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Texas A&M Fends Off Loyola Marymount, 3-1

September 05, 2013
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
SAN ANTONIO – Sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak had a career-high 21 kills to lead Texas A&M to a 25-19, 18-25, 25-21, 25-23 victory over a scrappy Loyola Marymount team today in the Aggies’ UTSA Classic opener at the Convocation Center.

Sophomores Sierra Patrick and Shelby Sullivan, also reach double figures in kills with 12 and 11, respectively, as the Aggies improve to 3-1.

LMU, led by Litara Keil’s 18 kills, falls to 2-2.

Back-to-back kills by Sullivan and Lowak gave the Aggies a 9-8 lead in the opening set. Although the Lions tied the score at 10, A&M used a 4-0 run to begin to pull away. After LMU scored two points to get within 14-12, Aggie setter Allie Sawatzky put down a LMU overpass for a kill, sparking a 6-1 run which lifted the Aggies to a 20-13 lead.

LMU later cut the gap to 22-17 on consecutive errors by the Aggies, but the Lions then served into the net to give the Aggies a 23-17 advantage. The teams traded sideouts to close out the frame, with LMU hitting wide to end the set.

In the second set, A&M struggled to get into system and was able to tie the score only once and unable to ever take a lead. With the score tied at 7-7, LMU mounted its first of three three-point rallies to begin to pull away. The Lions would build their largest lead at 20-12 after Keil posted one of her seven kills in the set. A&M got within 21-16 after LMU hit into the net, but the teams exchanged point for point over the next five plays. With LMU at set point, 24-18, Keil put down the set-winning kill to even the match at 1-1.

The Aggies used a 7-1 run early in the third set to take a 9-5 lead. A&M, which outhit the Lions, .238 to .149, in the set, never trailed and used a 4-0 rally to build its biggest lead at 19-12. LMU chipped away at the lead and got within 23-21 following a three-point spurt, but Lowak unleashed on a LMU overpass to put the Aggies at set point. Patrick followed with a kill to win the set and give A&M a 2-1 lead in the match.

LMU used a five point run to take a 12-8 advantage in the fourth set when A&M began a comeback. The Aggies cut away at the lead and trailed 16-15 when Sullivan and Babers had back-to-back kills, giving the Aggies their first lead since 8-7. LMU later regained the lead at 20-19 following a 3-0 run, but A&M countered with a three-point run of its own, with Babers tying the score with a kill and then teaming with Emily Hardesty for a block to put A&M ahead, 21-20. Patrick closed out the run, tooling the LMU block for a kill that put A&M up, 22-20.

The teams began trading points, with an LMU ball handling error putting the Aggies at match point. The Lions staved off one match point before Patrick sealed the victory with a kill.

Senior libero Kelsey Kinley led the Aggies with 15 digs and setters Mariah Agre and Sawatzky finished with 12 digs apiece. Sullivan and Hardesty tied for match-high honors in blocks with four each.

A&M outhit LMU, .210 to .189, in the match and narrowly led in kills, 57-55. LMU led in digs (77-75) and blocks (8-7) and both teams tallied four aces each.

The Aggies return to the court tonight at 7 p.m. to face Lamar. The Cardinals fell to host UTSA, 3-0, in their first match of the tournament. Live audio and stats will be available at AggieAthletics.com.

Visit AggieAthletics.com for more information on Texas A&M volleyball. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M volleyball team on Facebook and on Twitter by following @AggieVolleyball.  

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