COLLEGE STATION, Texas – After a three-match road stint, the Aggies returned home to Reed Arena to sweep (25-15, 25-17, 33-31) South Carolina on Friday night. Texas A&M extends their home win streak to six matches: their best start since 2011. The Aggies improve to 11-4 overall and 3-2 in the SEC, while the Gamecocks fall to 10-7 and 2-3 in league play.
Senior outside hitter Hollann Hans registered her 10th consecutive match with double figures after recording a match-high 18 kills on a .486 mark. She also tallied eight digs and an ace.
Sophomore middle blocker Mallory Talbert was two kills shy of tying her career-high after firing down 11 kills with no errors to finish with a .579 hitting percentage.
Junior setter Camille Conner was outstanding for the Aggies all around, finishing with five kills, a .556 clip, while dishing out 36 assists and collecting eight digs.
Senior libero Camila Gomez logged 18 digs, tying her season-high in a three-set match, while also delivering seven assists.
The Aggies were strong from the service lines with eight service aces by six different Aggies. Conner and Taylor Voss tallied two aces apiece. As a team, A&M finished with a .347 hitting percentage.
Mallory Talbert started a 6-1 run for the Aggies helping A&M jump out to a 12-5 lead. South Carolina would come within five, but an ace by Allison Fields and a kill by Talbert put A&M ahead 19-11. Patterson secured the frame with back-to-back kills, 25-15. Talbert led the set with four kills, while Patterson and Lauren Davis each had three. Conner led the charge, dishing out 10 assists, as the Aggies would finish with a .440 clip.
A&M went ahead 8-4 with an ace by Conner and a kill by Hans. The Gamecocks stormed back, rattling off five straight points to go ahead 12-9. Back-to-back kills by Hans and Talbert stopped South Carolina’s run, pulling the Aggies within one. Kills by Talbert and Hans and a big block by Patterson gave A&M an 18-15 lead. Texas A&M would close out the frame with a 7-2 run, winning set two 25-17. Hans was unstoppable, smashing eight kills in set two to add to her total of 10.
It was a see-saw battle with 22 ties and 10 lead changes. After falling behind early on, Talbert started a 3-0 run to tie the set at six. The Gamecocks kept the frame close, going ahead 13-11 after smashing down three consecutive kills. Lauren Davis fired down a kill to start a 4-0 run, which ended with a Conner ace to put the Aggies ahead 18-17. The frame continued to be close, but Conner and Talbert put the Aggies at match point with back-to-back kills. The Gamecocks did not give up, tying the set with a 3-0 run. A block by Rush and London Austin-Roark set the Aggies up for match point once again, 27-26, but South Carolina put down back-to-back kills. With the frame tied at 30, senior leader Hans came through destroying back-to-back kills to secure the 33-31 victory.
Texas A&M Post-Match Quotes
Texas A&M Head Coach Bird Kuhn
“It was a fantastic 3-0 win tonight. It’s always great to be back on our home court, and it’s even greater when you can get a 3-0 conference win like this. Finishing was a key goal for us tonight, and obviously set three was really tight, but we got it done. Right now, where we’re at, in the middle of October, that third set was an excellent example of finishing what we start.”
On the difference between the first two sets and the third:
“As you can see, we’re going up against great opponents. South Carolina is a fantastic team, so they’re not just going to hand the game over in the third set. They played better and we lost a bit of our ball control in the third. I felt like we weren’t in system as well towards the end, but we needed to find ways to score and that’s what we did.”
Junior Setter Camille Conner
On her work at the defensive end:
“I’ve been working on my defense in practice. “It’s something that is valuable, for a setter to play defense. I know I can step up on the defense side so it was just exciting to get those up because I have been working on those in practice and to see the results we’re super exciting.”
On her decision-making process:
“It’s definitely a feel for the game. We have a game plan, but the coaches give me freedom to make quick decisions watching the block, whether I want to stay close to the middle or go out to the pin.”
Senior Outside Hitter Hollann Hans
On her teamwork with Camille Conner:
“It’s huge, those two especially at the end were really key digs. She is just all around, so she can do just about everything, so it’s really awesome to have a setter like that.”
On finishing what they start:
“It’s felt really good, that’s been our focus, finishing and keeping our foot on the gas. We did let up a little bit, but the way that we composed ourselves at the end and finished strong was really awesome.”
Texas A&M hosts No. 14 Florida Sunday, Oct. 13. First serve is set for 2 p.m. at Reed Arena.