STARKVILLE, Miss. – Freshman middle blocker London Austin-Roark had a match-high 11 kills, and junior outside hitter Hollann Hans added 10 kills to lead Texas A&M to a 19-25, 25-19, 25-14, 25-22 victory over Mississippi State today at the Newell-Grissom Building.
Texas A&M improved to 15-13 overall and 8-8 in Southeastern Conference matches, and the Aggies also improved to 10-0 in the all-time series against Mississippi State. The Bulldogs suffered their 13 consecutive loss to fall to 5-24, including 1-15 in SEC matches only.
Hans, whose match-winning kill gave her double-figure kills for the 15th consecutive match, also had four aces to put her within one ace of tying and two of breaking the all-time program record of 59 aces in a season. The record has been held by Chris Zogata since 1983, and at 35 years, it is the program’s longest standing season record.
Sophomore setter Camille Conner also added a career-high four aces as the Aggies totaled 12 for the match, marking the team’s most aces in a four-set match this season. Conner also dished out 45 assists, giving her 1,175 for the season and putting her within 12 assists of tying and 13 assists of breaking the season record for most assists in the 25-point rally scoring era.
Senior libero Amy Houser reached double-figure digs for the 20th consecutive match, as she finished with a team-high 16 digs. Freshman defensive specialist Allison Fields added nine digs, and freshman defensive specialist Taylor Voss, who made her third start, pitched in a career-high seven digs.
Junior pin hitters Brookah Palmer and Sydnye Fields tallied nine kills apiece, and Makena Patterson came off the bench and had seven kills and hit .556 during her two sets played as A&M led Mississippi State, 56-41 in kills while outhitting the Bulldogs, .211 to .195.
A&M also led in assists (54-39), aces (12-1), digs (50-46), blocks (7-6) and points (75-48).
Set 1 – The Bulldogs built a 12-5 lead before Texas A&M scored eight unanswered points to take its first lead, 13-12. The lead was short lived, however, as MSU countered with a 4-0 run to regain a 16-13 advantage. A&M, which was outhit, .097 to .000 in the frame, was unable to overcome the deficit. The Bulldogs later reeled off five consecutive points to equal their largest lead, 22-15. A&M would get within 22-18 following back-to-back kills by Austin-Roark and Sydnye Fields and an ace by Conner, but a kill by the Bulldogs and a ball handling miscue by A&M put Mississippi State at set point. Austin-Roark got a kill to put the Aggies within 24-19, but A&M then served long to end the set.
Set 2 – A&M used a 3-0 surge to break away from a 4-4 tie, and the Aggies would lead for the remainder of the set. The Bulldogs, who were outhit, .414 to .308, did stay within striking distance and were within 16-14 before A&M went on a 6-2 run to build its largest lead, 22-16. MSU got back within 23-19, but a service error put the Aggies at set point. Palmer then ended the set with an ace to even the match at a set apiece.
Set 3 – A&M scored the first three points and held the lead for the entire stanza. The Aggies, who outhit MSU, .344 to .200, later held a 15-11 lead before Hans got a kill that sent her to the service line. The Corpus Christi native ripped two of her three aces in the set during a 7-1 run that put the Aggies up, 22-12. Leading 22-13, Palmer and Patterson, who started the set to make her first appearance of the match, had back-to-back kills to put A&M at set point. An A&M attack sailed long to prolong the set before Patterson put down her team-leading fourth kill of the set to close out the 25-14 win, giving A&M a 2-1 lead in the match.
Set 4 – Mississippi State jumped out to a 6-2 lead and equaled its largest lead at 11-7 before consecutive kills by Hans and Austin-Roark, a solo block by Hans and an ace by Conner knotted the score for the first time since 2-2. A&M was unable to take the lead until, with the Bulldogs leading, 16-13, Sydnye Fields got a kill that sparked a 4-0 run and gave the Aggies their first lead, 17-16. The teams then began to exchange point for point, with MSU tying the score four times before Hans had a kill and an ace during a 3-0 run that put the Aggies up, 23-20. MSU, which narrowly outhit A&M, 192 o .189, got within 23-22 but then a serve sailed long to put A&M at match point. Hans then ended the contest with her fourth kill of the set and her 10th kill of the match.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn
“We will take the finish, on the road in the SEC. The first set has to be clean in order to set the tone for the match. It all comes back to consistency on our side of the net. Makena [Patterson] came in and stabilized us offensively.
“This jump starts a solid week of competing for us. The quick turnaround between matches will push our competitive response to finish out SEC play.”
Texas A&M plays its final road match of the season on Wednesday as the Aggies travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for a rematch against the Alabama Crimson Tide. First serve is at 7 p.m. at Foster Auditorium, and the match will be streamed on SEC Network +. The Tide held off A&M, 3-2, when the teams met earlier this season at Reed Arena.
A&M closes out the season Friday, Nov. 23 at noon against LSU at Reed Arena. It will be Senior Day, and lone senior and team captain Amy Houser will be honored.
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