Texas A&M falls to 7-3, with all three losses coming against ranked opponents.
The Aggies, who entered the match having won the first set in each of their first nine matches, fell behind early in the opening set as they struggled with passing and were unable to get in sync. CSU would score five unanswered points to take a 6-1 lead, forcing A&M to quickly call its first timeout. The Rams continued to extend their lead, later using a 6-0 run to build a 14-3 advantage. A&M, which was outhit .308 to -.031, never got closer than nine points, and the Rams used a 4-1 run to close out the 25-11 win.
There were five ties and three lead changes early in the second set. A&M opened by scoring the first three points as redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers had a kill and two blocks. The Rams, however, countered with a 5-0 run to take the lead. Babers and sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak later posted back-to-back kills, and CSU followed with an attack into the antenna that returned the lead to A&M, 8-7.
CSU answered with consecutive kills to go up 9-8. A kill by Aggie freshman opposite hitter Kaysie Shebeneck tied the score at 9-9 before the Rams began to pull away. CSU, holding a narrow 14-13 edge, reeled off four straight points to build an 18-13 lead. A&M freshman outside hitter Emily Hardesty ended the run with a kill, but the Rams, who outhit A&M .317 to .067 in the frame, connected on three kills go up, 21-14.
The run ended as the Rams attacked an A&M overpass but sailed it wide. Aggie sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan followed with a kill to put A&M within 21-16 before CSU closed out the set on a 4-0 run to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
There were 10 ties and four lead changes in the third set as the teams battled back and forth. Lowak and Shebeneck had back-to-back kills that put the Aggies up 6-5. The Rams twice tied the score before A&M reeled off four consecutive points to build its largest lead of the match at 13-9. CSU fought back, tying the score four times before a kill by Samantha Peters put the Rams up, 20-19, giving them their first lead since 5-4.
A&M, which was outhit .216 to .135 in the set, had some miscommunication on defense that allowed the Rams to go up, 21-19, but Sullivan posted her sixth kill of the match to put the Aggies within 21-20. It would be the last point A&M would score as two kills by the Rams and consecutive attack errors by A&M closed out the match.
A&M was held to season lows in both kills (28) and hitting percentage (.061), while CSU’s .279 hitting percentage was the highest by an A&M opponent this season. CSU outblocked A&M, 11.5 to 5.0.
Sullivan and Lowak tied for team-high honors in kills with six. Allie Sawatzky led the Aggies in digs with 11 and Babers had a team-high five blocks.
Michelle Lawrence led the Rams with nine kills while hitting at a .444 clip, and Peters had a match-high six blocks.
A&M concludes its non-conference season Sunday at Northern Colorado. Match time is at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. MT) at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion in Greeley, Colo. Live scoring of the match will be available at AggieAthletics.com
A&M opens Southeastern Conference play at Reed Arena, Sunday, September 29 against Georgia.
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.
Texas A&M Quotes:
Head Coach Laurie Corbelli
“I felt like we were never on the attack. We let a really experienced veteran team on their home court intimidate us from the beginning, and we never felt like we were attacking. Everything was streaky, and not being able to get into a rhythm really makes people question themselves, especially a relatively young group. I’m hopeful that we’ll learn a lot. This is how some SEC matches are going to be on the road. I’m almost grateful we experienced this out of conference, on the road, against a really strong team at home. We needed to see what we had. It is worrisome, but at least we know where we stand and how some people respond in that situation, so we know where we need to work. And, hopefully we got some things out of our system.”