Nov. 24, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas - Texas A&M was unable to duplicate the upset win it had over rival Texas earlier this season as the eighth-ranked Longhorns topped the Aggies, 26-24, 25-19, 25-22, in a State Farm Lone Star Showdown in front of a sold-out crowd of 4.230 at Gregory Gymnasium.
"I thought we competed hard and got the most out of our team," A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. "I was proud of how the team came in and was ready to play and competed with a lot of energy. We played a really good team in a venue that is difficult to play in, and I can't complain. I'm happy that we showed a lot of improvement, and we will continue to improve."
It was the 14th consecutive victory for Texas (22-5, 17-2 Big 12), which has gone 16-1 since the loss to the Aggies. A&M, which snapped a 12-match losing skid against the Horns in the early season match-up, falls to 13-16 overall and 7-12 in the Big 12.
A&M scored three consecutive points to take an early 4-3 lead in the opening stanza. The Aggies went on to build their largest lead at 11-7 and equaled the margin at 14-10 before Texas went on a 9-3 run to regain the lead at 19-17. Kelsey Black ended the run with a kill and added three more kills during a 6-0 rally that gave the Aggies a 23-19 lead. Jennifer Doris got consecutive kills for Texas to put the Horns within 23-21 before Black posted her ninth kill to put the Aggies at set point. Texas then got three straight kills from Juliann Faucette to tie the score for the eighth time. A&M, which was outhit, .238 to .200, then had back-to-back errors, hitting long and then wide as Texas fought off three set points and completed the come-from-behind win.
"We were making good plays even when we were out of rhythm, but then things began to catch up to us at the end of the set," Corbelli said. "We were missing by an inch or two, but we were battling down to the end."
There were nine ties in the second set before Texas pulled away to take a 2-0 lead in the match. The score was tied for the last time at 11-11 when the Longhorns posted five consecutive kills. The Aggies, who were outhit, .567 to .387 in the frame, could get no closer than three points and were trailing 23-19 when Sha'Dare McNeal blasted a kill and Doris and Amber Roberson combined for a block to clinch the set.
Texas never trailed in the third set, although the Aggies got within a point four times late in the set after being behind by as many as four points. The Longhorns used back-to-back kills to take a 23-20 lead, but a kill by Chelsea Ringel and a solo block by Lindsey Miller put A&M within 23-22. Roberson, who hit .737 in the match, then tallied her 15th kill to put the Horns at match point. Doris and McNeal clinched the win for Texas as the duo teamed for a match-ending block.
Black led the Aggies with 14 kills and 11 digs. She finished with 14.5 points to give her 533 points for the season and move her into fourth in the A&M single-season records. Tori Mellinger had 10 digs, the seventh consecutive match she has finished with double figures. Miller led all players with six blocks, including a career-high two solo blocks, to help A&M to an 8-4 advantage in team blocks.
Faucette celebrated "Senior Day" with a match-high 16 kills for the Horns, who outhit A&M, .333 to .241.
A&M concludes the season against fifth-ranked and Big 12-leader Nebraska on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Reed Arena. The Aggies' match against the Huskers, who fell to A&M in their last appearance at Reed Arena, will be the final Big 12 match ever for Nebraska, which joins the Big Ten Conference next season.
It will be "ResLife Night" in the season finale against Nebraska, and A&M students who show their dorm key will get in free. In addition, the dorm with the most attendees will win a free pizza dinner.