COLUMBIA, Mo. - Playing
its first-ever Southeastern Conference road match, Texas A&M posted a 3-1 victory
against a familiar opponent, defeating former Big 12 Conference foe
Missouri, 25-20, 23-25, 25-23, 25-17, tonight at Hearnes Center.
A&M, which gets its first win in Columbia since 2008,
improves to 11-2 overall and 3-1 in the SEC. Missouri drops to 11-4, 3-2.
A&M, the SEC leader in kills per set, used a balanced
attack as four players posted double-figure kills, led by senior opposite
Alisia Kastmo, who tied for match-high honors with 20. Senior outside hitter
Tori Mellinger had 17 kills, and senior middle blocker Stephanie Minnerly
pitched in a career-high 15 kills while hitting a personal best .700. Senior
middle Lindsey Miller finished with 11 as A&M posted 74 total kills to
Missouri's 47 and outhit the Tigers .294 to .221.
A&M also had a 69-55 lead in digs as senior libero Megan
Pendergast led A&M with 21. Junior setter Allie Sawatzky, who dished out a
season-high 54 assists, contributed 12 digs, and Mellinger and junior outside
hitter Heather Reynolds posted 11 digs apiece.
Lisa Henning was the only Missouri player to record
double-figure kills with 20. Missouri, the top blocking team in the league,
outblocked A&M 13-5 to 9.0, getting five blocks each from Henning and
A&M never trailed in
the opening set as Mellinger and Kastmo combined for three consecutive kills to
give the Aggies an early 5-2 lead. The Aggies, who outhit the Tigers, .317 to
.189 in the frame, later led 17-13 when a kill and a block by Miller put the
Aggies up 19-13. A Missouri attack error on the next play gave the Aggies their
largest lead at 20-13, but Missouri began chipping away at the margin, using a
5-1 run to get within 20-16. The Tigers stayed within four points at 23-19 before
Minnerly put down a kill using a slide attack to put A&M at set point.
Missouri setter Molly
Kreklow posted a kill following an errant A&M overpass to fight off one set
point before Aggie freshman Angela Lowak blasted a kill through the Tiger
block to close out the set.
A&M jumped out to a 4-1
lead in the second set, but Missouri later used a 3-0 run to retake the lead at
10-8. The Tigers, who outhit A&M, .406 to .220 in the set, went on to build
a three-point lead before A&M rallied and tied the score at 14-14 following
a Missouri ball handling error. A&M tied the score again at 15-all but was
unable to retake the lead as the Tigers scored three unanswered points to go up
18-15 and force an A&M timeout.
Kastmo ended the run with a tip
kill, and the Aggies would later get within 21-20 as Mellinger's off-speed shot
fell in for a kill. A&M hit wide on the ensuing play and then had
consecutive attacks blocked as Missouri took a 24-20 lead. A&M fought off
three set points to get within 24-23 before Henning ended the set with a kill.
A&M built a 12-7 lead in
the third set before Missouri went on a 6-1 run to get right back into the set.
The Tigers later used a 5-1 run to take their first lead of the stanza at 18-16.
They kept the lead at 19-17, but they were whistled for reaching over the net
and Sawatzky followed with a kill to knot the score at 19-19. Henning then got
a kill out of the back row, but Mellinger countered with back-to-back kills as
A&M retook the lead at 21-20. Sawatzky continued the scoring, swatting down
a ball that had caromed off her own block for a kill. With A&M leading
22-20, the teams traded points for the remainder of the set with Kastmo
clinching the set with her seventh kill of the frame, giving the Aggies a 2-1
lead in the match.
A&M appeared in control of
the fourth set, building 17-10 advantage. Missouri fought back, using a 4-0 run
to get within 17-14 before Mellinger posted a kill and Minnerly and Lowak
teamed for a block. Henning ended the run with a kill, but Kastmo answered with
a kill out of the middle and Lowak followed with her fourth kill of the match
to build a 21-15 lead.
A&M kept the lead at 22-17
when Miller and Lowak got a block to begin a match-ending three point run.
Sawatzky posted her seventh kill with a dump to put the Aggies at match point,
and Reynolds followed with an ace to clinch the victory.
A&M completes its first SEC road swing Sunday as the Aggies
take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. First serve is slated for 1:30
p.m. at Foster Auditorium. Live audio of the match will be available for free
on AggieAthletics.com, with Chelsea Reber calling the action.
Texas A&M Post-Match Quotes
Head Coach Laurie Corbelli
"It certainly was a total team effort. We went in with a
really good game plan. You can always have a good game plan and then it is just
a matter of execution, and I think the players just showed a lot of confidence
in execution tonight. Even when we made a couple of errors that we'd string
together, sometimes teams don't recover from that very well, and I thought that
is something we did exceptionally well tonight.
(On Sawatzky and the middles being effective)
They were really important. We have been working really hard
on that connection and what it takes to get the timing better. We still have a
lot of work to do, but I think it is improving and that was a really good stamp
of approval on what we have been working on; for them to know that the work
they've put in has really paid off in that regard.
(On having four players with double-figure kills despite Missouri's
Sawatzky did a great job of mixing up the offense, but we
stayed with our hot hitters. Luckily Mellinger and Kastmo were both really on
most of the night. And even when our passing was off, typically we've
struggled, but I thought even tonight when we had some passes that didn't allow
us to do what we typically like to do, we are finding a new way to become good when
being out of system, and that is really important."