KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Texas A&M came up just short of picking up their first SEC road match of the season, but Tennessee came away with the five set victory (26-24, 15-25, 25-23, 20-25, 19-17) Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee improves to 1-1 in SEC play (7-5 overall), while the Aggies fall to 1-1 and 9-3 overall.
Senior outside hitter Hollann Hans led all players with 24 kills, recording her eighth consecutive match in double figures and the 71st of her career. Hans also registered her 27th double-double of her career after finishing with 16 digs.
Freshman outside hitter Lauren Davis had her fifth consecutive match of finishing in double figures with 13 kills.
Junior setter Camille Conner finished the match with a tremendous stat line, just shy of a triple-double. The setter notched nine kills, 46 assists, two service aces, nine digs and four blocks.
Junior middle blocker Makena Patterson recorded a career-high 11 blocks, while tying her career-high with two solo blocks. Patterson also had seven kills.
Senior libero Camila Gomez was dominant on defense, registering a career-high 31 digs. Freshman defensive specialist Karly Basham added to the career-high train after recording 12 digs.
Tennessee took advantage of a 4-0 run to jump out to a 9-3 lead. A&M called timeout and came out of the break with a 7-0 run to take their first lead of the match, 10-9. Camila Gomez was tremendous from the service line during this run and had two service aces. Back-to-back kills by Mallory Talbert and Lauren Davis gave the Aggies an 18-15 lead, as the Ladys Vols called their second timeout. Tennessee was able to climb back into the frame with four consecutive points to win the set, 26-24. Patterson, Conner and Lauren Davis each finished with three kills.
The Aggies stormed out an 11-4 lead and Tennessee would call timeout after a block by Treyaunna Rush and Patterson. Kills from Hans and Conner would help A&M control the remainder of the frame. A kill by Patterson and back-to-back kills by Hans pushed the Aggies ahead 21-14. A&M would secure the set with three straight errors by the Lady Vols, 25-15. Hans led all players throughout two sets with eight kills and Conner added to her total of 17 assists.
There were seven ties and four lead changes before Tennessee reeled off three consecutive kills to go ahead 15-11 at the media timeout. The Lady Vols had a five-point lead, but back-to-back kills by Hans and Rush pulled the Aggies within three. A&M was able to come within one at Tennessee’s set point, but Tennessee finished the frame with a kill, 25-23. Hans continued to lead the match with 12 kills and Gomez’s tremendous defense put her at 21 digs.
A block by Patterson and Lauren Davis started a 6-0 run for the Aggies as they were able to take a 10-4 advantage. A&M held their lead throughout the remainder of the frame with Rush putting down her third kill of the day to give the Aggies an eight-point lead. Patterson and Lauren Davis helped the Aggies reach set point, but Tennessee would put down two straight kills to come within four. A service error by the Lady Vols would close out the set 25-20.
It was a back and forth battle in a decisive fifth set. Tennessee got on the board first and had a two-point lead halfway through the frame. Conner pulled the Aggies within one with her eighth kill of the match and Patterson knotted the frame at nine with a solo block. Tennessee came out of their timeout with a kill and a block to tie it at 13. It was a battle until the end, as Hans gave the Aggies three consecutive match points with her kills, but Tennessee was relentless. The Lady Vols closed out the match with back-to-back kills to win 19-17.
Texas A&M Post-Match Quotes
Texas A&M Head Coach Bird Kuhn
“When we’re on the road, we’re up and down. We needed to finish the first set. We had our opportunities. Our challenge right now is finishing. In critical plays you have to be you and be confident in your job. That’s what we just talked about – finishing. This team needs to finish and we need to get them there. They executed at a high level to get themselves back in the first set, which was huge. Feeling like you’re in control of the match and being in control of the match are two different things and that’s one thing we have to learn.”
Texas A&M continues to play on the road when they travel to Arkansas to take on the Razorbacks Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.