, but Ole Miss took advantage of a 5-0 run to take a 20-13 lead. A&M fought back with Hans and Lauren Davis firing kills, but Ole Miss’ Emily Stroup secured the frame with a kill 25-18. Hans was one shy of her season-high of 29 kills with Conner tallying 45 assists. Voss and Gomez compiled 17 and 10 digs, respectively.
A kill by Hans and an attacking error by the Rebels put the Aggies on top 2-0. A&M had three consecutive points with a London Austin-Roark kill, a Hans ace and an Ole Miss service error to grab a 6-3 lead. The Rebels knotted the frame at six with a 3-0 run. The frame was tied at points seven, eight and nine before Ole Miss took a two-point lead. Hans was clutch, absolutely destroying back-to-back kills to knot the set at 11. Conner and Talbert put the Aggies on top with a block, forcing the Rebels to call timeout. A kill by Hans and monstrous block by Talbert gave A&M a 14-12 edge at match point. Conner would become the hero, smashing down a kill in the deep corner of the court to clinch the win 15-12.
Texas A&M Post-Match Quotes
Texas A&M Head Coach Bird Kuhn
“Today was huge for us. Camille [Conner] actually said it in the huddle during one of the challenges in the fifth set. This is our time to grow up and it’s in that moment. When it comes from one of the players and a leader like Camille – that speaks volumes. Hollann [Hans] was obviously the go-to, but we had players step up. We had great block touches and it was just great play at the end. We out-covered them and we were actually terminating off of our own covers. I commend them for that and that was the game changer.”
On picking up a road win against an undefeated team in the SEC
“A team that is rolling like the way Ole Miss has been, is more of a threat than some of the best volleyball skilled teams. Ole Miss had that confidence and they played very well today. Obviously they came out strong in the first set, but I loved our response in the second set and then it just became a battle. This win for our program on the road against the number one team in the SEC is huge. All we can do is roll from that and continue to develop in our game. We have a lot to clean up on our side, but I commend Ole Miss. They’re a great team and they’re gritty.”
On Hollann Hans’ strong offensive numbers
“Hollann is phenomenal. She wanted the ball and she asked for the ball. She stepped up and you want your go-to players to be that way and have that mindset, and she did today. She’s just going to be that way for us and she’s the rock. She now owns that and she recognizes the moments when she needs to be that. It’s huge for her and I’m really proud of her. I’m proud of the whole team though. The whole team rallies around each other and they all get fired up for their role and their job. That’s what it comes down to – doing your job.”
Senior outside hitter Hollann Hans
On her performance and defeating Ole Miss on the road
“You know, I’m feeling so good, not just because of the amount of kills I had, but my team did so amazing. We came together as a team and just put a whole match together. It feels really good to win and I’m super thankful. It feels amazing.”
On finishing a tight five-set match
“It’s huge for us and we talked about how it’s such a big step for us mentally. The way we just came together as a team and fought hard and everyone was on and did their jobs was awesome. It can only go up from here so we’re super exited.”
Junior setter Camille Conner
On the team’s win
“Oh my goodness. It was just awesome to see us come together as a team and finally finish a fifth set. We were super calm and Hollann was on tonight. She really put the team on her back for the win. We were so excited after the game. I don’t think it’s really hit us yet, but I know we’re going to be super excited to get back into the gym training.”
The Aggies return home to host Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 27. First serve is set for 2 p.m. in Reed Arena.