Sawatzky Leads A&M to Sweep Against Mississippi State
The 6-2 lefty from St. Andrews, Manitoba, Canada, hit a career-high .714 while leading the Aggies with 10 kills and zero errors in 14 attempts. She also added 25 assists and tied for team-high honors with 12 digs to complete her fifth triple-double over the last 11 matches.
With the win, A&M snaps a three-match losing skid and improves to 10-6 overall and 2-3 in Southeastern Conference matches. Mississippi State drops to 9-8, 0-3 SEC.
A&M never trailed in the opening set while outhitting the Bulldogs, .324 to .244. Sophomore outside hitter Sierra Patrick had back-to-back kills and Mariah Agre served an ace as the Aggies broke away from a 5-5 tie. Mississippi State twice got within a point, the last coming at 13-12 before A&M reeled off five unanswered points to take an 18-12 lead.
The Aggies later held a 19-16 advantage when Sawatzky put down two of her six kills in the set, sparking a 4-0 run that put A&M up, 23-16. Mississippi State countered with two kills before sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan got a kill on the slide attack to put A&M at set point, 24-18. A&M committed an error on the next play, but Mississippi State served long to close out the set.
There were 13 ties and five lead changes in the second set. A block by Sawatzky and Sullivan put the Aggies ahead, 11-8, at which point the Bulldogs called a timeout. Mississippi State outscored the Aggies 6-2 coming out of the timeout to take a 14-13 lead. A&M tied the score three times before Patrick’s serve hit the tape and fell over for an ace to give the Aggies a 17-16 advantage. The Bulldogs regained the lead following a block and a kill, but A&M sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak connected on consecutive kills to put the Aggies ahead, 19-18. Mississippi State would tie the score at 19- and 20-all but was unable to retake the lead as redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers took control at the net, getting two blocks and two kills during a 4-1 run that put the Aggies at set point, 24-21. Patrick followed with a kill to cap the 25-21 win, giving A&M a 2-0 lead in the match.
A&M led the entire third set, outhitting the Bulldogs, .200 to -.025. The Aggies used an 8-1 run to build a comfortable 14-5 lead, but Mississippi State fought back and cut the deficit to 17-13. A kill by freshman outside hitter Emily Hardesty began a 4-1 rally by the Aggies that gave A&M a 21-14 cushion. Taylor Scott posted her 11th kill of the match to put the Bulldogs within 21-15, but Aggie freshman opposite hitter Kaysie Shebeneck got a kill, senior setter/defensive specialist Mariah Agre served an ace and Sawatzky and Sullivan teamed for a block to put A&M at match point, 24-15. Kimmy Gardiner registered her team-leading 12th kill for the Bulldogs, before Sullivan followed with her seventh kill of the match to close out the victory for the Aggies.
A&M outhit the Bulldogs, .291 to .148 for the match, leading in kills, 42-39. Agre finished with three aces to help the Aggies to a 6-1 advantage in aces, and Sullivan had a career-high seven blocks to pace the Aggies to an 11-3 lead in team blocks.
Agre tied Sawatzky for the team lead in digs with 12, and senior libero Kelsey Kinley pitched in 11 digs.
Mississippi State’s Roxanne McVey led all players with 18 digs.
A&M returns to the road next week, taking on Alabama on Friday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in Tuscaloosa and then facing Auburn Sunday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. in a match that will be televised by SportSouth.
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 Head Coach Laurie Corbelli Quotes:
(On needing to get a win)
“We needed to get back on the court and play against anybody. It was nice that it was a team that is very young. We were really well prepared for them. Given the fact that there are so many freshmen on their court right now, they don’t have a ton of options yet in terms of attack, and we could narrow in on a couple key things on them. I thought their team battled beautifully. Our stats were neck-and-neck for the first two sets. I was really impressed with their young group. We did need to get on the court, nevertheless, and play a consistent, focused match and I thought we did that.”
(On team’s serving performance)
“The team was really focused tonight. The demeanor was one of confidence in each other, mutual trust, and they wanted to go after it consistently. They know they can serve well. They know they are a great serving team when they all have the confidence and believe in each other. I think that’s all it was. They felt free and comfortable going as aggressively as possible. They didn’t worry about missing. That wasn’t part of their mentality today. That’s something we have to work toward: getting each other and ourselves ready to play free and play without restrictions.”
(On the importance of the win)
“I will celebrate all day tomorrow. Winning makes your life like roses when it is your business. Losing blackens your world for a while. You have so much on your mind and on your shoulders to come out of with a group, with a staff and with yourself. Not just one loss, but two or three in a row is rough. We have a really tough road trip coming up. We have a team in Alabama and a team in Auburn that would love to have a win over Texas A&M. They are incredibly physical. The parity is there. There’s no question. The match-up is a big deal, which team matches up better against what the opponent does. It’s going to be a really challenging road trip and we will be ready.”
Senior Setter Allie Sawatzky
(On her mindset during game)
“I knew that when the score is close -- and all the time -- I need to be more aggressive with my serving as well as with my hitting. That was my mentality tonight. I just needed to go out and be really aggressive.”
(On the win)
“We really learned how to stay relaxed throughout the whole game. Even when we were down in the second set, we were staying relaxed and that helped our game. We didn’t tense up and make unforced errors. We learned from our game on Wednesday.”