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