GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Texas A&M volleyball team came up just short of taking down the Co-SEC Champion, No. 15 Florida Saturday afternoon at the Exactech Arena, falling in five sets (17-25, 25-19, 18-25, 25-22, 13-15).
With today’s win, Florida clinches a share of the SEC title with Kentucky after finishing with a 25-4 overall record and 16-2 in conference action. The Aggies conclude the regular season with a 21-7 overall record and a 13-5 SEC record. This was A&M’s second best finish in the SEC since 2015, when A&M won the conference.
Four Aggies finished with double-digit kills, led by freshman opposite hitter Treyaunna Rush, who tied her career-high in both kills (12) and blocks (6). Junior middle block Makena Patterson tied her season-high 12 kills on a .385 clip, while also sending back seven blocks.
Senior outside hitter Hollann Hans logged her 12th double-double of the season after finishing with 11 kills and 10 digs. She also had four blocks and two aces. Sophomore middle blocker Mallory Talbert recorded 11 kills and three blocks.
Junior setter Camille Conner dished out 47 assists, while collecting eight digs. Senior libero Camila Gomez notched a career-high 32 digs to tally her second 30+ dig performance of the season.
The Aggies jumped out to a 3-0 lead with kills by Rush and Patterson. Florida would storm its way back with a 9-0 run to take a 9-3 lead. Hans and Patterson ended the Gators’ run with a block, but a 7-2 run by Florida would put the Gators ahead 18-9, forcing the Aggies to take a timeout. Taylor Voss served the Aggies on a 5-0 run to pull A&M within four, 18-14. Florida continued to build on its lead to take the first frame, 25-17. Patterson led the Aggies with four kills on a .667 clip. Patterson and Hans each had three blocks.
It was a game of runs for the Aggies, using two 7-2 runs to take the frame, 25-19. It was a grind for both teams after trading points with nine ties to begin the set. The Aggies went on a 3-0 run with back-to-back blocks and a kill by Talbert to take an 11-9 lead. Florida would knot the set at 11, but a 4-0 run by A&M would put the Aggies back on top 15-11, forcing the Gators to take their second timeout. Florida was able to put down two kills, but Talbert began the Aggies’ 7-2 run to put A&M on top 22-15. Back-to-back kills by Rush would see the Aggies reach set point, 24-17. Florida was able to grab two more points, but Hans closed out the frame with a kill. Conner dished out 12 assists, while Gomez was tremendous on the back line with 10 digs.
Florida got out to a hot start, using an 8-2 run to begin the frame. A&M stormed back with a 5-0 run, ended by an ace by Karly Basham, but Florida would regain its six-point lead, 11-5. The Aggies continued to battle, but both teams used 3-0 runs, as Florida kept its lead. A kill by Conner and back-to-back aces by Hans helped the Aggies pull within four and the Gators would call timeout, 22-18. Florida came out of the break with a 3-0 run to close out the frame, 25-18. Gomez compiled 20 digs throughout the first three sets.
Rush got things started for the Aggies with a kill. Florida knotted the frame at six and from there points traded back and forth, as there were six ties to point 12. The Gators were able to take a two-point lead with errors by the Aggies, but an error by Florida and a kill by Lauren Davis once again knotted the frame at 16. Later, A&M then used a 4-1 run to go ahead 23-19, as the Gators called timeout. Florida would pull within two with a 3-0 run, but Hans smashed down a kill to put the Aggies at set point. With a two-point advantage, Lauren Davis put down a kill in the back corner. Florida challenged that the ball was out, but the call stood, as the Aggies secured the frame, 25-22.
Rush and Patterson fired the Aggies up with a block to get things started, as A&M would take a 3-0 lead. Back-to-back kills by Patterson and Lauren Davis put the Aggies ahead 6-3. The Gators would come back with a 4-0 run taking a 9-7 lead, but Patterson smashed down two consecutive kills to knot the frame at nine. Florida reached set point with a 5-0 run, holding a five-point lead. A kill by Patterson and an attacking error by the Gators kept the Aggies alive to pull within three, as Florida took a timeout. Voss dropped in a service ace and a Florida attacking error would once again force Florida into a timeout, with the Aggies trailing 14-13. Florida ended the frame with a kill, 15-13.
Texas A&M Post-Match Quotes
Head Coach Bird Kuhn
“I’m proud of the fight we showed at the end of that match. I think we were up and down, but we have to be more consistent and just execute. We had players step up offensively and I think we had good balance, but again on the road in the SEC, you have to play consistent. You have to control the environment you’re in, but I’m proud of them and we’re looking forward to the postseason.”
The Aggies return to College Station and await their postseason fate. The Division I NCAA Selection Show is set for Sunday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPNU.
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